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“Free ‘health check’ for businesses entering Australia’s top awards”

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The 2010 Telstra Business Awards have opened for nominations. This year, entrants have been offered a ‘free Business Health Check’ to help identify opportunities to grow and expand.

It’s the 18th year Telstra has run the Awards recognising excellence in small and medium business both nationally and in every state and territory. They offer a combined prize pool of more than $400,000 in cash and prizes, as well as the kudos that comes from taking out Australia’s best-known and most prestigious business prize.

Deena Shiff, Telstra Business Group Managing Director, says 2010 will be a milestone year for the Telstra Business Awards with the added value of the new “Business Health Check”.

“Running a small business can be a lonely job at times with owners usually working long hours often on their own – they don’t readily have the opportunity to get an independent assessment of how they are really travelling,” Ms Shiff said. rnrn”Every year we get great feedback from entrants and finalists that entering the Awards has helped them focus and plan their businesses.

“The new Business Health Check really takes that a step further offering all businesses entering the chance to check their vital signs and get an even better picture of where they stand and how well placed they are to take advantage of opportunities to grow and expand.”

Free Business Health Check

The Business Health Check is based on international benchmarking standards including the Global Reporting Index and Innovation Standards, current legislation and accepted industry best practice.

It was developed by Telstra Business in consultation with the NSW Business Chamber which has been using it to coach and develop businesses over the past four years.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) entering will automatically qualify for the Health Check, which forms part of the entry process and provides an objective snapshot of how a business is currently performing. It can also help with plans and adjustments for the future on their approach to key management functions.

From the responses provided in the Awards entry submission, businesses can receive advice designed to deliver opportunities to achieve effective competitive advantages in key aspects including customer and staff management, product development, social responsibility, financial management and marketing.

Ms Shiff said the value of the Health Check was evident in a recent Telstra Business survey of more than 300 SMEs which showed almost half believed that a strong business plan was critical to their business improvement.

“For almost two decades the Telstra Business Awards have helped improve hundreds of successful businesses, propelling them forward to further big achievements. We look forward to building on that this year,” Ms Shiff said.

Dr Margarite Vale, Founder and Director of the Victorian company, The COACH Program, which won the 2009 Telstra Australian Business Award, said the Award has had an ongoing impact on her business.

“Winning the Telstra Business Award was great recognition for something I have been working on for 15 years and it has given us wonderful exposure,” Dr Vale said. rnrn“Since being named as the Telstra Australian Business Award Winner last year, The COACH Program has experienced business growth, including some existing customers expanding the program, others extending contracts and some new customers.”

“It has enhanced our reputation as a business and given us great kudos among our customers – both existing and new. All of our customers were thrilled and said they were proud to be associated with us.”

Telstra Business Award Categories

There are five award categories:

  1. businessowner Micro-Business AwardFor businesses with five employees or fewer.
  2. MYOB Small Business AwardFor businesses with more than five employees, but less than or equal to 20 employees.
  3. Panasonic Australia Medium Business AwardFor businesses with more than 20 employees, but less than or equal to 200 employees.

All entrants will also be considered for the following two specialist Awards:

  • AMP Innovation AwardFor businesses that have successfully introduced an Innovation.
  • Sensis Social Responsibility AwardFor demonstrated leadership and contribution by a business to the environment, people, education or the community.

State/Territory Awards

All category winners will be announced at the State/Territory presentation dinners. Winners of the three qualifying categories will also be eligible to win the overall 2010 Telstra Business of the Year for their State or Territory.

National Awards

Category winners in each State/Territory will be eligible to represent their business at the national awards ceremony in their respective category. The winners of the overall Telstra Business of the Year in each State/Territory will also be eligible to be named the 2010 Telstra Australian Business of the Year.

How to Enter the Telstra Business Awards

The Awards process is a simple one:

  1. Any eligible business – your own or someone else’s – may be entered
  2. Entry forms must be submitted by 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Friday 16 April 2010
  3. Entries are assessed by a judging panel which selects finalists
  4. Finalists receive a site visit
  5. Winners are announced at the Awards ceremony

Finalists and winners could enjoy national exposure, an unparalleled business network and a competitive advantage.

To nominate and enter, click here. Entries close at 5pm Eastern Standard Time on Friday 16 April 2010.

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