Ed’s Note

Awarding the best

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Is there really any mileage in entering business awards? A very dear friend recently called and wanted to know from me “off the record”, as the editor of BBQ magazine and the custodian of the BBQ brand (as she put it), whether I thought there was any value in entering business awards. Her boss is insisting that their company start participating in awards events, but she’s not sure if it would not just be a waste of time and money.

Yes, it’s quite a big topic in industry these days – the issue of participating in business awards events. Like with everything in life – it depends on how you look at it – and what you want to effectuate from entering business awards. We work in competitive environments and we all want our companies (and ourselves) to be the best at what we do.

Creating and executing a strategy to achieve that is the easy part. The hard part is getting recognition for the achievement – and the biggest way to be recognised is to win awards. So how can there not be huge value in entering and winning business awards–in South Africa in particular at this present time?

It is not just a celebration of the achievements and dedication of our business leaders, as most awards also give recognition to the transformation of our young democracy. In general, the benefits for nominees, especially the winners, are enormous. Winning a prestigious award such as the Motlekar BBQ Awards, designed to promote sustainable black business in South Africa, will help raise your company profile among current clients and it will give your business the edge to attract new ones. In the current economic climate people want to know that when they spend money, they’re hiring the best companies – and winning awards proclaims to the world that you are the best.

However, there is no value in chasing awards for the sake of it and you still need to have a good product and deliver excellent service, as the award will remain merely a tool to help generate hype and publicity – and ultimately sales opportunities.

But besides for the media exposure and attention, which will open many doors for the winners, I have seen over the years – on my own teams and as a host to a number of awards events – how winning awards have boosted staff morale. Being acknowledged by industry, employees value their contribution to your business success. And happy employees are far more productive, which in turn directly affects your bottom line.

Unfortunately, in answering my friend’s question (for the record), there is a ‘but’. Because yes, looking at how awards events are popping up all over the country like mushrooms, it could well be a waste of time if the event is not substantial or credible and does not have a high enough profile. Winning an award will only lend legitimacy and prestige to your business, if you are selective about which awards you associate your company with. Especially if it’s a less well-know event, my advice is to do your research well. Unless the awards are recognised or endorsed within the industry, and the judging panel does not consist of respected and credible professionals in the industry, participating might just be a waste of time, money and resources.

To all the nominees and finalists for the annual Motlekar 2014 BBQ Awards – you’ve come to the right place. The fact that you were nominated has put you and your business in the shop window – and that speaks for itself. I wish you all good luck as we start counting the days to the 13th BBQ Awards ceremony.

Lindsay King

BBQ EDITOR (lindsay.king@capemedia.co.za)

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