This week saw the launch of the 2016 Cardiff Business Awards to celebrate the capital city’s best businesses with the winners announced at a gala dinner in Cardiff City Hall in June.
As the chairman of the panel of judges for the awards, it was a real honour and pleasure to spend two days last summer listening to the shortlisted companies and their achievements. In fact, the Cardiff Business Awards is one of the few that I know of which does not rely only on paper entries written to choose the winning companies.
Given the face to face interaction, making a decision on the winners of each category, never mind the overall winner, was really challenging for the judges.
And whilst it was not surprising that the judges has some preconceived ideas prior to interviewing the firms from the initial application process, the majority of those minds were changed after being given an opportunity to listen directly to the founders of the shortlisted businesses.
The interviews also gave the sponsors the opportunity to see how they could interact with the finalists. Indeed, whilst many sponsors used awards as a way of raining their organisation’s profile in their sector, it also gives them the opportunity to identify potential companies they could work with in the future.
For example, I know that Cardiff Council has been very active since last year in ensuring that they work with the 2015 finalists to help them in any way they can.
But why should companies themselves enter awards and what benefits do they bring?
For many businesses, it is the first time that they get the acknowledgement and credibility they deserve for all the hard work they have put in to develop their firms. That recognition by others is an important step in highlighting the success of the company in a competitive marketplace and differentiating yourselves from your rivals.
More importantly, entering an award, especially for smaller firms, can help to motivate employees by enabling them to acknowledge their own efforts in developing the business over a period of time. In fact, for many owner-managers who rarely pause for breath as they are growing their companies, entering an award actually makes them have to sit back and consider what has made their business successful and how they got where they are today.
So if you put your entry together for, say, the Cardiff Business Awards, and are successful in getting shortlisted, what is the next step?
Well apart from ensuring that you get a table at the awards ceremony and inviting your staff and key clients along for a great evening out, being shortlisted gives you the opportunity to tell everyone that you are up for an award but, more importantly, to thank your employees, customers and other key stakeholders for their support in getting to this stage.
And what happens if you win?
The most important thing is to make sure everyone knows about it as soon as possible. Not only can winning an award be an invaluable way in raising your general profile in the media, it can also be used as a marketing tool in getting more business from existing customers, attracting new clients, and raising finance from potential investors.
As someone who has managed the Wales Fast Growth 50 for the last seventeen years, my proudest result of the awards comes from having conversations with many of owners of the companies featured who have said what a significant difference being on the list has made to their firm.
Not only does being recogniSed as one of the fastest growing firms in Wales or one of the best businesses in Cardiff open doors to new opportunities, but it is a validation that you are doing better than your competition and you are amongst the best in your industry. That, more than anything else, can be a real morale booster for the business, its owner and its employees. For those who attended last year’s awards, you only had to see the raw emotion from the winners to see how much it really meant to them to be crowned the best in their category.
Therefore, if you have the opportunity to enter an award either within your local area or within your specific industry, then don’t hesitate to do so. Whether it is Cardiff, Caerphilly or Carmarthen, get those entries into an award competition and test your company’s progress and achievement against other firms.
You won’t regret it and, more importantly, you could win!
Dyfeisiwyd rhaglen ‘ION Leadership’ i ddatblygu a gwella sgiliau arweinyddiaeth perchnogion, rheolwyr, arweinwyr a’r bobl sy’n gwneud y prif benderfyniadau mewn busnesau ar draws ardal cydgyfeirio gorllewin Cymru a’r Cymoedd.
Mae rhaglen ‘ION Leadership’ yn darparu hyfforddiant arweinyddiaeth sy’n gallu newid bywydau perchnogion busnes ac arweinwyr uchelgeisiol sydd am fynd yn bellach drwy ddod yn arweinwyr arbennig, datblygu busnesau cynaliadwy a chyfoethogi bywydau eu gweithwyr.
Gallwch ymuno ag un o’r rhag-ddigwyddiadau canlynol i ddarganfod drosoch eich hun sut y gallwch wneud gwahaniaeth i’ch busnes:
- Dydd Iau, 4 Chwefror, Gwesty'r Heronston, Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr
- Dydd Iau, 11 Chwefror - Gwesty Parc y Strade, Llanelli
- Dydd Mawrth, 23 Chwefror - Gwesty'r Village, Abertawe
- Dydd Mawrth, 1 Mawrth - Gwesty'r Heronston, Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr
Am ragor o wybodaeth ewch i wefan ION Leadership.
The ION leadership programme is designed to develop and enhance the leadership skills of owners, managers, leaders and key decision-makers of businesses located across the convergence region of west Wales and the Valleys
ION leadership programme delivers life changing leadership training for business owners and aspiring leaders who want to raise their game, become extraordinary leaders, grow sustainable businesses and enrich the lives of their employees.
You can join one of the following preview dates to discover for yourself how you can make a difference to your business:
- Thursday, 4 February - Heronston Hotel, Bridgend
- Thursday, 11 February - Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli
- Tuesday, 23 February - Village Hotel, Swansea
- Tuesday, 1 March – Heronston Hotel, Bridgend
For more information visit the ION Leadership website.