THE search is on again for the best in Queanbeyan business with this year's Business Excellence Awards to be launched next Tuesday night at The Royal Hotel.
Last year's glittering awards night proved a social and networking triumph for local business, with more than 100 people attending the gala dinner in September. The Queanbeyan community also backed the concept with over 1,000 nominations received for the customer service award.
Local cafe owner Kate Blewitt of east Queanbeyan eatery ktbee's kitchen took out the inaugural customer service award last year, and said it had proved both a personal and a professional blessing.
"My customers really loved it. It's validation for them as well as for me that we're doing the right thing. And when you get fabulous feedback the way we got feedback, it's sensational. You can't do better than that for advertising," she said.
The awards were also a great way for businesses to focus on maintaining a consistent, high level of service, Ms Blewitt said.
"A lot of the time you really don't know how your business is going. You think you're doing the right thing... but we're always in a bit of a state of confusion about what to do [to grow your business]," she said.
"But if you go into this award, you get helped through it, and you get very focused on customer service in our case or whatever category it is you're entering, and it's a great motivator.
"It gives you incentive to do your best. Because people love to get accolades for what they do, especially if you do it well. It just validates what you're doing, and then it keeps you at level that you have to stay at."
Queanbeyan counsellor Sue Whelan is again chairing the awards, and encouraged local businesses to nominate and promote themselves within the town.
"To be acknowledging and supporting our businesses is very, very important," she said.
"I've often said there's a lot of jewels in Queanbeyan business that aren't recognised. There are a lot of good businesses out there that we want to acknowledge and champion in the community.
"This is one way of helping Queanbeyan's economy so people do know what's here rather than crossing the border, to make your first thought 'What's here in Queanbeyan?'"
There are nine separate awards to be won this year across four categories. In the self-nomination category, businesses can enter themselves in the best local business by industry, including: retail, wholesale and distribution; tourism, hospitality and events; light industry and manufacturing; and professional services.
In the community nomination category, customers can nominate their favourite local businesses for Workplace Experience Employer of the Year, Disability Employer of the Year or the Customer Service Award.
The committee's choice category will see the committee chose an outstanding, long-term candidate for the Lifetime Achievement Award, while the overall Queanbeyan Business of the Year category will be chosen from nominations from the first four self-nomination awards.
Nomination forms will be available at local shopping centres, Council's main administration building and also available online.
Businesses can nominate up until close of business on Friday, August 8.
More information on the awards is available at www.queanbeyanbusinessawards.com.au.
The gala presentation evening will be held at The Q on Saturday, September 6.