BY KERRY ANDERSON
WHEN Clare Fountain, Director of Sorted 4 Life, was nominated for the 2016 Bendigo Business Excellence Awards she was justifiably pleased that one of her clients took the time to nominate her.
“I’d worked really hard the last 12 months so it was a good time to reflect on what I’d achieved,” says Clare who established her professional consulting business in 2000 and has continued to develop it since moving from Melbourne to Bendigo in 2003.
Clare had been nominated for various awards in the past but hadn’t actually entered. This time she did. “The time was right,” she says.
Clare saw the awards as an opportunity to learn. She knew that it would push her out of her comfort zone if she got short listed. “The very least that could happen is that I would get some really great tips on my businesses’ strengths and weaknesses. It was a win, win scenario.”
Clare admits that she would have felt uncomfortable if entering the award was just about her. “My clients, and the outcomes I achieve for my clients, is my focus. I entered to learn, that was my main motivation.” An important aspect to consider when entering an award is how it can benefit others adds Clare. “If the sales of my business grow then I get to employ more people."
One of her favourite quotes that came to mind during our conversation is:
‘And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same’ - Nelson Mandella
Given that Sorted 4 Life is focussed on helping businesses and groups become more efficient, it comes as no surprise that Clare got her entry in a week ahead of time. She developed the responses to the questions then had a trusted adviser do the proof reading and editing to ensure that it read well.
“My philosophy is to play to your strengths. I have someone do this for everything I publish.”
If Clare wanted to be stretched then she definitely was when she was announced as a finalist requiring a 30 second vignette to be filmed. Drawing on her strong presentation skills and an obsession for preparing in detail for everything she does, Clare was up for the challenge and used it as yet another learning experience that she can ultimately share with her clients.
After being announced the winner of the Bendigo Professional Service of the Year B2B (under 10 employees) on 27 May Clare began to appreciate some of the added benefits of entering an award.
The first was being able to acknowledge her team that accompanied her to the awards night. “I was so grateful to be able to stand up and to be able to value their contribution.”
The second was to gain credibility in the eyes of those people that she hasn’t yet worked with. “This award gave people an awareness of the standard of my work. It reinforced that I do walk the talk!”
A third benefit was a surprise to Clare. “People have been ringing me up to ask for referrals. I’ve been putting them in touch with other professionals and loving the ripple effect.”
Ultimately strengthening local businesses is what Clare is most passionate about.
“By creating successful businesses we can build stronger communities,” she says. “Awards can help us to recognise the value of small businesses and motivate people to buy local and shop local. Online is brilliant for regional businesses but be aware of where you are spending your money and where it is going,” advises Clare.
Thank you Clare for sharing your insights and congratulations on your well-deserved award.
READ more about Sorted 4 Business
READ Kerry's 3 reasons to enter an Award
READ Elise's reflections on winning the Regional Achievement & Community Award
FREE WEBINAR: How to make a winning nomination
7.00 – 8.00pm Tuesday 28 June, 2016 Melbourne time.
Using the current Victorian Regional Achievement & Community Awards as a case study, join Kerry Anderson for some practical tips on how to make a winning nomination. All that you need is access to a computer or smart device with internet and sound. A link will be provided by email to those who request it via the contact box on this webpage
KERRY ANDERSON: A businesswoman, philanthropist and community advocate from Central Victoria, Kerry Anderson is passionate about rural and regional Australia. She works with small businesses and rural communities to help them embrace opportunities.