Well, the day finally came last week when I travelled to Birmingham to attend the #SBS Winners Event, and meet Theo himself! Excited doesn’t cover it! I was allowed to take a guest, and as hubby had to stay home looking after the kids (mwahahahaha), I choose my local friend and #SBS winner-in-waiting, Joy Bassett from AP Bassetts, Lostwitihiel (@apbassetts). Joy bravely decided to drive us there and we made it in good time to our hotel, The Hampton by Hilton, Broad Street.
Buggie was very comfy there.
I could go on and on here about our first night in Brum, suffice to say, we met up with wonderful Twitter friends and lots of squealing, eating and drinking ensued. We did manage to get to bed before 1am though….well some of us did,
Theo had graciously started the event at the lovely time of 11am, which meant a leisurely breakfast and stroll en-mass up the road towards the ICC, excitement building!
Walking in we saw the first sign, and yes, over-excitement got the better of me and I did a silly pose!
After collecting badges we wandered into the conference room and started right away to meet other #SBS winners, some of whom we ‘knew’ from Twitter, and plenty of new contacts too. It was wonderful to put faces to names! Trying to find each other was fun, but we soon saw that all the screens had the twitter feed for #SBSEvent2013 showing. So, what else would you expect, but everyone, standing in the same room, still tweeting furiously to each other, trying to find people. I had to laugh -it was the funniest thing, heads buried in phones everywhere! Mind you, I also HAD to see my own tweet up on that screen, so did a couple myself :0)
I soon found another way to find people, the shifty-over-someone’s-shoulder-look at their name badge (rather than the more embarrassing walk-right-up-looking-at-their-chest kind). Numbered tables around the room helped too of course. I did manage to find a few fellow Cornish businesses (of the 10 who have won #SBS since it began). Here are lovely Fiona from @CoombeMill and Karen from @JustBunting . I also saw @MrsCassieKemp from Cake Top Characters, and there’s a photo of us together somewhere.
The main event began with Kypros Kyprianou, CEO of Ryman Stationary, telling us about the new sponsors of #SBS. More sponsors have joined forces with Ryman to support this fab Small Businesses group. I had a seat quite far over to one side at this point and could see the main man – Mr. Paphitis – sliding about in the wings, having a sneaky peak at Kypros during his speech!
Then, on he came, to great applause from all of us.
I don’t think the grin left my face from start to finish to be honest, I must have looked a bit of a wally, though I suspect others may have done the same! Theo spoke with humour and honesty, and made us all feel 10 feet tall for getting the award. At one point he showed a short presentation of a few winner’s stories, and I was suddenly looking at the photo of me and the kids and newspaper headline which resulted from my Press Release when I won – cue the odd squeal from the audience, including me! Eeek that was a HUGE screen, and a HUGE surprise! I still have the music in my head too, it’s the one the used for the walking along the corridor slowly in Kill Bill! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJlu_xo79k8
We heard some exciting new developments for the #SBS family, including pending improvements to our very own website http://www.theopaphitissbs.com, run by fellow #SBS winner Chris Wheeler (@MetalsFrogst) and his team at Metal Frog Studios. Chris was brought on stage and gave us a run-down on the changes coming up – all of which were going to be done ‘Monday’ :0). Then came the main announcement from Theo; the arrival of the #SBS Angels. These are a group of successful business people, who were invested in by Theo via Dragon’s Den, coming together to choose one #SBS winner to receive a £50,000 investment. #SBS winners were invited to pitch to the #SBS Angels for this, in a Dragon’s Den style!
There was so much discussed, and I could go on and on. I think we were all struck by what a good speaker Theo is, and were very impressed with how long he took at the end of the presentation to answer questions from the audience (going way over the allocated time). Questions ranged from sensible to crazy, with continued golden nuggets of business advice from Mr. P throughout. He made one lady’s day with an on-the-spot decision to have the Buying Manager from his most recently acquired business, Robert Dyas, meet her to discuss featuring her British-Made cookware. This was prompted by her telling him she was banging down doors trying to spread the word of her products, but many places didn’t even bother to reply to her. When she said she had felt a bit shy asking a question, he responded with “I know, I noticed you put your hand up about four times and then put it down again”.
After this, we went straight into a huge queue to have our certificates presented and meet Theo. Every lady got out her make-up & mirror! So, here is an unofficial snap of my moment with Mr. P. Of course, Buggie made it into the picture too. Theo was pleased I brought him along!
We left, Rymans goody bags in hands, feeling buoyed up by being part of such a fantastic group. Members of #SBS have the benefit of advice from all sorts of different business people, from around the country, with expertise in a huge variety of areas. For me, relatively at the beginning of my journey, this is invaluable. The possibility of mentors offering their services to #SBS members is exciting, and this support is something most Small Business owners cannot find. I would advise anyone who has thought about entering #SBS (on a Sunday between 5 – 7.30pm on Twitter) to do it! Have a read of this http://www.theopaphitissbs.com/about/ to find out more. Twitter itself is a great network, and #SBS a wonderful group of people. Long may it continue to grow and inspire people – Thanks Theo!
#SBS Award-winning http://www.onestopbugshop.co.uk For the most fabulous Bug-Themed gifts, clothes & toys. Bright, fun & funky. Have a buzz around!!
<!– start LinkyTools script –><p><b>Powered by Linky Tools</b></p><p><a href=”http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=219498&type=thumbnail”>Click here</a> to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…</p><!– end LinkyTools script –>