When we see something that champions small businesses, then it makes us stand up and take notice. Having been in business for over 50 years we’re always keen to support others in the same boat, and get involved wherever we can.
And one of the best ways to get involved in this incredible community is no other than Small Business Sunday! It’s an online event that runs every week – on Sundays, believe it or not! We’ve had so many opportunities arising from it.
On Tuesday 12th February, I attended the Small Business Sunday event in Birmingham with 800 small businesses from around the country. It was a fantastic event, with some incredible speakers and chances to network with like-minded business owners.
We’ve been a part of the community for over five years and we’ve loved every second of it.
What is #SBS?
The online event #SBS, which is short for Small Business Sundays, is hosted by Theo Paphitis, the current Chairman of Ryman Stationery. He’s also the joint owner of Red Letter Days and chairman of Boux Avenue, so he has a very impressive business history! Most people would probably recognise him from Dragons’ Den, a TV programme where he appeared as a business mentor for 9 series. He’s even mentored past Dragons’ Den’s winners, such as MagicWhiteboard, Wedgewelly, and Value My Stuff.
Theo’s scheme is very easy. You simply tweet about your business with the hashtag #SBS on Sundays between 5pm and 7:30pm and, if he likes it enough, he’ll retweet it, which shares your tweet to his followers. Thousands of people take part each week, so it’s competitive. Even if Theo really likes your tweet, he only retweets six each Sunday. But if you do get retweeted to Theo’s 490,000 followers, there are so many benefits!
Why is it good for SMEs?
One of the immediate benefits is a potential increase in your numbers of Twitter followers as more people will get to see your profile. This, hopefully, means more awareness, which is exactly what SMEs are looking for. But more than that, when you win, you are welcomed in to this supportive community of SMEs and that can make such a big difference to your life.
Luckily for me, I won on 30th June 2013 and only realised when my phone started going crazy. I looked at my screen and I had over 200 notifications on Twitter from previous SBS winners welcoming me to my new ‘family’.
Because of my win all those years ago, I have been able to attend the SBS events which are held once a year. It’s great fun because we have the opportunity to hear from some incredible keynote speakers. Their speeches are always very interesting, and the Q&As are insightful, too. I’ve heard from John Roberts (the CEO of AO), Holly Tucker from NotOnTheHighStreet, and Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden, just to name a few.
This year in particular, I got to hear from the head of SME marketing at Google, Raja Saggi. The special guest was none other than Sir Tom Hunter, the founder of Sports Division.
All in all, this is a fantastic opportunity for us small peeps to talk to the big guys, knowing that they were in our position not too long ago!
Their advice inspires you to work harder towards your business success.
How can you get involved?
The best thing about this event is that anyone – and everyone – is welcome to take part. The entire competition happens on Twitter, so all you need is a good profile and access to the internet during the time.
You can enter it every single Sunday if you want to! The best tweets are the ones that describe your business and have a link to your website too.
The support from Theo is fantastic and he really champions small businesses. We now have a group of over 2,500 business in the UK that support each other, and of course, celebrate all our achievements together.
And to top it all off, some of the people I have met through the #SBS have now also become close friends! It’s funny to think that it all came from a single tweet all those years ago.
Thanks to Theo and the team for a wonderful day, and also, for everything you’ve done for us SMEs. Being part of your team has made such a difference to our lives, and we’re so grateful to be part of this amazing community of SMEs.
If you’re an SME, it’s really important to find a support group to give you tips, advice, and support. From personal experience, I would wholeheartedly recommend Theo’s #SBS.
And if you do decide to join in, I’ll see you on Twitter next Sunday!