There's value in being a nominee. You benefit even if you don't win.
We’ll explore reasons to accept a nomination in one of the 10 categories ranging from Startup to Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Be ProactiveWho knows your business better than you do? You can be proactive and nominate yourself. After I got nominated, I also self-nominated to ensure that I told my story as well as I could.
Beyond BordersBusiness extends beyond city borders. That’s why nominees can come from the Greater Toronto Region. The area seems to extend east to Oakville, west to Pickering and north to Stouffville. This large zone increases the competition and the recognition from participating.
There’s no requirement for nominators or nominees to belong the Toronto Board of Trade.
Other hurdles can get in the way. As a nominee, you need to believe your business is worthy of winning. If you think public recognition does not matter, maybe the #2 basic fear that Napoleon Hill identified is the reason.
FeedbackNominees get valuable free attention. Your nomination gets reviewed carefully and you have the opportunity to clarify in a phone interview. The process is geared to helping you position yourself well.
If you get interviewed in person, you get the list of questions in advance. That gives you time to prepare. Explaining what you do is a valuable experience since your clients may have the similar questions. If you feel uncomfortable expressing yourself, maybe now’s the time to join Toastmasters to improve your skills.
ObjectivityThe interviewers are not the judges. They collect information for the judging.
MarketingFilms tout their Academy Award nominations. Once you're informed that you’re an official nominee, you can start your marketing.
You needn't buy ads. You can say you're nominated on your website, in your email signature, on your LinkedIn profile, via Twitter, in your infomercials, etc. That's all free.
Consolation PrizesEven if you lose, you win. You've changed the perceptions in the marketplace, among your competitors and among your staff. You've also changed perceptions in your own head.
You'll be remembered by your interviewers if you stay in touch. Thank them. Offer to connect on LinkedIn after the awards ceremony.
You may find that other nominees in your category have very different businesses. That means they aren't really competitors. You can also connect to nominees in different categories. You can’t lose by getting to know fellow award-worthy people.
There are two other ways to meet the noteworthy: register for the SMB Exchange (blog post) and the Business Excellence Awards dinner.