There are industry awards for just about every sector of commercial life. Even funeral directors like to recognise the best of their profession (at the Ideal Death Show), and toilets are celebrated by both the Loo Awards and the British Toilet Association’s Innovation prize (seriously).

So there’s a good chance that your industry is represented by a recognised awards ceremony.

The question is, are these awards worth the effort and expense? Even if the entry fee is reasonable, you may find that collecting an award with a few of your colleagues will cost hundreds of pounds.

Let’s break down some of the potential benefits of industry awards so we can consider if they’re worth the outlay.

Prestige. Winning awards is a very visible sign of success. And because these prizes are awarded by outsiders, there’s an assumption that the award was won fairly and squarely in a straight race between the best in the field. Providing the award looks and sounds prestigious, a little of that shine is bound to rub off.

Publicity. These days, the value of publicity is two-fold. There’s the extra eyeballs seeing your company name, and there’s the secondary Google-boost that comes from extra links to your website.

Credentials. Awards are another kind of social proof; they’re evidence that your company has been judged and found satisfactory. This can be another marker of quality that you can mention on your website or slap on your slides.

Morale. How often do you pause, reflect and celebrate your successes? For many organisations, this kind of reflection rarely happens; people just plough onwards, striving to hit targets. Entering awards provides a chance to celebrate your team, acknowledge successes and thank the people doing the best work. This can boost morale and offer a welcome break from routine. And even if you lose, you’ve still boosted the spirits of everyone involved.

These benefits might sound like enough to warrant a gamble of a few hundred pounds, but before you complete the entry form, you should consider a few other factors about the awards themselves.

Cost. How much does it cost to enter the award? How much time will it take to prepare the entry? How many employees will need to get involved? And if you win, how much will it cost to attend the event? Some award ceremonies only hand out prizes to companies that attend the main event, so factor in the cost of tickets before entering.

Recognition. Is it well known? Who will hear about it? Will your customers recognise it? In some cases, it may be that the name and appearance of the award is enough to impress people. But an award that is widely known and recognised obviously carries more weight.

Organisers and judges. Who is judging the award? Are they respected professionals? Is the award managed by a trade or professional association? Does the organising body have a reputation for excellence?

How will it benefit your company? This may be difficult to assess, but it’s worth considering what is the best possible outcome from this investment. What can you expect to happen if you win? How will you capitalise on the positive PR?

Reputation. Check out previous years and see who won. Are the previous winners the kind of company you want to keep?

So to summarise, winning awards can be a great way to generate positive publicity and reward employees for their hard work – but you should consider how the costs stack up against the potential gains before diving in.