So, what a crazy few weeks it has been. Rewind to 23 Jan and after a manic day in the day job, I headed to the cinema to watch La La Land with some colleagues. Now I'll admit, half way through the film I did notice my phone was vibrating a lot, which was weird but I quickly dismissed and thought nothing more of it. So much so, that even after I left the film, I didn't check it. It was 9.30pm before I did... and I was in for a shock. I'd only been chosen by Theo Paphitis as a #SBS winner.
For those of you who don't know #SBS stands for Small Business Sunday and is an award set up by the former Dragon's Den investor back in 2010. When Theo was starting out in business he recognised that Sunday evenings were regularly the time he would plan for the week ahead, thinking through his strategies, identifying markets and catching up on the mountain of paperwork which so easily builds up. Having become a successful businessman, he decided to give back to the small business world he had once been a part of, establishing a community which he would endorse and support. And with that #SBS was born.
Theo invites small businesses to tell him about their small business via Twitter. Then each week he picks his favourite few and congratulates them with a tweet. To put this into context there were over 39,000 #SBS applicants last year, so to say I'm thrilled to have won a place in this community doesn't really scratch the surface. As you know I've won many small business awards, mainly set up by small business networks, but to be recognised by someone like Theo Paphitis is a real honour and I must say in the few weeks since winning it's created a good little boost to my business. I've received new followers on social networks, increased traffic to my website but above all it has given me a confidence boost that I'm doing something right.
That's just the beginning though. Not only is the support network of other winners invaluable but we get access to lots of exclusive offers (which I'm definitely making the most of) with national business service providers, and can sell our items on the exclusive Shop #SBS.
For me though the main benefit is the access to Theo's expertise. We are all invited to an exclusive event each year and low and behold this year's event was 10 days after I won! It's a full day of advice from Theo and his special guests, which this year included Deborah Meaden, who I found incredibly inspiring, and John Mills the founder of JML. The highlight of the day, as you can see from the photo, was the opprtunity to meet Theo who presented me with a certificate to confirm my award. He was absolutely lovely, a warm genuine man who told me that my business had a "brilliant name". Who can argue with that?!
It really is an honour to have been given an accolade from someone as well respected in business as Theo Paphitis. I've been overwhelmed with all the messages of congratulations and support so thank you for making this little Shopafrolic proud as punch.