Anne Timpany, Director at On Tap Plumbers, explains why entering awards can be a tremendous boost to your business, and how you can get the most out of the process.

Small business owners are stretched to capacity, so they disregard the thought of putting themselves up for an award because it’s time consuming. Many are not good at blowing their own trumpet and take the view that it’s all just a waste of time because they assume they’re not going to win.

Often, plumbing company owners get caught up working in the business rather than on the business. You don’t get around to marketing because you’ve got an emergency call out or a customer’s boiler has just broken down and you need to prioritise. 

However, it’s always better to have a competitive advantage so, if you feel you stand out from the rest, you want to get recognised for your hard work, and you want to grow your business, then entering a business award can help you achieve your goals.

I took the plunge and entered On Tap Plumbers in the FSB Hertfordshire Business Awards in 2013. We had been trading for three years and our business was successful, we had unique propositions, our customers were very satisfied, and we had big plans for the future. 

We won the award for Best New Business and we came runner-up for Best Business in St Albans. Later that year we won the Best New Business award for East of England Champions. Since 2013, we have been a finalist, runner-up, and winner of eight different local and national awards. So, what advantages do you get from entering awards? 

  • Customers are more inclined to buy from an award-winning business 
  • Awards build consumer trust. The general public have a mistrust of tradespeople, which isn’t helped by the media. By winning an award, you’re not just any plumber anymore, you’re an award-winning exemplary plumbing company recognised by a reputable judging panel and organisation
  • Awards give you a multitude of PR opportunities. By being a finalist, you are automatically part of a campaign that puts your company in the spotlight
  • A number of different organisations, including the media, will promote your business for free. For weeks and months, your business will generate publicity across local and national media and social media, which will drive people to your business for years
  • The entry process will make you evaluate your business from a different perspective. To win an award you need to stand out. It’s an opportunity to tell the world about how you invest in apprenticeships, use technology to run your business, are aligned with a charitable organisation, or just provide great customer service that is different from your competitors
  • Awards are an excellent opportunity to network with other successful business owners and open up new opportunities with leaders in the industry
  • Winning, being shortlisted, or a being a finalist gives you third-party endorsement. This will increase your credibility and open up more doors with customers, suppliers, and potential investors
  • Being a company that has won an award will enable you to recruit the top talent 
  • Staff motivation and morale is hugely increased when their efforts as part of the company have led to winning an award. 

If you are interested in entering an award, start by identifying the best award for your business. Ask yourself if you’re looking for industry recognition or new customers.

There are awards run by associations such as your local chamber of commerce, publishers, and manufacturers. 

If it’s customers you’re after, I would advise starting with a local rather than a national award, as there is a better chance of being visible to your target market. 

The actual process of completing the application can be daunting. I appointed marketing and PR experts to complete my applications as I didn’t have the time to commit and they had a lot of knowledge and experience to present my business in the best light. Although it can be more expensive, it certainly gives you a better chance of winning.

Whether it’s being nominated for the shortlisted, making it as a runner-up, or going home with the gong, there’s nothing quite like the buzz of an awards ceremony.

Winning awards are more than a shiny trophy. They’re a recognition of ability, a boost to credibility, and increase in visibility. Awards are a benchmark of success and a hallmark of excellence.

Give yourself an advantage over your competitors and put yourself out there. You never know, you might win.