Well, yesterday we all had a little bit of a boost, because we found out that we’ve been shortlisted as finalists in two categories for the 2018 R Awards!
Yep, that’s right, little old us have made it through to the R Awards finals. Last year we were nominated but didn’t make the finals. This year we were nominated and are finalists. Maybe, on that law, next year we’ll be nominated, finalists AND winners, who knows!?!
Or…maybe 2018 is our year. We’ll find out on Wednesday 14th November, when all will be revealed.
What Are The R Awards?
Just in case you’ve been ignoring everything we’ve been doing for the last few years (or maybe you’re just new to GrowTraffic? In which case, hello!), I’ll quickly remind you about the fact that we’ve been involved in the R Awards in one way or another for several years now.
The R Awards – or to give it its full title, the Rossendale Business Awards – is an awards ceremony organised and run by the Valley at Work networking group. There are 18 individual awards up for grabs, in categories as wide and varied as Best Accessible Business, Best Part-Time Business, the Most Enterprising Young Person Award and the Invest In Rossendale Award.
Each category has a strict entry criteria and the judges are ruthless in making sure only the best go through. The judging panels for each category are made up of a range of people from the local community, the award sponsors, local businesses and the Valley at Work committee members, which ensures the panel as a whole is completely impartial and thoroughly fair.
And for a relatively small community, Rossendale seems to have an incredibly high proportion of exceptional businesses, because each year not only do the number of nominations received go up, but the standard of entry does too, and hence the level of competition seems to rise each year.
Now in their 9th year, the R Awards have grown to become the biggest business event in the area, with over 100 businesses nominated each year and more than 200 people attending the award’s ceremony itself.
How Is GrowTraffic Involved In The R Awards?
Having joined Valley at Work when we first moved to Bacup, in the Rossendale Valley, about four years ago, we very quickly found it a great way to not only grow our business but also to make friends in the local community. Four years on, a very big chunk of what we’ve achieved in growing the business can be traced back to Valley at Work – if we hadn’t gone along to one of their FREE meetings, we wouldn’t have met such-a-body, who introduced us to such-a-body, who landed us a big contract with such-a-company, and then we joined such-a-group etc. etc.
From small acorns grow big trees. Grow big GrowTraffic trees.
After a couple of years of membership with Valley at Work, GT were asked to take over running the websites for both Valley at Work and the R Awards, because the previous company who did it were moving out of the area. We jumped at it, not least because as part of the deal, in exchange for managing the websites, came sponsorship of an R Award.
That’s why, for the last three years, GT has sponsored the Creative Business Category of the R Awards, and it’s something we absolutely love doing.
How Are The R Awards Judged?
Most people you ask who sponsor an award will tell you that the judging is the most tedious bit…all that reading through endless application forms and then trying to pick a winner. However, I actually love that bit; I love reading more about the businesses in my local area, about what they’re doing and how they’re going about it.
Every year I am amazed by how much creativity there is going on around me, not just from the talented people who are making marvellously creative things, but also in the way people are ingeniously tackling their business hurdles in creative ways.
The judging of the awards follows the same procedure each year; the application forms submitted by the nominees are handed round for everyone involved in the judging to read through, we pick our shortlist of three, everyone’s shortlist of three is then submitted and the results are amalgamated to create the finalised shortlist of three (or sometimes four), and then the winner is selected from the short list.
This final bit happens on ‘Judgement Day’, when all the judging panel sit around the table and thrash out who should win that category. I wouldn’t say it’s ever fraught, but it’s never an easy decision, as every single nomination is worthy in one way or another of wining an award.
What Is GrowTraffic Nominated For In The R Awards?
Now last year, GT were nominated for two awards, but we didn’t make it to any of the finalised lists. We’re weren’t upset, quite frankly we were absolutely chuffed to bits just to have been nominated. We kept that logo on our email signatures for the rest of the year! In fact, it’s still on mine.
However, this year we heard, as the first round of judging closed on Tuesday, that we’d been listed as finalists in two categories; I’m a finalist for the Enterprising Woman award and GrowTraffic is a finalist for the Business Of The Year (5 – 10 employees) award. And to say we’re thrilled is an understatement. Many gifs were sent out in the WhatsApp group.
According to the entry criteria, the winner of the Enterprising Woman award will;
“be a woman working in her own business, or within a Rossendale organisation who is a strong, independent, confident leader. She will be, in the opinion of the judging panel, an inspiration for other women who may be considering a leadership role or growing their own business.”
Now obviously I’m far too modest to write here whether or not I think I should win this award, and I’m up against some other quite wonderful women who I either know or know of, so let’s just say I’m not going to hold my breath. However, I will say that promoting women in business is pretty much what I do, so it is at least a fitting category.
The entry criteria for the Business of the Year award, however, simply states that the business must be one of the best and one of the most sustainable; the idea is to demonstrate that you have created a business that will go on to create jobs and wealth for the local community, and that is doing it the correct way, the ethical way.
There is absolutely no doubt that GT fits this category; we have more than trebled in growth in the last year alone, we have more employees, we have a bigger turnover, we have more clients – we are growing and haven’t finished yet. However, absolutely everything we do is done according to our standing principles of honesty and integrity. We help businesses, and we grow because our customers grow, and we don’t lie, cheat or rip people off just to make a buck.
But, whilst we fully believe we deserve to be in the finals of our categories, we’re not going to be holding our breath for winning. Of course, it would be lovely to win – we’d have a bloody party to celebrate – but the calibre of business we’re up against is phenomenal. Just to get this far is recognition for us, and we’re grateful.
When Is The R Awards Award Ceremony?
That doesn’t mean we’re giving up though; all eyes now turn to the R Awards Award Ceremony itself, which will take place on Wednesday 14th November 2018 at 18:30 at the Riverside, Whitworth.
The venue can seat about 200 people and it’s always packed, so it should be a good night. As GT do a lot of networking in the local community, and work with a lot of local businesses, there are always many people there that we know, so regardless of whether we win or not we’ll have some food, a few drinks and a good chin wag with everyone.
And whether we win anything this year, have to wait until next year, or never win anything at all, we’re just glad to be involved to be honest. Well, it gets us out the house, doesn’t it?!?
Oh, and can we just take this opportunity to wish everyone else involved good luck too! Fingers crossed to everyone!