Receiving that award stamp of approval on your business can be your golden ticket to building your business and reputation, just ask Wealth Enhancers co-founder Sarah Riegelhuth.

Since founding the company in late 2009 with husband Finn Kelly, Wealth Enhancers has received countless recognition including Financial Advisor of the Year at the 2014 Xero Awards and Best Website of the Year (Financial Planning) at the 2014 Max Awards.

Sarah has personally been recognised with the IFA Industry Thought Leader award, while Finn has been twice recognised as one of SmartCompany’s Hot30Under30, Money Management's Young Achiever of the Year and AFA Rising Star – to name a just a few.

Combined, Sarah, Finn and Wealth Enhances has been nominated for, or a finalist in, over 30 awards, which is an achievement in itself.

However, winning awards isn’t where Wealth Enhancers story ends. After seeing her win award after award in 2014, I sat down with Sarah to discuss how she won all of the awards, and how simply entering awards has built the reputation and profile of Wealth Enhancers.

Watch the video below to view the whole interview.

Increasing business growth through awards

Anyone who has submitted business award entries knows the time and effort needed to complete your submission. However, Sarah believes we need to look beyond the hours spent and see this as an opportunity to benchmark yourself against other great people and organisations, and measure how you are actually going in the market.

By understanding the successes and mistakes of her peers, Sarah and Finn were able to apply new processes and techniques to their business to help it grow. Subsequently, a conscious decision was made to apply for awards which would not only build their profile, but allow them to compare themselves against competitors.

Additionally, Sarah says going through the award process is not only amazing for your own reflection and knowledge, but you also get to meet these remarkable business people from different industries whether you are a winner or even just a finalist.

Award ceremonies also assist in putting you on the radar of trade media, and gaining wider media coverage.  For Wealth Enhancers, they want to be known as finance and leadership experts for Gen Y and their extensive wins, and their award nominations have helped put them on that map for those potential stories.

Owning your achievements

One of the biggest challenges many of us have to overcoming is the negative mindset, “Well I’m not going to win, so I’m not going to even bother entering,” especially when times are tough and you are crazy busy with work.

However, Sarah believes if you are going to enter awards you’ve got to forget about the reservations. She told me, “Forget about your doubts because it’s not for you to judge. There is a panel of judges who’s going to decide whether you’re good enough or not.”

In fact she says, the process of going back and looking at what your business had done over the last few years is such a powerful experience – reflecting on how much fabulous work you have done and how much you have achieved – that your reservations will ease. 

Award winning tips

1.  Become an award judge. Early in her career, Sarah was a first round judge for the Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards. This opened her eyes up to how judges mark and consider award submissions, and she applies this thinking to every award entry she now makes.

2. Answer the question. It’s not enough to just tell your story, you’ve got to formulate your answers in a way that applies to the criteria and also displays the characteristics and traits the judges are looking for.

3. Be strategic. Sarah says having a good overview of how you are going to pitch the whole story is important; don’t assume they’re going to do any research other than what’s on those awards nomination papers.

4. Make yourself known. Chances are the judges won’t look at your website or profile when they are marking your submission. To get around this and get in front of them as much as possible, Sarah finds out who the judges are and connects with them via LinkedIn.

5. Apply for multiple awards. Sarah strongly recommends applying for the big awards. While they do take a considerable amount of time to complete, once you have that information down, you can use the information to apply for more awards. She says: “Once you’ve gone to that effort of sitting down and putting those hours into the first one, you might as well go for a couple of others!”

No matter what size your business, business awards are a great way to build your profile and expand your business. How has participating business awards helped your organisation?

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