Nothing does a successful business justice like the recognition, publicity, and exposure of a high-profile award win. But there are hundreds of awards out there, and you can’t enter them all – so which do you choose?
If you’re a Bedfordshire business, the SME Bedfordshire Business Awards are surely a clear contender, but perhaps for more reasons now than you were previously aware of. Because this respected event, in its seventh year, is now completely organised and run by us at the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce directly.
This creates powerful engagement, as we represent over 700 businesses in the county, with around 50,000 employees, and we now have total control over promoting the Awards, and publicising the entrants and winners – a natural synergy.
But if you want to shine in these new and strengthened Awards, one thing hasn’t changed: you’ve still got to be in it to win it - and there’s a deadline looming.
So, what do you need to do next, and by when?
Find suitable entry categories (there are over 20!)
Firstly, you need to understand the sheer breadth of the entry categories, because with over 20 on offer, it’s very likely indeed there’ll be one or more that are relevant to you and your business.
From geographic entries (Business of the Year for Bedford, Luton, and Central Bedfordshire), to categories of age and size, to more specific awards (growth, innovation, sustainability, individuals, apprenticeships, not-for-profit, and many more), the emphasis is on enabling your business and its people to tell a knockout story to the world, whatever the nature of your achievements.
To see all the categories available, you can visit the event website here.
Create an account and make a start
To enter the Awards, you’ll need to create an account, which you can do quickly and easily on the same page mentioned above.
Once you’ve created the account, you can log in to it to submit your award entries online – and there’s no need to submit an entry at one sitting, either. Using your login, you can save and update draft entries an unlimited number of times, enabling you to submit them only as and when you consider them complete, and giving you time in between to track down supporting information if you need it.
Don’t miss the deadline!
All entries must be submitted by 3pm on Friday 8th March, and although that may seem like a while away, bear in mind that if you do need to support your entry with supplementary information, you need to factor in the additional time required to locate it.
Getting started on this earlier, rather than later, is prudent.
What will you get out of the Awards?
Having more control over the Awards this year means that we at the Chamber are able to maximise the benefits associated with participating in them as both entrants and winners.
- Exceptional PR and marketing
Naturally, the Awards (and their winners) generate a hefty amount of local press coverage, which ultimately widens the audience your business can reach.
But we’ll also be working to ensure both pre- and post-event publicity is maximised through our own marketing channels. This will include social posts, website content, email campaigns, editorial in local business publications. and features in the Focus magazine that all our members receive.
- Publicity on a national scale
The benefits don’t stop at the county boundary, however! The Awards are part of a national range of events, and if you’re a winner in certain categories, you’ll automatically make it through to the SME National Business Awards Final, where you’ll be in the company of some of the best businesses in the UK.
What do you get if you do win?
Of course, alongside the publicity and exposure you’ll enjoy as a winner, as a guest you’ll also be able to book your place at the official Awards Night on Thursday 4th July at The Bedford Corn Exchange. A lavish affair featuring a drinks reception, three-course dinner, entertainment, and the Awards presentations and celebrations themselves.
Opportunities to increase your profile at the event also include advertising in the souvenir programme, and personalised gifts for all guests, so there’s no shortage of added value waiting in the wings.
So, what are you waiting for? Submit your entry now. For more information on the Awards, just call our friendly team on 01582 522448.