Tuesday, 3 December 2013

sbs - small business sunday - the twitter journey continues

Thursday last week took me to Birmingham for the second sbs event. Small Business Sunday shortened to the hash tag #sbs was created on twitter by Theo Paphitis back in October 2010. Theo Paphitis is well known in the UK for investing in and mentoring entrepreneurs and small businesses through his appearances on TV's Dragons Den and this support for small businesses has rolled over to twitter in the guise of #sbs.
Each week on twitter Theo Paphitis invites small businesses to send him a business tweet, he then rewards 6 of these businesses by Re tweeting their tweet to all of his followers which to date stands at over 400,000, for a winner whose followers often number less than 1000 before winning on twitter this can be a tremendous boost to their business.
I was fortunate enough to win a re tweet from Theo Paphitis back in February 2012 and I have certainly benefited from the win. First and foremost it gave my business some recognition, there are so many people making beaded jewellery out there so for me to be able to add an #sbs winner label to my business gives some legitimacy to what I do. As a result I have been in local papers and had a couple of fantastic editorials in local magazines, so it has helped raise my profile locally.
Also the #sbs community on twitter is thriving and if you embrace it you can make great contacts. There are a host of winners out there many are just as excited about their win as I am about mine and are keen to interact with you on twitter just because you are a winner, and then, after tweeting with them for a few weeks, months you realise actually that what they do, can help you and your business or you can provide something for them and business collaborations start to take shape. many sbs winners take time to seek out fellow winners to tweet with every day and now we even have an hour set aside each week on Tuesday evenings 8.30 - 9.30pm where we can all come together using the hash tag #sbswinnershour  we can share our news, celebrate our successes, ask for advice, promote our services, businesses and support each other.
Thanks to #sbswinnershour I had many winners I wanted to see on Thursday, as I had been tweeting with them regularly for a few months prior to the event and felt as though I had known these winners for years.
There were also other winners I wanted to meet having first met them last year at the winners event in Edgbaston and we have just continued tweeting with each other.
And then of course Theo Paphitis was so inspiring at last years event, I couldn't wait to hear what he had to say to us all this year especially after being told that there would be more exiting news about how #sbs would be moving on. So as you might have worked out, I was fairly excited about the whole day
The day
So excited in fact that I hardly slept the night before - great start!
I am not the only winner from Stafford - Celebrant, Carole Renshaw of @sinceremoments A good friend who I have known for a couple of years thanks to WiRE Women in Rural Enterprise was also attending so we arranged to go together. Even though I knew many of the winners attending I was so pleased that I had Carole there to touch base with throughout the day, especially as it is never as easy as you think it is going to be to find everyone you want to with a sea of faces. So at times you just needed to step back and take some time.


Again this year we were all going around looking at name badges trying to find those you wanted and or needed to meet, this wasn't easy especially as again this year the badges had our business names rather than our twitter names, so my badge said Angela Smith Jewellery, not pearlysmith.
I had a jewellery order to hand over.



and I had also ordered an #sbs winners window cling from AlisCraftStudio


and as I keep saying lots of people I wanted to meet, I made the mistake of clocking some people recognising them but as they were talking, deciding to return to them later and never seeing them again.


But here are a few of those I did meet during the day. Unfortunately I kept forgetting I had my camera, so very few photos were taken, and much talking was done instead!
Felicity Brown of @hoegrange

@sinceremoments @vinylclocks, @Sheelagh_Powell

@WelshRoyalCryst me, myself I and  @GWRFasteners 
Both Kim and Jude are wearing their commissioned necklaces I made for them.
After a couple of hours networking over very lovely light refreshments and tea- yes I drank tea, others opted for something a tad stronger!!!
We all took our seats for the sbs presentation.



This was introduced by Kypros Kyprianou CEO of Ryman - you remember that photo above of the lovely Kim and Jude, well guess who took that photo!!!!!
hey what can I say-  I needed the photo and he was there - seize the moment!!!! If you ever happen to read this Mr Kyprianou sir, thank you very much, I really did appreciate you doing this




last year the whole of the sbs event was sponsored by Ryman, this year Kypros Kyprianou introduced some new sponsors who are wanting to get more involved with supporting #sbs winners these included RAC, DHL, ilaw and bartercard.






After being introduced to the new sponsors, Theo Paphitis took to the stage,




 He talked us through some of the new and exciting ways sbs will be helping us sbs winners even more over the next few months - first of all he introduced Chris Wheeler of @metalfrogst who talked us through new changes to the sbs website and introduced a facebook page too, All great stuff.





Then Theo Paphitis introduced #SBS Angels
the SBS Angels are some of the businesses that Theo Paphitis has invested in through Dragons Den .
These businesses now in turn are going to invest £50,000 in one or may be more than one lucky #sbs business who submits a business plan that captures the imagination of the angels, I wonder who that lucky business will be?




We were also told that these events will now take place annually too, great news for those who couldn't attend this year!
after the presentation Theo Paphitis then invited questions from the sbs winners, and inevitably this over ran, with some serious business questions, to the down right silly! 
After the questions, all the new winners formed an orderly queue to have their photo taken with Mr P. as I had had my photo taken last year I just grabbed another cup of tea and trawled the queue looking for more more people to talk to, I also took a few pics of my own of Mr P with the winners.

@whiskytastingco

 Carole Renshaw @sinceremoments
So there you are - another fantastic #sbs event - wonderful to catch up with so many winners, sorry to have missed others - but gives me something else to look forward to next year. 
and may be next year even more of you will be wearing my jewellery hint hint!!!!
Next year I might have got myself a better small camera and we can get a group photograph organised for the Staffordshire winners, I feel another press release opportunity!