1) It’s easy
This may come as a surprise, but there just isn’t much effort involved in applying. One form to convince us we should take notice of your business and you’re done. 15 minutes tops, perhaps more if you’re technologically inept. And did we mention it’s free?
2) So much money
If your business wins you get a big fat cheque for £10,000. Can’t say fairer than that. And if you need any more monetary enticement to enter, each of the ten separate category winners swipes a tasty £1,000.
3) Major PR perks
The PR these awards generate is the stuff of dreams for any small business. Making it into the O2 Smarta 100 offers a ready-made platform from which to shout about your business for zero cost, and if you win the Mail on Sunday will be writing up a nice big feature on you. The publicity generated for your business cannot be emphasised enough. Need proof? Check out our interviews with past winners Folded Wing, SalesGossip and Bluebird Tea Co, all raving about the exposure generated by the awards. Don’t miss out.
4) The Awards. Like a party but better
These awards are so much more than your standard glitzy, champagne-heavy get-together. Winner or not, anyone who makes it into the O2 Smarta 100 can attend and as great as winning the top prize is, this swish celebration is the real reward. Just think of it as taking your dream Linkedin contacts to an awesome party and getting some one-to-one advice. Schmooze with your fellow O2 Smarta 100 winners, past winners, entrepreneurs, politicians, journalists, investors and too many business big-shots to shake a stick at. This is next level networking.
5) You might actually win
These aren’t the type of awards to hand over some cheap trophy to any old corporation that pays enough. Smarta is on a mission to uncover the best small businesses, and by best we do not necessarily mean richest. We want to see originality, flair and ideas that make a difference. We are proudly unscientific and are keeping it that way, so if we think your ideas are cool, chances are you’re in with a decent shot.
6) Respect for your business
Winning an award can provide that extra level of trust necessary for prospective customers to buy into your business. Awards bring you respect and authority. They are the recognition that you have created a product or service that people are crazy for and are a solid reason to encourage more people to try you out; what’s not to love?
7) The Old Boys
Past winners of the 02 Smarta Awards include businesses as renowned as Graze, Zoopla, Wonga, Crowdcube, SuperJam, Naked Wines, Neon Play and Huddle. Imagine being listed among the likes of this lot. And if that wasn’t enough…..
8) Alumni benefits
Later this year Smarta will be launching the 02 Smarta 100 Alumni network for all 02 Smarta 100 winning businesses. This offers an online space for winners to network, seek advice, do business together as well as access exclusive deals and specialist support.
After our expert team of judges decide on the final O2 Smarta 100, it is up to the public to choose their favourite businesses in each category. As well as spreading the word, nothing describes finding out that your vision has the support of thousands of people you don’t even know. After hours of putting in the labour, receiving some recognition for your efforts makes it all worth it.
10) Practice makes perfect
Hopefully the 02 Smarta Awards will be the first of many awards ceremonies in a long and happy business career. This is a perfect opportunity to practice and perfect your pitch so you can get your message out there. If the pitch isn’t compelling, change it around; shake it up; take note from what other businesses around you are doing.