Any small business can hang a framed, cheaply printed certificate from Kinko’s on their wall, proclaiming themselves “Best [whatever] in [wherever].” Fake small business awards might fool some of your customers, but even if no one ever comes asking questions, at heart, you’llknow you’re a fraud. And if someone does ask questions …
It’s true that there aren’t a ton of small business awards out there for the taking, but they are out there. And they can help demonstrate to potential customers that your company stands head and shoulders above the rest.
If you’re ready to become an award-winning small business (for real), Mischa Communications has a few ideas to get you started.
Check Out the Local Chamber of Commerce
Your local chamber of commerce is a wealth of information for all things small business- and community-oriented. Want to be the grand marshal in the hometown parade? Call them. Looking to find community events? Reach out. And if you’re attempting to find something — anything — you can get an award for, they’re one of your best sources.
The chamber of commerce will most likely have information on any community contests your city runs or sponsors. There’s a good chance they’ll even sponsor one or more themselves. Whether the prizes are blue ribbons, certificates or (dare we say it!) cold, hard cash, it’s the recognition that counts!
Hit Up Your Local Newspaper
Many newspapers run annual or semi-annual “Best Of” competitions, where their readers vote on their favorite local businesses. Sometimes the readers nominate these businesses themselves, but other times, you can submit your own name to the list.
The categories differ from paper to paper, but there’s generally something for everyone. And even if your award says “Most Eco-Friendly” or “Cleanest Windows on Main Street” — hey, it’s still something!
Pro tip: If the competition is open for voting, be sure to share it with your fans and followers on social media. They’ll love the opportunity to help you win!
Volunteer organizations are always handing out awards to various businesses and individuals — and often the only thing you need to do to get one of those prestigious prizes is show up and get your hands dirty for a few afternoons.
Sure, it may seem a bit self-serving, but if you truly believe in the cause and put in the elbow grease, there’s zero reason you shouldn’t be recognized for your efforts!
Do a Quick Google Search
Once you’ve exhausted your local options, it’s time to take your small business worldwide — to the world wide web, that is.
Simply Googling “awards for [your product or service]” will turn up dozens if not hundreds of results (we’ve tried!), and often all you need to do to be in contention is apply! Make sure your pitch is on point and that you can back up your claims if requested.
But never payfor an award. Google searches will bring up scores of these “opportunities,” too, but these awards are at best disingenuous and at worst outright scams.
You Won! Now What?
Congratulations! You have a couple of small business awards. But you need to do more than just framing your certificate and hanging it up on the wall where it will gather dust and never see the light of day.
Toot your own horn a bit. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your successes, and even a small award is a pretty big deal. Let your patrons know about the award. Host a celebration, either in your brick and mortar location or online. If the honor was particularly prestigious, consider issuing a press release. Certainly make mention of it somewhere on your website.
Whatever you do, make sure your customers (and future customers) know that you are officially an award-winning small business!
Mischa Communications doesn’t have a stockpile of ready-to-print certificates in the back room, but we do have the knowledge and experience you need to take your small business from commonplace to first place! Give us a call and let’s discuss a competition-level strategy!