Picture: Catherine Blackford with mi-fi Partners, Kynan West and Campbell King at the 2015 Victorian Telstra Business Awards Gala

Last Tuesday, 14 July 2015, we were thrilled to attend the Telstra Business Awards as guest of our client, friend and occasional blog contributor, Catherine Blackford. Catherine was a finalist in the Micro Business Category for her business Bindle. The Telstra Business Awards are Australia’s pre-eminent awards showcasing the best of Australian small business and is known for it’s rigorous assessment process.

Although Catherine didn’t ‘take home the trophy’ on the night, to be recognised as one of five Victorian finalists from hundreds of applications is a huge honour. We have enjoyed watching Bindle grow from humble beginnings into a thriving small business which is testament to Catherine’s hard work and provides a model of success for others to follow. ‘One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is having the confidence to grow my own business’ Catherine says. ‘The award has made me realise that I am capable of growing a successful business.’

In addition to the new found confidence, Bindle is now enjoying an increase in business from the publicity her recognition has provided and is a great example of how other small businesses can use awards to promote their business. Notwithstanding the hard work that Catherine has put into her business, entering a business awards program is a great way a small business can leverage the publicity might of a larger organisation. Other businesses want to associate themselves with success and this is no doubt a pillar of Telstra’s strategy in running their own awards program. In addition to the publicity, Catherine enjoyed media training and other benefits that will no doubt assist her in growing her business.

As a past small business operator, I can attest to the benefits that well-run awards programs can provide. Some of our largest clients came from our involvement in various awards and the publicity these generated (as well as involving some great celebrations!)

What awards programs are out there?

There are many different programs out there. All have different niches, from local to national, and others specific to industries. Some good places to find out more include:

How do I get the most out of business awards

All awards and application processes are different. However, if you keep the following in mind it will ensure you will be in the mix for an award and get the most out of the process.

  1. Tell your story! – People (including the judges of awards) love a story that resonates with them. An awards program is about celebrating a story, and you should harness this by making it easy for people to get behind your story. In larger awards programs you may be competing against hundreds of other applicants. Those reviewing your application will need to see something that sets you apart from the crowd.
  2. Don’t forget the organiser – Think about who is organising and promoting the event. In the case of Telstra, their services touch nearly every business in Australia, but a common theme of the awards night were businesses, that had leveraged technology to grow. Telstra want to celebrate these businesses as a way of promoting their own services.
  3. Involve your team – It could be said Bindle is a team of one but it isn’t. Catherine has a fantastic support network of clients, family and of course her accountants who have supported her and her business. These were the people who nominated her, attended the awards night and sent messages of support all over social media. The awards were a great way of recognising their help as well as perpetuating the story of success. That in turn results in more business for Bindle.
  4. Be selective – There are many different programs out there but don’t race out and enter them all. One quality application in a reputable awards program that has clear benefits for your business will be far greater than 10 half hearted attempts at different programs. Don’t underestimate the time the application will take.

How we can help

We thrive on helping businesses like Bindle grow. We understand that sometimes running a business can be challenging and we pride ourselves on making the complex clear so you can use your passion to focus on your clients and customers.

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