AZRIM at WSABE – what it means for a small business to win 2 years in a row?
After joining NSW Business Chamber last year, I was informed that there is an option for small businesses to nominate their own businesses into a state-wide business competition which is prestigious and rewards merit.
As a small business operating from Strathfield, I was enlisted into the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence (WSABE). This award is proudly sponsored and grown under the patronage of business leaders, councilors, business executives and companies willing to support Small Businesses in Western Sydney.
Not having entered Azrim into any business awards previously, I hesitantly completed one nomination for Innovation category. The premise of entering that category was that I felt confident to share the Azrim Process that was designed in 2004, based on the practical benefits of Just-In-Time Ordering and Lean Six-Sigma principles of engineering and design which were applied to a corporate wear manufacturing business, with extended capabilities for service, logistics, and delivery.
In short, this system is the lifeline of how we operate, and it gives us tremendous advantages over bigger firms operating in the same industry. Whilst they’re financially stronger and well-known, we can compete with them on an equal playing field with our diversified and agile service offering.
Surprisingly we won the Innovation Category where I spoke on not the business side of things but the community side of Azrim where from the day we launched our business, we contribute 10% of our annual turnover to local charities in NZ and AUS. A humbling moment where I didn’t expect to win, against industry leaders, but felt proud silently on having come so far in a tough unforgiving market.
The benefits of winning the award were many, from recognition to publicity to support from new and old connections; but it meant that I had to maintain my standards of service and quality to match the perception of those that had come to know me after the WSABE Awards win.
12 months on, I got a call from NSW Business Chamber asking me if I had entered WSABE for 2017; and after that phone conversation, I realized I could’ve entered even more categories if I wanted. Feeling more confident, I submitted Azrim into 4 categories – Business Leader, Export, Marketing and Customer Service. A few weeks later, we were nominated in all of these categories which was overwhelming.
On the awards night, the first three categories were announced, and I didn’t win anything but I was happy to be considered. In my heart, I really wanted to win the Customer Service category as it’s the core of our business. Everything we offer is built around the customer, and if it doesn’t add value then we don’t do it.
Fortunately, Azrim won that category and I went up to the stage, in front of new and old faces, to receive the award. It was very emotional as I didn’t expect to win – all of the businesses nominated in every category are very successful, organized and professional.
I am proud of my team, and our ethics to have grown our business organically, built on excellent customer services, word of mouth, referrals and active advice-based selling. We are not in the business to push our products, but instead, give our customers that WOW experience through best-sourced fabrics, hand-crafted tailoring and one-stop-shop service, at very affordable prices.
The judges are very thorough, but equally professional, in selecting new and fresh businesses willing to grow and achieve more, and just need that extra motivation to keep moving onwards. We all have our tough days, weeks and months; but peer recognition, words of support and healthy rivalry can do miracles.
Being an active networker and collaborator, I enjoy getting to know business owners and finding ways of connecting them to people I know, so they can benefit. As a BNI and Rotary member, I know the value of giving without asking, and without conditions. It is the only reason Azrim Pty Ltd has grown from a small room in Auckland to a business that exports to over 11 countries globally including servicing major cities in Australia and New Zealand.
Next year, we will launch Azrim Kids which will be the perfect extension of Azrim Man and Azrim Woman – our menswear and womenswear selections in both tailored and ready-made.
The only reason I wrote this, was not so much to brag about winning the WSABE, but for saying thanks to WSABE – the organizers, sponsors, owners, and members; who have given me the encouragement to dream big and push the limits. I’d recommend every small business owner to not shy away from entering awards, irrespective of wins or losses, but for the experience and the knowledge that comes from the process.
As a THANK YOU to our wins two years in a row, I’d like to offer every existing client, well-wisher and supporter of AZRIM PTY LTD, the opportunity to avail of my ADD 20% offer on any purchases made this October 2017. It is across our entire selection including accessories and clearance stock, whereby for every $100 you spend, we will give you $20 worth of goods FREE. It is also available on “gift vouchers” which can be purchased now and will be valid till 31.10.2018. It is also the best way to introduce you to the best service at the best price.