Back in July 2017, Design Pit was selected as one of the six weekly winners of Small Business Sunday, a Twitter competition run by none other than former Dragons Den favourite Theo Paphitis. The competition was something Theo established three years ago as he felt there was a need for him to create an online community for small businesses to network, trade and flourish together. Each week on Sunday evening between 5pm and 7pm, small businesses tweet Theo directly with a reason why their business is great and why they should win a place in the #SBS community. Then on the following Monday, Theo selects six weekly winners and announces them via a tweet to his half a million followers.
The exposure is huge and within an hour of winning, our following on Twitter had started to creep upwards and we were getting lots of messages from previous winners, welcoming us to the party! We then received an email from the #SBS team with our login details for the #SBS website. After logging in, we realised that there was a lot going on within the community and made a note of the annual winners event in February 2018. Over time, #SBS has grown bigger and bigger so Theo decided to create an annual event where winners could attend, listen to decorated guest speakers, pick up offers at a mini expo, mingle within a networking area and meet Theo for a photograph.
We booked two places for Design Pit, Office Coordinator and Social Media Manager Sarah Richards and Creative Director Gareth Robertson hopped onto the train for the short journey into Birmingham from our base in the Cathedral city of Lichfield. We arrived at the ICC in the centre of Birmingham to register, not knowing what to expect from the event but quickly we realised that Int was even bigger than we had imagined! With around a thousand people in attendance, the event was a seminar themed affair that housed a mini expo where large companies such as HP, DHL and Ryman held stands to exhibit.
The main event was a Q&A with John Roberts, who is the owner of AO; or Appliances Online which happens to be Europes biggest electrical Whyte goods retailer. AO is worth £1.2 billion pounds and John Roberts gave up his afternoon to talk at the event. This talk, which also included Theo, was truly inspirational as John opened up about his journey, the trials and tribulations along the way and also the successes that he has achieved with his business. Some of the quotes from John’s talk were so inspiring, memorable and though-provoking that we have since written them down on our office white board so we read them every day!
All in all, the day out at the #SBSEvent2018 was a hugely successful one. Both Sarah and Gareth took so much away from the event in terms of knowledge, tips, tricks and new thought processes to work with. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be getting more involved with the #SBS community. There is opportunity around every corner and it is important to put in the effort if you want to take something from a community like #SBS.