This is an unexpected extra post to my planned posts, but I'm delighted to be writing it. Last night, I joined around 3,500 other small businesses in becoming a winner of Theo Paphitis' #SBS awards!
What is #SBS?
Theo Paphitis, ex-dragon of 'Dragon's Den' fame, is passionate about helping small businesses. Each week on a Sunday, between 5pm and 7.30pm, he invites all small businesses to either send him a tweet on Twitter, or a post on Instagram, that tells him a bit about their small business. The only criteria are that you explain your passion for what you do, that you have a business website, that you include image(s) or a video along with your message, and that you tag @theopaphitis and add the #SBS hashtag in your message.
Is it worth entering?
Aside from the benefits of winning, even the entering part is worthwhile.
I first entered #SBS around a decade ago! I have entered very sporadically since then, but in the last couple of months it became a bit of a mission of mine! If you're thinking of entering, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Just putting your tweet out there and tagging @theopaphitis with the hashtag #SBS means that it will be seen by anyone using the hashtag, and I have often received retweets and new followers just from entering.
Isn't it disheartening if you don't get chosen?
In the last couple of months, each time that I didn't win, admittedly I did feel disappointed for a few minutes each week BUT I am a stubborn moo, and not winning increased my determination to improve. I decided to change the image and wording of my entry again. It also motivated me into tweaking my website more and more, trying to view my business through his eyes, and to keep making improvements. Not winning helped me to improve my business, but that's not to say that I'm disappointed that I have won! The hard work continues from here, as it's down to each winner to make the most of the opportunity that it gives you.
Did anything help?
Yes. An increase in confidence.
Rachel Spencer, my social media coach ( www.publicityforpetbusinesses.co.uk ) has done wonders for my confidence in recent months, which has helped me to believe in my business, which led me to then decide to convince Theo Paphitis to believe in it too. Although I can be a stubborn moo sometimes (did I mention that?) and decided that this mission and work on it had to be mine alone, so didn't even share this mission with Rachel, without her confidence building I'm not sure that I would have been in mission mode in the last couple of months at all, so huge thanks must go to her for that. To other pet businesses reading this, I highly recommend Rachel's 'Pets Get Visible' coaching group. It's a lovely group of people and really helps you to get clarity and follow your chosen directions.
What are the chances of winning?
When #SBS had 6 winners a week on Twitter only, the estimated chance of winning was around 0.8%. That's likely to be lower now that 3 winners are chosen on Twitter and 3 on Instagram each week, BUT that means that if you don't win one week, it may simply be that your business hasn't been noticed on that week or that another business may have had the edge on how they presented themselves, so mix it up and try again. I know of 5 other people (including lovely Rachel!) who have won #SBS, and that helped spur me on as proof that it can and does happen!
So what are the benefits of winning?
Benefits of winning include Theo Paphitis retweeting your post on Twitter to his 488k followers. Or, if you enter on Instagram, it being shared with his 44k followers, so that your business is suddenly seen on a huge platform. In addition to this, you become part of the #SBS family, which is the large collection of other small business winners, where you can support and be supported by others who know the highs and lows of running a small business. Each winner is given a certified badge to display on social media and your website, which in this internet world of wariness is a huge boost of endorsement that you have won #SBS. The "jewel in the #SBS crown" is the #SBS winners event, held annually at the ICC in Birmingham, and is an opportunity for winners to meet Theo Paphitis, accept your official certificate, network with other winners, and to attend inspiring talks with guest speakers and events throughout the day.
Finally, ..here's my tweet...
@TheoPaphitis I’m Helen, founder of Scotty’s Cartoons, and I ‘Cater to all Calls for Canine Cartoons!’ My passion is for dogs and cartooning, so I combined the two to create my ideal job! I print and sublimate high quality glass, metal and slate cartoon-pressed products. #SBS