Last Friday, we were invited to Theo Paphitis' #SBS event in Birmingham. Theo, a former Dragon's Den judge, runs a Twitter competition every Sunday evening. You tweet him your business idea using the hashtag #SBS and then he retweets his favourite six the following Monday. We entered the competition on a whim in December and were shocked when we received a flurry of Twitter activity on what was mean to be a quiet Monday evening! There were so many kind words of encouragement and congratulations from other #SBS winners. I think the best thing about the competition is the community it creates. We were then given access to the SBS portal where we could engage with other winners and will soon have access to ShopSBS, Theo's latest project to showcase the products sold by SBS winners all in one site!
As part of our little Twitter victory, we were also invited to attend the annual SBS Event, which took place at the Birmingham ICC. We weren't really sure what to expect. There were such a wide variety of businesses present at the event and Shaleena and I felt a bit overwhelmed at the networking coffee morning. Soon however, some lovely winners approached us to start a conversation. We had little in common in terms of business type or maturity, but after just a few minutes of conversation we were told that we should feel free to reach out if ever we were feeling stressed or nervous about our business. It was really so heartwarming. The rest of the day involved more networking, a talk by Theo himself and a panel discussion with the founder of Not on the High Street and the Really Useful Box Company. What Shaleena and I enjoyed most about this was how honest everyone was - both the speakers and the other attendees were extremely open about the obstacles they were facing with their businesses. It was so refreshing! At most other events, everyone just seems to be singing their own praises so it's really hard to gauge our own progress against our peers.
Best of all, at the end of the day we had the chance to get our photo taken with Theo! The whole event was free for us and kindly sponsored by Ryman, Red Letter days and Robert Dyas. There was also the opportunity to book a slot to 'Meet the Experts'. These included buyers from Theo's businesses, SEO experts and commercial lawyers. We left Birmingham feeling so inspired and with a pretty hefty goody bag!
For anyone with a small business, please take part in Theo's Twitter competition! It just takes a minute and you can enter on as many Sundays as you like, so you really have nothing to lose.
Shaleena and Roshni