Hunt on for 2009 best shop

This month sees the return of Butcher's Shop of the Year, and our search for the best butchery business of 2009 is now under way.

The awards have been running, in one form or other, for some time now and continue to go from strength to strength. Last year saw a record number of entries and some very strong entrants and, this year, the competition is likely to be just as tough.

We've put together a rough guide to entry with some useful tips on page 8 and I'd urge anyone running a butchery business to consider entering.

Going through the entry process alone is a great way to stop and take stock of what state your business is in - not a bad thing to do at any time, but even more necessary in times of economic hardship.

We're not looking for the biggest, shiniest shop out there - in the words of the kids, we're not looking for the bling! We're looking for a rock-solid business that is setting standards that others should follow.

The aim of the awards is to reward those businesses that are blazing a trail in the industry and to give others ideas and inspiration to take the entire sector forwards.

There are fewer and fewer high street butchers left and, in many ways, we're all in it together. Awards like Butcher's Shop of the Year give us the chance to highlight some of the great things that are going on in the sector.

So get thinking about your business, what makes you stand out, what are you doing that you're proud of and put pen to paper and let us know.