We’ve been talking about very early-days, startup-py topics, but there’s a lot more ground to cover in the realm of Entrepreneurial Women than that. We’ll come back to the out-of-the-chute activities, but right now I want to let you know about something that could really help your venture grow. An important part of your PR/Marketing/credibility picture is awards. So here’s a little information on some women-focused business awards that you should be aware of.
Before we dig into specifics, let’s talk about what an award could do for you. First of all, it’s brochure and website fodder. An externally-conferred award says that you stand out in some way, and have been recognized for that excellent. You can also send out a press release announcing the award – don’t expect a front-page story, but a notice of your honor is almost guaranteed to show up in the Movers and Shakers or People Around Town or similar section of your local newspaper. When you send the notice to the paper, send a photo! and please, please include your url.
Beyond the website and brochure value and the squib in the paper, an award is something that goes on your bio. That’s important, because it shows that people besides your family and friends recognize what you do. And applying for these awards is not difficult – it takes a little time, and some of them have entrance fees (around $50 – the Stevies are more expensive). But if you feel like getting some well-earned recognition, I’d recommend you jump into the ring. What’s the downside?
Here are three women’s business award opportunities. The Association for Women in Communications (AWC) has an annual awards program, the Clarion Awards. Local AWC members nominate companies and people for awards in a range of communications-related categories. So your newsletter, your logo, or your work on behalf of women could be recognized.
The American Business Awards confers a whole set of women’s business awards, jointly called The Stevies (like the Oscars, only it’s Stevie instead of Oscar. Don’t ask me who Stevie is, or was.) There are about 20 different categories of Stevies – Best Small Business, Best PR, Best New Product, you name it. The awards are conferred in New York City – I went to the Stevie ceremony in ’04, and had a blast.
Lastly, the Athena organization out of Chicago has an awards program to recognize women in business and women who mentor other women. They have recognized very prominent women with their national awards over the years, and there are local Athena groups in many cities who produce a local version of the awards program. Definitely worth looking into.
If you have a PR person on your team or at your disposal, great. But you don’t need a PR person or a publicist to apply for these or other women-in-business awards. Just go online and start hunting. My friend Jeannie in Chicago won a Woman of Influence award from the Business Journal a few years ago, and people still mention it to her! There’s no bad-ship, as my kids would say….just go for it.