Time and time again we are asked why we charge a fee to enter our awards. So, this article will explore why we made that decision, and why we think paying to enter is worth it!
How much does it cost?
As you may know, it costs £50 (plus VAT) fee to enter the Rural Business Awards. When the Awards were set up in 2015, Anna and Jemma spent a long time deliberating over how much to charge.
They conducted extensive market research, and concluded that it is normal to pay to enter national business awards. Many of our competitors charge well over £100! We feel that £50 is affordable for businesses of all sizes.
We are a rural business just like our entrants. The entry fee enables us to cover our costs, to process all the entries we receive, and to organise our judging days.
Is it still fair?
Some people argue that by charging an entry fee we are excluding businesses who may deserve an award, but cannot afford to enter.
We believe a £50 entry fee is accessible to all, and we actively strive to be as inclusive as possible. However, even if we made entry free, there are around 600,000 rural businesses in the country, and many of them still wouldn’t enter. This might be because of a lack of time, or a lack of inclination, but it doesn’t change the fact that our entries will only ever include a cross-section of the nation’s rural businesses.
Therefore, what makes an awards scheme fair is its judging process. Our entries are judged entirely based on merit. Our judges are leaders in their respective industries and the lengthy judging process scores entries on around twenty different categories.
Is it an unnecessary cost?
One argument is that paying to enter business awards is an unnecessary and frivolous expense. However, we view business awards as an important marketing tool, on a level with advertising and social media.
The difference between winning an award and other marketing tools, is that awards are an invaluable way to build a customer’s trust, and differentiate your business from its competitors. Consider how much you are prepared to pay for an advert and suddenly £50 seems like nothing.
Are we just out for profit?
The RBAs aren’t a business with the sole aim of making a profit. We are passionate about enabling the success of rural businesses and resolving the challenges they face.
Anna Price: “Jemma and I have over the last three years engaged with hundreds of rural businesses as well running our own rural businesses and the Rural Business Awards. This I believe gives us a unique position from which to engage with and understand the challenges and issues faced by our entrants. We have been identified as key rural stakeholders with policy makers and organisations operating in the rural sector, which has given us a platform to share your rural business successes and challenges.
The money that is made by the RBA’s is reinvested in the business, funds cover our admin costs, staff wages and our expenses in representing rural businesses in Westminster and with organisations like the OECD.
We want to put a marker in the sand to say ‘we are rural business’ – we want to act as an enabler; as a group who champions rural business and who has their best interests at heart. To this end we are establishing The Rural Business Group as a CiC. We believe this will give people confidence that we are not simply in it to generate profit and ride off into the sunset! We are genuinely passionate about rural business and communities and want to champion their cause.”
Why choose the RBAs?
We’re proud to be an independent company, set up by two rural businesswomen who saw a need for a dedicated rural business awards scheme. The RBA’s are a great vehicle through which we can promote all of the amazing work that goes on in a sector which faces its own unique challenges.
Because we exist independently of a publishing company, we don’t keep our content to ourselves. We have promoted our entrants in everything from national papers to the local magazines whose opinions matter to their customers. Rather than just being featured once in one publication, our winners will be featured in both regional and national press.
And, just because someone enters in the 2018/19 doesn’t mean that our association with them ends there. In fact, we’re still promoting our entrants from 2015. Our relationships with our entrants are incredibly important to us. By entering the RBAs you are not just entering an awards scheme, but a community.
So, is it worth the entry fee?
Because of all this, we think that paying £50 to enter the awards is actually a bit of a bargain! Yes, it’s a gamble, you may pay the money and never even make it to the finals. However, if you do win, it may just be the best £50 you have ever spent.
If this article still hasn’t answered your questions about the entry fee, you can get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01163800525.
We also recognise that paying for an awards entry might not be a top priority for charities, social enterprises or community projects. Please get in touch with the RBA office and we can see how we can help.