Small Business Sunday (#SBS) was set up by former Dragon, Theo Paphitis from his kitchen back in October 2010. From the early days of running a fledgling retail business, Theo used Sunday evenings as the time to gather his thoughts and plan for the week ahead – identifying key target clients to acquire over the ensuing days.
Marvelling at the speed he acquired followers on his (then) new Twitter account, Theo quickly spotted an opportunity to use the strength in numbers of his following to the advantage of small business owners up and down the land. What started as little more than offering the ‘first 6 replies’ the opportunity of having him retweet their business, has now morphed into an ever-growing legion of small business owners across the country.
The value in membership of this ‘chosen by Theo’ club is enormous and it is no exaggeration to claim it as a real game-changer. Since our win in February 2015 we have:
- More than quadrupled our following on our Social Media platforms;
- Gained access to free and discounted services from Theo’s companies and #SBS sponsors;
- Been granted access to online mentoring and advice;
- Joined a fabulously supportive group of entrepreneurs on the Facebook Group – who share ideas, support, and advice – not to mention the great networking opportunities it presents;
- Access to a similarly (albeit currently smaller) useful and proactive Linked In Group.
The icing on the cake (to date) has been our first attendance at the annual SBS Conference at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham. Not only did we get the chance to meet Theo and have fabulously cheesy-grinned photos with him, but there was a great networking opportunity with hundreds of fellow delegates, ‘Meet the Buyer’ sessions, and ‘question and answer’ sessions with entrepreneurial giants (this year featuring the founders of ‘Not on the High Street’ and the ‘Really Useful Boxes’ – and Theo himself, of course).
Many fellow attendees of this year’s event will both laud the praises of the Q&A session; whilst simultaneously bemoaning the ‘oxygen-theft-stupidity’ of some of the questions – yet that is but an aside!
Revealed at the event was the ground-breaking and ridiculously-cheap web service that is shortly to be rolled out in the form of an online SBS Shop. Initially this will serve those with a ‘product offering’, and – excitingly for us – will soon be rolled out to encompass ‘service offerings’.
Did I mention the big bag of freebies we all got too? Everyone loves a ‘gizzit’ – and this bag certainly didn’t disappoint.
So what is the real value of SBS? All of it! Enhanced Social Media presence, networking, support, mentoring, advice, and inclusion into a group of like-minded entrepreneurs. Head over to http://www.theopaphitissbs.com and make a calendar entry for 5pm every Sunday (until you win). Good luck – and I hope to meet you soon; both on the cloud and in the flesh!