Monday, 26 February 2018

The SBS Event 2018 with Theo Paphitis

On 23rd February 2018, Aye and I attended our 4th SBS event. 

To those who don't know, SBS stands for Small Business Sunday. It was started by Theo Paphitis after Sunday lunch. Theo always prepares for the week but getting things sorted on a Sunday afternoon. He thought to himself about all the small businesses doing the same and came up with a way to give them a small business boost. Just one tweet to him on a Sunday afternoon to say who they are and what they do and he would RT a few to the mass of his followers and so the SBS competition was born. 


You can find out how to become one of the SBS family by looking here: https://www.theopaphitissbs.com/about


One of the many benefits of being a SBS winner is a yearly event that is put on by Theo. Amazingly, this yearly event is free!! All thanks to these wonderful sponsors: Ryman, Robert Days  DHL, iLaw, Square, HP, 123 Reg and Western Union. 

I have written this blog as a reminder to myself of all the points that I learnt from the day, so it won't be a run down of the whole day rather just the key points that stuck out to me. I am also hoping it will be useful for other small business owners and those SBS winners who could not attend this year's event. 

Theo started off by saying how proud he is of the SBS members, he said it is a great, growing network and that we should make the most of it by finding common business themes between us all and support each other throughout our business journeys. 

2018 is a year that we should plan to make businesses: 

  • Fit for purpose
  • Fit for the future
  • Profitable
Ways that we can achieve the above, will be by being aware of the following:
  • The new GDPR regulations
  • Workplace pensions must be up and running
  • Living wage is increasing
  • Be efficient in all that you do
  • Use the SBS family- we are special and unique! Work together to be a support group to one another
  • Focus on your branding
  • Focus on your staff and your customers 
Steve Cheliotis, a leading brand consultant, then went on to share the importance of branding. A logo and name are important and show your identity but this is what brands really are....
  • A person's gut feeling about a business
  • Everything that a business does and doesn't do
  • What other people say about you when you are not in the room
Strong brands drive positive partnerships. Small businesses should be focusing on quality, reliability and distinction. To remain ahead of the game, businesses need to be evolving and relevant. 

Small businesses need to look at their customers, what motivates them, what are their needs, attitudes and beliefs. We need to understand our market and stand out in that market. 

It is important to present your brand in an emotive way, we need to show our passion and authenticity. 

Steve believes there are four key elements at the heart of business:
  • Purpose- what is our mission
  • Persona - our character and behaviour
  • Principles - our values and standards
  • Proposition - what do we have to offer, what problem are we solving
As small businesses we have so much to offer.... stand out, be bold! 

Another inspirational speaker that we heard from was John Roberts the founder of ao.com
He had a 'fireside' chat with Theo where they sat in a relaxed style discussing business, 

Theo asked questions and then the questions came from the SBS winners. 

John's tips were: 
  • Always give the best of yourself, give it everything you have
  • Culture and customer are everything - what problem are you solving?
  • Is the client getting a tangible benefit from your product/service?
  • Make the right decision, one that your grandma would be proud of!
  • Don't make the same mistake twice
  • Stick to what you are good at
  • Listen to your clients 
  • Monitor trends on google to stay ahead of the game
  • Don't be afraid to get things wrong, find a way, have a go
  • The best form of marketing is word of mouth
  • Be clear what you are about and how that makes a difference to your customers
  • Have a deep passion for what you do
  • You need to educate people about your service/product
  • Cash is king... businesses only go bust for 1 reason!
  • Focus on common sense!
  • You set the tone for your business
And a final word from Theo....

SBS is a success because there was a need, us small businesses need to inspire, support, congratulate, encourage, build up and guide each other.

Wow what a lot to take away and so much more than that as I am one of these people that writes notes, then gets so absorbed listening that I forget to keep going! But as you will see above I took away so much from an amazingly positive day! 

Finally, a few photos from the day.

Thanks for reading! 

Aye and Susan