Back in January 2018, 15th January 2018 to be precise, @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. Now that we are in 2020 it is now 10 years old!
But who is Mr Paphitis? In 2015 Theo launched Theo Paphitis Retail Group which encompasses Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas, Boux Avenue and London Graphic Centre, acquired in 2016. The combined group comprises over 330 stores and 4,000 employees who serve over 28 million customers a year. He was also Dragon on BBCs Dragon Den and is also a former chairman of Millwall Football Club.
Every Sunday, the business mogul and the self-confessed “shopkeeper", gives small but mighty gives businesses a helping hand. Sunday evenings between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. small businesses are invited to tweet @TheoPaphitis regarding why their business is better than the rest...don't forget to include the all important #SBS hashtag. 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 400,000 entries and Serenity Jiu Jitsu is one of 3,000 winners.
If you are one of the 1% of entries over the past ten years of the competition being active you will have the opportunity to list their small business on Theo's SBS online directory, join his private Facebook group and network the #SBSwinnershour every Tuesday between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
But what's the big thing that Theo does for small business owners 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 #SBSevent2020 with 800 fellow #SBS winners on February 28, 2020, at Birmingham's ICC, sponsored by Natwest, DHL, Square, iLaw, Western Union, Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas, Hewlett Packard, Webroot and Autumn Fair.
This is the third #SBS event Serenity Jiu Jitsu has had the pleasure of attending. These events always have Anne in a mixture of emotions - nervous, anxious, excited, overwhelming to name a few. Back in 2018 Anne collected our #SBS certificate, but now attends to network and listen to hints and tips for small businesses all while wearing Serenity Jiu Jitsu gym apparel made by fellow #SBS winner Mark and Rachel from ESO Personalise. Wearing branded kit to this event is such a great idea as it gets your brand out there...other #SBS winners are more likely to recognise you from your logo or your Twitter feed than your face or name given we only really see other in person once a year and normally chat by clicking the keys on our laptops.
Anne had the opportunity to catch up with Jon of Camp Tails Doggy Daycare, who she's met at #SBSevent2018 and #SBSevent2019 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 their Instagram stories, they will bring a smile to your face. Bumped into Dylan of Aqua Design Group also arranged a photo with fellow Royal Connection #KingOf and #QueenOf winners from their weekly Twitter competition. #SBSevent2020 had a fireside chat with Crafting Queen Sara Davies (the youngest Dragon), a mental health in the workplace update from Mind, an insight into how LinkedIn can grow small businesses, learnt all about Google Digital Garage and Natwest's Entrepreneur Accelerated Program. Fantastic day, thanks Theo and SBS crew.
Click here for further information about Small Business Sunday