The WOBAs, the win and the benefits

Simon Lassam, Ridgeway

Tuesday October 29th 2013


Entering your business into an award can be a daunting prospect. Aside from the process of entering, you’re exposing a business which you’ve worked damn hard to build over the years to scrutiny from outside. It’s earning you a living, perhaps it’s growing quickly and you’re proud of what you’ve achieved, but it’s surely not award-winning. There must be other businesses out there which are doing better, mustn’t there? That was certainly Ridgeway’s thoughts as we entered the West Oxfordshire Business Awards last year. We thought we had a chance of being shortlisted, perhaps of being finalists, but we wouldn’t win. Would we?

Well, we did! We’re proud to have been named West Oxfordshire’s Small Business of the Year 2013, which is still hugely satisfying to say. We are now an award winning web design agency and there have been some genuine benefits to being able to say that.

A year on from filling out our entry form, we thought we’d share some of our experiences from the last twelve months to encourage other businesses to have faith and enter this year’s awards.

But why is it worth entering? Winning the award was great, but finding out we were finalists and even entering the awards in the first place were still really positive experiences for the business. The process of filing out the entry form itself is very helpful. As a business owner it makes you consider every aspect of what you do, which can be an eye opener to some of the good things you do, that otherwise are taken for granted in amongst the day-to-day process of running the business. Answering the questions the entry form posed forced us take a step back and assess the successes of the past 12 months.

Being a finalist and then going on to win the award, both had a positive impact our staff. They were thrilled to share in the success of the company, which created a real sense of achievement amongst the team. They were proud of what they had achieved and rightly so – our staff are the heartbeat of our business and being able to say to them “we genuinely are good at what we do” has given team morale a massive boost.

From a commercial perspective, our local and regional profile has improved markedly. We’ve gained more media coverage and the fact that we have an award which recognises the successes and strengths of the business gives new and existing customers great confidence in our business. We’ve always worked hard to be reliable and true to our word in everything we do, but now we’ve got the awards and industry recognition to back it up.

West Oxfordshire Business Awards finalists are also automatically entered into the Oxfordshire Business Awards. That’s two entries for the price of one (which is nothing!). We were even more delighted (and amazed) to go onto win the Small Business category at the Oxfordshire awards too. This has given us the confidence to go on and enter the Thames Valley Business Awards as well. Fingers-crossed!

All in all, we’ve had a stellar couple of years. The performance of the business in 2012 made us a strong candidate for the awards in the first place, but winning at the WOBAs in 2013, and then the OBAs, has propelled us forward even further. We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to help other local businesses and entrepreneurs to shine by sponsoring the 2014 Business Person of the Year category at the 2014 West Oxfordshire Business Awards.

So, get those entries in. You’ll learn a lot about your business and realise how much you have achieved over the past 12 months. Your staff (if you have them) will see that they are working for a truly great business and, who knows, you could need to don a posh frock and a bow tie next March in order to walk on stage and collect some silverware. We speak from experience – you’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Simon Lassam, Managing Director, Ridgeway, winners of the Small Business of the Year Award 2013, sponsors of the Business Person of the Year Award 2014