Skip to main content
Business Support

Awards – Love them or loathe them?

By 30 January 2024No Comments

Last week while embarking on the latest round of sorting packing boxes, 12 months after we moved house, I came across a framed photograph and press release from 1999. It related to a national award that the business I owned then came runner up in. I also discovered the plate we received that my Dad has now returned to its former glory so I can put it in my memory box. 

Coincidently, in that same week, I had had a conversation with a client about award entries and my husband had attended an industry awards dinner in London for the sector he works in. Neither that conversation or experience reflected particularly positively on many of the current day awards processes. 

How things worked in the 20th Century 

Back in 1999, the year after having my second child and buying my Mum out of the business, I decided to enter Rent Accom Agency in the National Association of Estate Agents Office of the Year Award, Property Letting and Management Section. A group of chauvinistic men who ran a couple of estate agencies on the Yorkshire Coast were the reason I decided to enter. Today they would be high on the list of Tossers I never want to work with. Scarborough is a small town, the agency I ran did not deal with sales, only lettings and management, and since buying my Mum out of the business there were a handful of ageing chaps who thought, at 31, I was too young to know what I was doing – big, huge mistake! 

There was no sending out a SurveyMonkey link then. No, in 1999 you had to post a form for people to fill in and return to the organisers of the Awards. I seem to remember enclosing a stamped addressed envelope to encourage people to send the form back to the NAEA. Imagine the cost of that now! 

At the awards lunch, that I did not have to buy a ticket for, I found myself sat next to a rather portly gentleman who ran an Estate Agency in West Sussex. He couldn’t understand how an all women run property letting and management agency from Scarborough had been shortlisted. ‘Aren’t you surrounded by sea and sheep?’ was the comment he made that I still remember. However, the Property Editor from the Sunday Express at the time, who sat at the other side of me, was very complimentary both about Rent Accom’s achievements and the Yorkshire Coast. I was tempted to give the Sussex based gent a victory sign when we were announced as runners up but I resisted. 

That feeling of pride 

It still makes me proud now that our small team of five ladies running a property letting and management agency, managing nearly 350 properties, achieved this national recognition for outstanding customer service. We celebrated together as a team back in Scarborough because the downside of not being able to buy a ticket meant there was only me able to go. 

How rewarding are awards ? 

My social media feed at the moment seems to be awash with award shortlistings and the opportunity to buy tickets for a variety of award ceremonies. The cost of entering awards can be high, the question is – are there now too many awards for people to know which one is best to enter?  

Receiving an award as recognition and appreciation for the work you do is certainly a great thing for business owners and their teams. In my opinion though, there comes a point where you have to question whether the return on your award entry investment is worth it or whether you could spend your hard-earned income in other ways to promote the work you do. 

It can often be de-moralising attending these events year on year only to find you leave empty handed time and again. Sometimes it is best to step away from the annual awards circuit and reflect on the work you have done. Spending time talking to customers instead and understanding what they think about the product you sell or the services you offer can be far more beneficial to your business and personally rewarding. 

Leave a Reply