Prior to entering the 2013 iAwards, I’ve always felt somewhat ambivalent about entering business awards so it’s no surprise that it taken so long to seek recognition and enter the awards? Perhaps it’s the enormous effort involved that pushes the task into the too hard basket. Alaress has had this task in the too hard basket until recently when a potential client highlighted we required stronger brand recognition for our fantastic software as a service, Schoolbox. Aside from our client’s suggestion to promote Schoolbox to a broader market, there’s loads of benefits to entering the awards – as a winner you can: Extract maximum marketing advantage. After all, there’s nothing better than a third party endorsement that says “You’re the best and outstanding in your field”. Leverage PR and let your clients, colleagues, competitors, and the media know that you are an award-winning company and industry leader. We all know that winning an award is a newsworthy event and a catalyst for publicity and new business. Enjoy the feeling of pride, honor and recognition that comes along with winning an award. Better support your clients as winning supports future growth and product enhancement. Benefits aside, seeking recognition is a fundamental human endeavour and therefore it is natural to seek recognition in one form or another – especially by winning an award. So it’s not surprising that the last few weeks have been somewhat challenging for Alaress as we ventured into uncharted territory to enter Schoolbox™ for the prestigious 2013 iAwards in the education category. The Education iAward recognizes the most successful and innovative application of ICT to the delivery of education and training. Entering this type of award requires focus, dedication to getting the job done and teamwork. Whilst under pressure to finalise the submission and engage the Alaress team to help me along the journey my encouraging mantra has been – “The exercise of entering awards is a great litmus test for the business and presents an ideal opportunity to strengthen our Schoolbox brand”. On this journey we discovered that entering an award provides great insight into the business’s strengths, weaknesses and insight to build a stronger organisation. Selection criteria include: uniqueness, marketability, functionality & features, quality and application of technology. We also discovered that our clients were eager to help us in the process and are extremely grateful for the support from our client’s that resulted in: A great video showing how The Cathedral School in Townsville uses Schoolbox. Wonderful photo’s of Schoolbox in action from Saint Kentigern Schools in New Zealand, and Amazing examples of point of sale for parents who use Schoolbox from Moriah College. If we win the award, we know I will be a significant milestone for Schoolbox and its recognition in the education market. If we don’t the effort required to prepare and submit the award, in our view has been well worthwhile and a terrific experience. We have our fingers crossed so keep checking our blog for updates.