Last week at the launch of the 2018 Telstra Business Awards, past winners shared their stories about the positive impact the recognition had for their businesses – and innovative use of technology was a recurring theme.

In the 26-year history of the Telstra Business Awards, we have uncovered some incredible success stories. We’ve recognised hundreds of businesses across diverse categories for their courage, grit and determination, and given them a platform to propel themselves to even greater heights.

Once again, we’re encouraging small and medium businesses to enter the Telstra Business Awards in 2018 to receive the recognition they deserve – and to make this year ‘that’ year they hit it big.

“A big tick of approval”

A recurring theme from the panellists was the credibility the Awards have brought to their businesses. Co-founder of 2017 Australian Business of the Year GenWise Health, Dr Sebastian Rees, said the program provided an opportunity to share the GenWise mission with many more people, gaining invaluable exposure within the healthcare industry, and allowing them to grow as a business.

Alecia Hancock, of Hancock Creative, said the Awards were a big tick of approval that has opened doors.

Similarly, Jen Geale of Mountain Bikes Direct said “this has had a huge impact for us in terms of trust and credibility for new customers.”

Critical factors of business success

To coincide with the launch, we also released the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report. The report examines the discrepancies between small businesses and consumer expectations.

The report revealed that businesses underestimate the importance of being online and struggle to provide the e-commerce experience most customers expect. For example, only 50 per cent of small businesses have a website, but 62 per cent of consumers won’t consider a business if they can’t find it online. In addition, only 57 per cent of small business e-commerce websites are mobile-friendly, while 48 per cent of customers shop at least once a week on a mobile device.

Ms Geale offered some helpful advice to businesses who want to meet the technological needs of their customers.

“Don’t feel like you have to do it all but stay open to new opportunities that crop up,” she said.

The message is clear for Australia’s small businesses: to remain relevant, you must ensure your adoption of technology reflects the wants and needs of your customers.

If you feel your business is performing and responding well to customer’s expectations, you should nominate yourself for a Telstra Business Award.

A refreshed program

At the event, we announced some changes to the Awards program, to provide even more value to the business community and ensure the program remains a prestigious sign of business excellence:

  1. Entry form – A streamlined entry form makes the process simpler, with the first phase taking only around 90 minutes to complete.
  2. Business Benchmark Report – Each entrant receives a comprehensive report, including an in-depth review of their business with insights and guidance.
  3. Judging criteria – Our judging criteria has been updated, with innovation and technology remaining a key consideration. The six judging criteria are: strategy and vision, customers and marketing, operations, people and culture, social responsibility and financial acumen.
  4. Award categories – There are six refreshed categories to recognise Australia’s most innovative and entrepreneurial businesses:
    • Emerging and Energised
    • Small and Succeeding
    • Medium and Making Waves
    • Social Change Maker
    • Alumni Achievement
    • People’s Choice Award

Make this year ‘that year’ for your business – nominate before the 28th of March. Anyone can nominate, so if you know a business that deserves recognition, nominate them today.

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