"Owners of Blinds in Style in Sydney, Kirk Fitis and Greg McKenzie, share some of their feelings about being recognised as NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS CHAMPIONS"
1. Can you tell me a bit about the Australian Small Business Champions Award and what prompted you to enter?
A: The Australian Small Business Champion Awards is a respected and wide-ranging program that supports and recognises Australia's most outstanding small businesses. The awards aim to recognise the hard work that business owners contribute to the local community in generating employment for millions of Australians, as well as their contribution to the Australian economy.
As the pinnacle of business success, we entered these awards hoping to be recognised for our teams’ ongoing commitment to customer value and quality which underpinned our successes during 2019 and 2020.
2. What was involved in entering? Were you nominated, was it a lot of work?
A: Entry into the awards is based on the completion and presentation of a series of responses to questions which are evaluated by a judging panel who are looking to assess standards of excellence and overall success in business. The judges are representatives from a variety of industries who have relevant experience or an understanding of the operations of a small business.
The awards are open to all small businesses in Australia within the retail, service with 40 employees or less and manufacturing industries with 100 employees or less.
Some of the criteria evaluated includes the evolution of the business; innovations implemented; promotional activity undertaken; customer satisfaction and community and environmental contributions.
While there was significant effort put into our entry we were driven by the fact that we were potentially competing with businesses across Australia and the ultimate recognition would be worthy of our commitment.
3. What are some of the benefits of winning?
A: As the only national recognition program for small businesses we have been able to successfully compete with other innovators and committed operators of small businesses across Australia. Reviewing the finalists across our category as well as the wider list of successful finalists we were amazed by the variety and exclusiveness of the types of businesses specialising in both services and products that exist around the country.
Our success is a testament to the great teamwork involved in the operation of our company and the opportunity this gives us to continue succeeding and developing great relationships with not only our customers but our suppliers as well.
4. How does this sit in terms of highlights for you as a business? First time entry
A: It’s a real honour to be recognised for our achievements particularly as this was the first time we entered the Awards. We have been recognised in the past at the local level but to now have national recognition feels pretty special and raised the bar for us.
5. What has been the reaction from a) community, b) industry peers c) other nominated companies
A: Of course we will be using the announcement of our win as a key message in future promotional activity but the initial reaction we have received has been so supportive. We’ve used social media to get the initial message out and received wonderful feedback from our industry peers like our great mates at Blinds by Peter Meyer; our friendly competitors; customers and suppliers alike. We’ve even received messages from some of the community groups we support.
6. Would you recommend others from our industry enter?
A: With so many small businesses involved within our industry we definitely think there is room for more to be recognised. Even if winning eludes them the recognition of becoming a finalist from amongst a huge pool of entrants is a fantastic achievement for the hard work involved in not only submitting the entry, but also highlighting and reinforcing the goals achieved by the business especially in the current business environment.