YOU’VE all been there, I’m sure; standing in front of a mirror, fighting a losing battle with your black bow tie, struggling with your kilt and muttering never again. Nerves on edge, will we won’t we? It’s awards night. It doesn’t matter which awards night, the only thing that matters is that your company has been nominated and in a few hours you will hear the result from the esteemed (they always are, aren’t they?) panel of judges.

Don’t you think there are too many awards ceremonies? There are events by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs to stroke massive egos; by publishers for publicity and to secure advertising from nominees and winners; by professional services companies for clients and to show the business world that they understand entrepreneurs, oh and if they happen to want to transfer their business after picking up an award, then cool; and there are events held by the various entities within the enterprise network to showcase their most successful businesses, their blue-eyed boys, and to demonstrate they do actually do something for their money (believe me, I should know, we’ve won two of them).

Don’t get me wrong, I like getting dressed up in a posh frock the same as anyone, well, any female. And I love the whole networking thing, the buzz, the swapping of business cards, the eating and drinking. I enjoy learning about the innovative, successful companies and their leaders who have done well enough to be nominated.

The best bit is watching the winners and how they react. Do they leap up and rush off to the stage to pick up their gong, or do they congratulate their team at the table before they go? Have they a prepared speech, just in case, or are they so genuinely surprised at the result that they have absolutely no idea what to say?

I’ve seen them all. I’ve been at more business award ceremonies than I care to remember. Some are quality, “A” list events, packed to the gunnels with the UK’s leading entrepreneurs, media personalities, and up-and-coming young businesspeople. Some are more “B” list events, usually those sponsored by accountants or consultants who fill the room with clients, aspiring wannabees, friends and family. And then there are the “C” list events, a few famous names, even fewer famous businesses, and those that don’t get invited to the rest.

I was at one this week. I won’t say whether “A”, “B”, or “C”.

But it did get me thinking about the whole recognition thing, the awards ceremonies, the judging, the winners and losers. And it struck me that it’s awfully disparate. The A B and C list events obviously have A B and C list judges, analysing A B and C list businesses. There doesn’t seem to be an even playing field on which to assess the crème de la crème and more often than not we seem to be recognising the same names over and over again.

Surely it would be better for all parties concerned to get together, establish the awards and agree strict criteria, and then organise the mother of all awards ceremonies. Just one. Every year. One stonking great night to remember, to honour the very best of our businesses and inspire the rest to bigger and better things. And only one night to worry about that tie. Just a thought!