Entering the Bexley Business Excellence Awards in association with Ocado will boost your business, raise your company profile and increase staff morale according to last year's winners.
Businesses have until March 17 to enter and the awards, organised by White Label Creative, and ensure they reap the benefits of the biggest event on the Bexley business calendar.
"The phone literally started ringing off the hook after I won the Best Young Entrepreneur Award," said Rebecca Cox, founder and owner of Maid on a Mission.
"In fact the whole experience has been amazing – the business has grown at an incredible rate and we've already exceeded targets for the year.
"Winning raised our profile, and made us much more confident when meeting clients – and clients feel more confident in us too. We will definitely will be entering again this year and I would 100% urge other businesses to enter too."
Many firms said winning was an acknowledgement of their hard work and the quality of their products and services. The awards also gave them a unique opportunity to self-assess how the business was doing.
Tony Adams, owner and founder of Hello Burger, saw almost instant results from winning the Awards for Best Business for Customer Service, Best Business for Marketing and Social Media and being Highly Commended in the Best Start-Up Business category.
"When we posted the results online we got an immediate interaction – likes, shares and engagements all went through the roof that week!" said Tony. "It was June, which in our business is a slow month. But in the week straight after the awards we were a whole lot busier than expected – it was really great!"
Tony, who is entering the Awards again this year, says entering in 2016 awards had two distinct benefits. He commented: "On one hand it's tremendous recognition for our hard work in trying to constantly improve our customer experience. But the entry process was also a really useful exercise for us.
"It helped to crystallise what we are doing as a business. And having to then try and explain at the interview stage, to someone who doesn't know us, what we are about was a really powerful learning tool for us. So there is merit for any business in doing the entry process - winning an award is just the icing on the cake."
Lorraine Stairs, chief executive officer of Best Charity and Social Enterprise Award winner Bexley Accessible Transport Scheme was equally encouraging.
She said: "I would tell any business to enter the awards. The day after we won the telephone didn't stop ringing – there was a real buzz in the office. I also think receiving the award meant people now see us as more of a trusted organisation because we have accomplished something."
Now in their fifth year, the Bexley Business Excellence Awards in association with Ocado have 13 categories for entry and firms can enter as many as they like.
After the judging and shortlisting process this spring, the winners will be announce at a glittering black-tie Gala Dinner at the Bexleyheath Marriott Hotel in June.
HOW TO ENTER:
There is a simple three stage process for entering:
1. Register – Register your business online at www.bexleyawards.co.uk, indicating which categories you wish to enter. You will be able to complete the questionnaires online and can enter more than one category. Businesses will need to answer six questions but do not need to provide evidence at this stage. The closing date for entries is Friday 17 March 2017.
2. Selection – Our panel of judges will select a shortlist for each category.
3. Judging – Shortlisted businesses will be invited to complete a more in-depth questionnaire. This includes four questions and requires supporting evidence. Businesses will also attend a judging day for a 30 minute face-to-face interview.
Entry is free. Detailed criteria for each category can be found on the website.
The awards, organised by White Label, are proudly supported by Bexley for Business, the London Borough of Bexley, the Bexley Skills Charter, Bexleyheath BID, Bexley Times, MiddletonMurray, the Bexleyheath Marriott Hotel, Your Move Petty Freeman, and Jennings and Barrett.
There are still many opportunities for businesses to sponsor the Awards, including the categories for the Gala Dinner. For further details please contact Vivien Newbould (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 0208 726 7968.