We are four weeks on from the brilliant evening that was the Kent Women in Business Awards 2018 which is now in it’s 6th year. It is an evening that truly celebrates the achievements of business women across the whole of Kent.
There were 17 categories covering everything from start-ups to women who have been in business for many years.
The judges were a very impressive line-up of women, the evening was organised by Hilary and Sue Steel and hosted by Hilary Steel who was officially ‘out out’.
I was very honoured to be a finalist in two categories this year – the Service Excellence Award and Business Woman of the Year (over 5 years) and delighted to win the business woman of the year award.
I was pleased to have a table of supporters with me which included Natasha Sullivan who works with me at Carlean Lettings, Julie Ward of The Tax Hut who is my accountant, Nicola Powell a friend and host of the Chislehurst and Westerham branches of The Athena Network, some of my landlords and one of my beautiful daughters – we certainly celebrated when my name was announced, it was a lovely moment.
The following days were a bit of a haze, I felt very emotional and very pleased with myself. I received so many lovely messages mostly from people I know but some from people I didn’t who made contact just to say ‘well done’ a real example of women supporting women.
I think that when you have been nominated for an award and have decided you want to enter if you want to do yourself justice you should really take your time completing the entry form, look at the categories you have been nominated for and think about how you can best portray yourself and your business. The judges may not know you and even if they do they will be judging you on your entry form not on what they know of you, they may look at your website, but it is your entry form that is your passport to success. So, don’t rush it, don’t leave it until the last minute and don’t sell yourself short.
It’s often uncomfortable to ‘big’ ourselves up it’s not the British way but running your own business is hard work and as I said on the evening many of us work alone, I did for 10 years. There is no one there to give you a pat on the back or say well done, we don’t have annual reviews with our bosses and sometimes our friends and family are not quite sure what we are doing. So big ourselves up we must. On your entry form explain what you do, how you do it and why you do it, tell them about your plans for yourself and your business and tell them why you love your business.
Go along to the awards, get dressed up and spend an evening surrounded by other women who are just as passionate about their business as you are about yours.
If you are lucky enough to be a runner up or a winner then celebrate you deserve it and then when you get back to work, have a think about how you can make the most of your success – use the logos that KWIBA send you, send newsletters out to your clients, if possible put your certificate on display where your clients can see it, contact local press yourself or employ the services of a PR company – make your success work for you.
Personally, I have had a big increase in traffic to my Facebook business page and my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. I have started to connect with people that I met on the evening or who have contacted me since the awards – I had contacted Islay O’Hara to handle PR for me prior to the awards and will be working with her for the foreseeable future. My winner and finalist logos are on my email signature and my website, my certificates will go up on the wall in my office or possibly in the lobby of the apartment block I own. I have connected with other winners via the KWIBA Facebook group and will spend the rest of this year ensuring that the success that I achieved at the awards benefits my business throughout 2018.
So, my advice to anyone considering entering just go for it you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain – good luck see you in 2019.