Mandy Lockett, international trade director at East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, explains why outstanding Lancashire businesses should enter the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
There are business awards and then there are the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Any company that’s ever won one of these coveted awards will tell you the transformational impact it can have on their business (more of that later).
Of course, we here at the chamber have a vested interest in encouraging firms in the region to enter. Lancashire is known around the world as a hotbed of innovation, manufacturing and export quality. We want to keep it that way. So, if you’ve never entered the Queen’s Awards before but have an exceptional business success story to tell, here’s five reasons you should enter:
Being able to use the emblem on all your marketing, and even the products themselves, gives a fantastic sales pitch in trading in overseas markets. It gives overseas customers a perception you are an established and reputable business, with the highest levels of excellence, offering quality services or products.
To win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise you can’t just say you’re a successful business, you have to prove it. The entry requirements are rigorous and the judging process is based on hard facts and figures. The fact that it’s so hard to win one means that businesses that do hold a Queen’s Award are held in the highest regard.
So many overseas countries look to Her Majesty, The Queen, as being an important figurehead and any business using the royal emblem is to be respected. In many of the commonwealth and former commonwealth countries she is still revered. Queen’s Awards winners can tap into this sentiment in key export markets.
Considering Britain’s pending exit from the EU, being able to generate new export opportunities and get your foot in the door is even more important for businesses trading internationally. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade, does just this.
Perhaps the most important factor is that Queen’s Award for Enterprise winners can demonstrate a clear link between increased sales performance and winning their award.
73% of companies who win in the international trade category directly attributed increase sales to winning a Queen’s Award. Furthermore, a Queen’s Award lasts for a five-year term which means you can continue to exploit the benefits of being a holder of the Queen’s Award long after the initial event.
And if you still need convincing, here’s Tony Grimshaw, director of What More UK, a Queen’s Award winner in 2014, on what it has meant for the business: “Getting the award was a massive high point in What More UK Ltd’s short history. The buzz in all elements of our business was unbelievable. We received over 500 congratulatory emails and letters from our customers and suppliers. In the larger UK market, it lifted our profile to a level we could only dream of.
“We put the logo on our product and everything from our letterheads to our flagpole. When the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire gave us the award at our head office, over 700 people attended the ceremony. “As far as overseas and our export markets are concerned it was a very similar story. All the old commonwealth countries responded very positively. One of our Indian customers ran the story on their in-store TVs throughout the chain. “
It is no coincidence that our turnover both at home and abroad, along with our profits, took a turn for the positive. We are coming to the end of the third year of the five-year term of the award and I am pleased to report the effects are still felt and the reaction is very much positive. It’s definitely the best thing that has happened to What More UK Ltd.”