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Updated: Mar 7, 2020

Back in January 2018 @SerenityBJJ become an #SBS winner, a small business award from Theo Paphitis. An initiative Theo set up with Mrs P on Sunday evening October 8, 2010, in his kitchen to help give small businesses a boost. Every Sunday evening between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. small businesses are invited to tweet @TheoPaphitis regarding their business and include #SBS. Then on the following Monday evening at 8 p.m. Theo and his team choose their six favourite entries through a retweet. To date Theo has received over 370,000 entries with of applicants being successful! And Serenity Jiu Jitsu is one of 2,500 winners, which is less than 1% of entries.

So, what does it mean to be #SBS winner? At 8 p.m. on Monday entries will soon find out if they are a winner as your phone going crazy with retweets, congratulations and new followers. Winner have the opportunity to list their small business on Theo's SBS online directory. There's also a private Facebook group, or should I say community, where everyone shares best practice, offers advice and gives each other support and recognition. Every Tuesday between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. the #SBS online network comes to life with the #SBSwinnershour. Between this time use the hashtag #SBSwinnershour in every tweet to share it with the community and to try to get it trending ... quite often the #SBS community does get trending on Twitter. Outside of the allocated Twitter hour, as advised by fellow #SBS winner, Martin of Tweetmaster, don't forget to use the hashtag #SBS at any time as it'll increase the reach of the post. Outside from the #SBS products members follow one another across various social media platforms, interact with posts, recommend fellow winners and perform business with one another.

But what's the big thing that Theo does that no other Twitter competition/community does? Theo and his team and a community of volunteers hold an annual event for the #SBS winners every February to give the small business owners an opportunity to focus on growing their businesses and hearing from a variety of experts. This year Anne on behalf of Serenity Jiu Jitsu attended #SBSevent2019 with 800 fellow #SBS winners on February 12, 2019, at Birmingham's ICC, sponsored by DHL, Square, iLaw, Western Union, Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas, Hewlett Packard, Webroot and Autumn Fair. This is the second #SBS event Serenity Jiu Jitsu has had the pleasure of attending but this time it was definitely more relaxing as there were no nerves due to knowing what to expect. #SBSevent2019 had Webroot sharing their knowledge on cyber security, Raja Saggi from Head of SME Marketing at Google UK & Ireland and celebrated Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter on stage with Theo.

Prior to #SBSevent2019 Anne had the pleasure of designing her outfit for the event and gym apparel for Serenity Jiu Jitsu with fellow #SBS winner Mark and Rachel from ESO Personalise. On the morning of the event, over breakfast, Anne bumped into first time attendees Victoria and Mandy of Beauty Gallery Lavenham. Anne had also checked out fellow #SBS winner's Ginger Rainbow website after Amy recently followed our gym's twitter account. Anne soon spotted a Strength of the Bear card and had to purchase it ASAP. Amy agreed to meet up with Anne at #SBSevent2019 and is now the proud owner of the card.

Upon entering Anne collected her the name badge and programme events dressed in Serenity Jiu Jitsu performance wear beautifully designed by ESO Personalise intended so others would recognise Anne. At this point you've got to remember the community of small business owners only know each others Twitter handles or profile pictures let alone each others real name or what each other looks like. Anne headed over to the lime green 'Health and Fitness' small business table to make it easy to mingle and network with one another as well as have fun flexing and planking for photographs. Anne bumped into Lee of LDPT who brought along SM Fitness, met Zoiey of Acrocirque, W Fitness and Tabitha of Tabitha Yoga. Anne had the opportunity to catch up with Jon of Bury Canine Creche, who she'd met at #SBSevent2018 and bonded over who these sort of events pushed them both fully out of their comfort zones. If you love puppies and dogs do check out Bury Canine Creche's Instagram stories, they will bring a smile to your face. Anne also bumped into her Theo photo queue buddies Design Hive.

Theo took to the stage and invited Raja to tell us how to use Google to help small businesses. Anne has commenced the Google Digital Garage online learning, but Raja has definitely pushed her into getting it finished. But boy did Raja shock Anne into action. Raja explained that Goggle ranking is impacted by the speed of the website an the ideal speed is less than three seconds, after testing our website, especially our mobile site it's fair to say Serenity Jiu Jitsu's website needs watch this space for website improvements!

Tessa of Club Hub and Tessa's Jazz Hands, a children's activity directory arranged a group photo for #SBS winners listed on the directory. Here Anne met Allan of My Strawberry Monkey, Dreamee Teepees, Mum2Mum Market Brum and Glamavan with her iconic glitter eye. Anne even managed to squeeze in a Yorkshire and Northeast picture, even though she was the only north east representative there at the time of the photograph. Dylan of Aqua Design Group also arranged a photo with fellow Royal Connection #KingOf and #QueenOf winners from their weekly Twitter competition. Upon posing for the camera Joanna of Charms by Joanna awarded the winners with mini crowns.

After lunch we listened to an invigorating fireplace chat with Sir Tom Hunter and Theo touching on his businesses, former businesses ans charity work. Anne and I didn't realise Tom had connections to the North East where we are from, let alone where our martial arts gym is based!! Tom spoke about North Shields Keen Jeans and Newcastle! Needless to say Anne was brimming from ear to ear with pride.

After the fireplace chat the first time attendees joined the long queue to receive their converted photo and certificate with Theo. For Anne it meant a quick drop in to Pinpoint Marketing break out session on the importance of marketing. Upon finishing and collecting the sought after #SBS goody bag, Anne finally met some fellow #SBS North East business owners, Tweet Master and Simply Cheesecake, Simply Cheesecake brought along Hanging by a Fred with her too. And not forgetting a chat with Time to Float. Then finally the train journey back up North with Tweet Master and Chi Chi Cards UK.

Fantastic day, thanks Theo and team.

Click here for further information about Small Business Sunday

Chat with us on twitter. Fellow SBS winners we'll tweet with you on Tuesdays between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. during #SBSwinnershour.

Fancy entering #SBS and meeting us at #SBSevent2020? Tweet Theo using #SBS on Sundays between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Newspaper stories covering the #SBS win in the Evening Chronicle, News Guardian and the News Guardian again.

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