Are you a small retailer looking to take your business to the next level? Entering awards is an often underestimated marketing strategy that is a fast track to recognition, success, and boosted team morale. 

Awards might seem like a daunting task to the uninitiated, but the benefits they bring to your business can far outweigh the effort required. In this article, we’ll dive into why your business should start entering awards and explore the various business benefits that come along with it.

Elevating your business’s profile

Let’s start with one of the most common reasons for entering awards: providing your small retail business with a platform to shine. Winning or even being nominated for an award can significantly elevate your retail brand’s profile. Customers are more likely to trust and engage with businesses that have received recognition, leading to increased sales and customer loyalty.

And if you win? Make sure your wins are obvious for all to see, however far into the future someone might be looking at it. Make them front and centre of your website, and ensure they’re added to your employees’ email signatures, too.

If you have multiple awards under your belt, try adding a block to the front page of your website with a list of all the awards you’ve won. If you have a regular e-newsletter, be sure to build your awards into the template so they’re visible every time you send an email. 

Boosting employee morale

Awards not only benefit your business externally but also internally. They serve as a source of pride and motivation for your employees, especially if they were involved in the work that formed part of your entry, or if they are personally entered into an award. 

Being part of an award-winning team can boost morale, increase job satisfaction, and create a positive work environment. When your employees are motivated and proud of their workplace, they are more likely to go the extra mile, resulting in improved productivity and customer service.

Attracting top talent

Talent attracts talent. When your business gains recognition through awards, it becomes a magnet for even more incredible people to join your team. Talented people are more likely to seek employment with companies that are industry leaders and have a reputation for excellence – which is exactly what awards can bring. This influx of talent can help your business innovate and grow, ultimately contributing to its success.

Enhancing customer trust

Trust is everything in retail, and customers are far more likely to trust businesses that have been recognised by credible awards, such as the SmartCompany’s Smart50. Winning an award serves as a third-party endorsement of your business’s quality and credibility. 

It gives potential customers confidence that they are making the right choice by choosing your products or services. In a competitive market, trust can be a game-changer that sets you apart from the competition.

A chance to reflect

Finally, remember that entering awards isn’t all about taking home the trophy. Entering awards often requires you to reflect on your business’s performance, strengths, and weaknesses. 

This self-assessment can be a valuable exercise, especially for small retailers who are so often working in their business, that they rarely have the time to step back and reflect on their business. Writing an award entry forces you to evaluate your operations, strategy, and goals.

Even if you don’t win, the process of answering detailed questions about your business can provide insights and ideas for improvement. It’s a chance to fine-tune your business strategy and discover new opportunities for growth. What could be more valuable than that?

Ben Ice is special features editor at SmartCompany and judge for the Smart50 Awards 2023.