Are you ready for the Telstra Business Awards?
It can be a difficult thing to know when your business is at ‘that’ point. That tipping point where you’ve got a great concept/business model, you’re working hard and you’re making a profit.
But how are you truly doing? How do you benchmark against industry standards and other companies?
When a business partner nominated our company Safetech for the 2006 Telstra Business Awards, we didn’t know if we had what it takes. We entered anyway to honour the nomination.
It was the right move. We were travelling well financially and had developed a family of world-class products, becoming Australia’s number one choice for safety and productivity.
We went all the way to winning the national title that year.
It’s easy to underestimate your progress and success when you’re so close to the operations, but the Awards process helped us understand that we benchmarked very well against other successful businesses. Much better than we thought.
The next year I became a Telstra Business Awards Judge and have since been evaluating other people’s businesses and deciding with my peers who the national winners are.
Below are three questions you might have if you’re wondering whether you’re ready to enter the Telstra Business Awards.
How do I know if my business has what it takes?
The financial aspect is extremely important; you must be travelling well financially. If you’re unsure, speak with your accounting firm to get their opinion on how you’re performing.
Beyond the financial aspect, you should be able to prove that your business model is working and sustainable in the long run. Judges will be looking at whether you have a great concept and how you are bringing it to the market.
Creativity and innovation are key to building a strong business concept. However it takes organisation and discipline to get your company off the ground and to develop it into a successful company.
We’ve seen some great ideas from past finalists, but it takes real business acumen to be a winner. We’re increasingly seeing more technology-based concepts that are finding innovative ways to push boundaries. Tow.com.au which won the 2016 Telstra Australian New Business Award is a great example of this. They’re leveraging technology in clever ways to re-invent a traditional business such as towing.
What will entering and winning mean for my business?
Entering in itself is a worthwhile exercise. It will enable you to stop and take stock of your achievements.
At Safetech, we were able to see how far we had come.
Winning meant that we added credibility to our image and increased brand recognition. It was a validation of how solid our business was and still is. Ten years on, we continue to use the win on all our marketing materials.
It also had a big impact on the team, they all felt very proud to be working for a Telstra Award-winning company.
Immediately after the win, I was asked to speak at many small and medium business events, which increased my profile, but also that of Safetech.
How should I go about entering?
Each entry starts with a nomination. You can nominate your own, or other businesses, here: telstrabusinessawards.com/nominate
The entry form is a lengthy document which can take you up to 30 hours to fill. Make sure to plan ahead to give yourself enough time to gather all the details and fill out the form before the deadline (16th March 2017).
My advice would also be to keep it short. As tempting it would be to include lots and lots of details or extra information, keep in mind that judges have hundreds of entries to review.
Even if you don’t win, the process of entering in itself is worthwhile, as you take a good hard look at your business. In addition, each business that enters the awards also gets a Business Health Check report, which provides important feedback on your operations. It’s an invaluable document that may help you work on further developing and improving your business.
Throughout the program, you will get professional development benefits including judge feedback, access to an alumni network, and connecting with other businesses in new ways.
On top of the recognition that the awards will bring to your business, it’s a great way to feel good about how much you have achieved, even if you don’t get to win.
If you would like more advice on how to craft a winning entry, please find a link below to a virtual event that was held recently that gives tips to assist with the entry process.
Entries are open until midnight on Thursday 16 March.
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