terptree: Victoria meets Theo - the fabulous SBS Winners Event 28 November 2013 in Birmingham

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Friday, 29 November 2013

Victoria meets Theo - the fabulous SBS Winners Event 28 November 2013 in Birmingham

Victoria Williams, Director of terptree - was invited to attend the #SBS winners event at the ICC in Birmingham on 28 November 2013, an event hosted by none other than Theo Paphitis!  Read on to see what she got up to, including meeting with Theo himself.

What is SBS?

Small Business Sunday, shortened to the hashtag #SBS on Twitter, was created by Theo Paphitis in October 2010. Theo is best known for appearing on Dragons Den on BBC Two. He is Chairman of Ryman Stationary plus Boux Avenue lingerie and Robert Dyas, as well as joint ownder of Red Letter Days.
Each week Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him @TheoPaphitis and describe their business in one tweet including the all-important hashtag #SBS. Only tweets made in the time slot between 5.00 PM and 7.30 PM each Sunday count.
Each week Theo reviews and chooses his favourite lucky six who are then re-tweeted. As he has nearly 350,000 followers, this provides a massive boost to the chosen lucky businesses.
The benefits range from increased Twitter followers, to positive media publicity and crucially for many, increased sales! Of course, none of this is guaranteed as it is largely down to perseverance and hard work. A smidgen of luck comes in handy.

The stats

There have been 160, 000 tweets since January 2011
On average around 1, 090 tweets per week
750+ twitter users enter every week
960 winners to date
In May 2013, one person entered 160 times and did not win!
The Telegraph deemed Theo Paphitis to be number 50 in a list of the most influential tweeters

Why is being part of #SBS important?

Annual meet up for all winners
#SBS Trade shows 
Guest Speakers
#SBS Award and recognition
Specialist discounts
The opportunity to pitch for investment from the #SBS Angels
Ability to do business with a community of #SBS winners
Gain inspiration from other peoples success
A huge Small Business network available for support

The event itself

On arrival at the ICC, Birmingham - we made it to the Convention Hall and upon registering - we entered a huge area FULL of people!  A very exciting prospect indeed, a hall full of other businesses who have had similar experiences as you - as well as being fellow #SBS winners.

We networked at the beginning - talking to @neildigital and as many others as possible and then took our seats for the main event - Theo himself presenting and answering questions.

We chatted to another business sitting beside us @HolidayinBrecon who won only 2 weeks prior to the event!

Then the light dimmed and the music started, setting the feel for the day.

Once the music had stopped, Kypros Kyprianou took to the stage.  Kyp is not only the Director of Ryman, but also Theo's cousin.  

Kyp talked about the benefits if being a part of the #SBS family.  He explained how us Small Businesses should make the absolute most of opportunities such as #SBS, and seeing as much media attention and publicity as possible in order to get our brand recognised after all of the hard work that we have put in as business owners.  The respect that Kyp has for Theo shone through - proudly talking about his involvement in his businesses.

This recognition of all our hard work was very special.  Since setting up terptree, 7 years ago, I have worked extremely hard always with the interests of the deaf community at heart and to be invited to and event like this has really confirmed that all of the hard work was absolutely worth it!

We were then introduced to the Sponsors of #SBS 2013/2014:

RAC    ilaw     Ryman     DHL       bartercard

Kyp then introduced the 'main man' of the event - Mr Theo Paphitis and what a welcome he received.  The clapping and cheering continued well into him starting to speak.  This really showed the appreciation of the audience for being selected by Theo and being awarded with an #SBS Award.

He started by telling us about his business experiences; most recently taking on Robert Dyas earlier on this year and taking the business from losing £2m to now making a profit of £5m.  He explained that the previous Directors did not like to travel, hence the furthest store North in the UK being in Solihull!

Theo then went on to describe another one of his recent business - Boux Avenue, an International lingerie chain - which now has 21 stores in the UK, the most recent being established in Southampton - 4 stores abroad and 29 stores in the Middle East with even further plans of expansion on the cards.

He then told us about Ryman, his most longstanding current business, proudly annoucning that Ryman has increased business year on year even through a recession.

Just looking at his current credentials - he is clearly a guy who knows what he is talking about and his laid-back style certainly inspired the audience to feel that they too could be up on that stage one day talking of their business achievements.

Some of his advice was:

"Standing still is going backwards" and as Entrepreneurs we should always be looking for the next opportunity.

And that we should all be looking to "punch above our weight" and "be better than the average".

All sound advice from an expert who has done just that!

Theo talked about his involvements in Dragons Den and here are a few of the businesses that he invested in through his 8 years on the famous show:

Magic Whiteboard
Gear to go
Red letter days
Value my stuff
Shampoo heads
Wedge Welly

and many more....

His informal and relaxed presenting style made the whole audience feel at ease, enabling us all to feel comfortable and take in everything that he said.

He presented for around an hour, also allowing some time for Chris Wheeler from Metal Frog @metalfrogst (who we had a great catch up with afterwards) to tell us all about the enhancements that will  be made to the #SBS website.

Theo then allowed time for questions, the time getting later and later.  He did not seem to care that he was over time, he just wanted to make sure he could answer as many questions as possible.  It was clear that he was there for us, we were his priority and he would stand up on stage giving answers for as long as he needed to.  We were sitting on the second row from the front which enabled to be brave enough, stand up and ask a question about Boux Avenue!

Photo opportunity

After he had answered many questions as he could from the 1,000 strong audience, there was an opportunity to have my photo taken with Theo.  I stood in line, awaiting my turn, chatting to other winners along the way and then it was my turn!  I walked in to shot - Theo was extremely friendly and patient (which was amazing considering he would be involved in photos for around 2 hours!) and asked me how the day had been - which I responded it had been fantastic and thanked him very much, I had my photo (professional one to come later on) and then it was on to the next person.

We stood and watched others for a while and then met @squashedpixel who won #SBS on the same week as us - 6 May 2013 and also Kyp, Director of Ryman @kypros13 - discussing exciting future ideas and gaining his expert advice.

We also managed to meet another fellow Newbury #SBS winner which was an honour - Beckie at Occassional Assistants @OccAssistants - who had enjoyed the event as much as I did!

Well, after a very long, inspired experience - it was time to take the long (yes we got stuck in lots of traffic!) drive back to Newbury from Birmingham.

What an amazing day it was, great to meet so many like-minded businesses and get the buzz of being there to watch Theo Paphitis present - a once in a lifetime opportunity!

1 comment:

Coombe Mill said...

What a thorough review of the day, it makes me realise just how much I left out. It was amazing and like you the long journey was worth every minute.