What is #SBS?
Back in 2011 I was one of the lucky six chosen by Theo Paphitis as his favoured small business of the week. This placed me in the Small Business Sunday club which Theo heads and is designed to give friendly boost from a man respected in the business world. There is a web site for members packed with helpful advice and information and a family of members who are a great support.
Photo from 2012 Conference
Annual Conference for #SBS
Last week I made the journey from Cornwall to the ICC in Birmingham for the 2nd ever #sbs conference. I knew it was one I had to attend after I came home from the first eighteen months ago full of ideas and enthusiasm for Coombe Mill. This time was bigger and better, not only were there more people who have joined the #sbs family, but the planning and delivery of the day had stepped up a gear too. Theo Paphitis is the most inspirational speaker who can inspire with a message straight from the heart and talk with authority from first hand experience. There were opportunities oozing for all us small business owners within the scheme, a huge question and answer session and a raft of new #sbs sponsors to make the whole day possible. I managed to wave my arm high enough and ask a question to see what we could expect from Theo on TV now that he is no longer part of Dragons Den. It sounds like watch this space as he could be popping up shortly though he wasn't giving away when or where!
To anyone with a fledgling business, a small family business or a business who just feels they need a little spark and helping hand to lift them a peg or two, then I can't recommend enough trying to enter for #sbs accreditation. It costs nothing to enter and there is everything to gain. Details are all here on the sbs website. The moment when my tweet came back is one I will never forget.
Networking: Friends old and new
Small businesses covering services and products were represented by the hundreds present on the day. The networking sessions were a great chance to find out more about other people's businesses, challenges, struggles and successes and learn from one another.
Catching up with friends I met last time like Sarah from Silver Birch Crafts, John from The Bedsite.ie, Kim from Welsh Royal Crystal, Katie from Little Big Sports and Red Herring Games was wonderful; a chance to exchange news and business updates.
Meeting people who I have been tweeting with for ages is always a delight, especially Aycin from B Organic Skin, Joanne from Charlie Moos, Mon and Maria from Sincerity Gifts and Mystic Moon.
For me it was a real bonus to discover people with businesses alighted to my blog who I hope to work with in the future like Aly from The Rainy Day Box Company and Jennifer from Skribbies, both of whom have great products for children.
I discovered a whole crowd from Cornwall: Karen from Just Bunting and Helen from Fenteroon cottages my travelling companions, Cassie from Cake Top Characters, Sian from The One Stop Bug Shop and Joy from A P Bassett Solicitors. Great to spend time with them all and a follow up Coombe Mill cake and coffee business meeting is in the pipeline.
Others Who I met included Katherine from My wonderful Little Designs, Liz from Allergy Aware Kitchen but there are always so many with these events who you really want to find but somehow miss on the day. Georgina from Gem Writing, Allison from Allison Franks d/m I was so sorry to miss you and so many others I am now tweeting with.
Just for fun
Travelling to Birmingham and back in a day is just too much from Cornwall so I travelled with Karen from Just Bunting and Helen from Fenteroon Cottages the day before. Meeting up with Aycin from B-organic Skin we took advantage of a little shopping in Birmingham and a night out on the town. It really is a beautiful City and thank you ladies for some excellent company, next year I will have you ice skating not just watching and admiring!
The whole trip was quite exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable and I hope to be able to do it all again next year. A huge thanks Theo, his team and the sponsor companies for setting up the day, providing a lovely buffet and all without charging anyone to attend. This level of generosity is really special and so appreciated. My Final thanks goes to Boden Clothing who sponsored my lovely dress for the day, beats my farm gear any day!
I have set this post up as a blog hop in case anyone one else has a post from the day. Just add your post and grab the code this way we can all read each others take on the day and I can see just how many lovely people I managed to miss!