Bizwize Award Winners

What Our Best Business Award Taught Us

by Jasmine Ruscoe. How we did it, what we learnt, and why we think you should give awards season a red hot go (even if you’re not sure you’ll win). Photo of WBA Awards Winners [above] from Jacek Bak Photography.

Last year, Bizwize was honoured to receive the 2017 award for Best Business (Over 5 & Under 15 Employees) from the Wanneroo Business Association. The presentation evening was a great night out, and we were proud to share the stage with so many other fantastic local businesses. Today, we would like to share how we did it – and hopefully, how you can do it too.

Of course, the most important thing for any business is that you are delivering goods and services of which you can be proud, and are hopefully growing in the process, but when it comes to award applications another important thing is writing it down. This may seem easy, but our application process made us realise that it is harder than you might expect to express all that you know and love about your business and its employees, let alone to do so in a way that suits the given eligibility criteria and comes across in a highly persuasive manner. It is important not to simply state facts about your business, but rather to explain why said facts make your business outstanding. What do you love about your business? What does your business do that others do not? Why do you believe that your business deserves this award? With questions like these, facts do not necessarily speak for themselves, but don’t be put off by the showmanship required. Think of your award application like a job application for your business: your CV may list your key skills and experiences, but it’s your cover letter and interview that really give you an opportunity to shine above and beyond the pack.

Of course this is not to say that your performance being outstanding in and of itself is not important. In fact, Bizwize found our internal plans and performance indicators – and our success in meeting them – to be highly valuable in making our application, as they enabled us to make confident and accurate statements regarding our past, present, and predicted future performance. Above all we found three types of documents most helpful in this regard – and not just at awards time, but all year round.

Bizwize’s most valuable strategic documents include:

  1. Business Goals – Both values based (eg “deliver fantastic service”) and numerical (eg. “keep costs below 40% sales”) goals help focus your business and its priorities. By assessing your performance against these goals using indicators such as sales rates, customer responses, and billable hours, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of your business, and where it is at relative to where you want it. It can take time to generate goals that are both challenging and realistic, but the direction they provide is invaluable. Setting goals also enables you to reward yourself and your staff when they are met, which boosts morale, motivation, and dedication to the business in the longer-term.
  2. Financials – Being a bookkeeping company ourselves it would be especially remiss if we did not mention the value of comprehensive, up to date financial records for any business. Having a clear idea of factors such as debts, profits and losses, sales, clients, and seasonal changes affecting your business will help you plan and operate more smoothly. Financials also show if your business is growing, and how fast, which can inform you as to whether changes to stock, staff etc. may be needed in future. Thus, financials can make your business more stable and resilient, as well as representing key economic measures of success.
  3. Growth Strategies – Have you thought about the future of your business? Not everyone seeks to expand beyond a certain point, but everyone should have thought about what that point might be and how to get there. Having growth strategies will ensure that your business grows alongside your own capacity and in line with your values, with new markets, hires etc mapped out to at least some degree. Thinking strategically about the future of your business also demonstrates a proactive nature and long-term commitment, which is inviting to investors and award committees alike.

Winning this award has given us here at Bizwize a great sense of achievement and pride, but even without winning, the process itself is also valuable. Award nights and nominations get your name out there and encourage positive socialisation, which whether you win or not, can provide a great marketing boost. The application itself also encourages reflection on your business’s successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, and plans for the future. That’s why we at Bizwize recommend applying for awards such as these and hope that sharing our experience helps you go forward with more confidence and success in the coming year.

Good luck – and remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it!