Last week I was fortunate to be invited to Birmingham to spend the day with Theo Paphitis (ok it wasn’t just me, there were a few other businesses there too).

Theo spoke about the importance of small businesses to the economy and the strength of the community of small business owners he has created.  We also had a presentation by Google, listened to Theo interview Sir Tom Hunter about how he started a business selling trainers from the back of a van and met other small business owners.  Meeting and chatting to other small business owners was an unexpected bonus – we had a lot of fun!

The highlight of the day was having my photo taken with Theo Paphitis.  To be honest this was the only reason I trekked to Birmingham – 20 seconds with Theo Paphitis.  Being associated with such a well-respected businessman adds credibility to our business.  It sounds bonkers, but it is true.  It is the reason we have a pr strategy.  It makes business sense.

So, how did we get to spend the day with Theo (and a few hundred others) and that valued photo?  And how can you do it?

We entered #SBS and were chosen as a winner.  #SBS is a twitter “competition”.  You therefore need to be on twitter to enter.  I am, personally, not a huge fan of twitter – I find my clients don’t really hang out there.  But journalists do and it is therefore great for pr purposes (which gives your business credibility and therefore more customers).  It is not difficult to set up a twitter account and with a few posts and a bit of time following/getting followers you are good to go.  I wouldn’t advise setting up the account and just entering the #SBS – that doesn’t look credible.  You do need to do a few relevant business posts.

Then you can enter #SBS.  You need to follow @theopapitis and @rymanstationery on twitter.  Between 5pm and 7.30pm on a Sunday you need to tweet @theopaphitis about your business in 280 characters or less, adding the hashtag #SBS.  You can add a link to your website and an image (we recommend you do).  Only enter once each Sunday and ensure your spelling and grammar are correct.

You can schedule your tweet if you aren’t going to be on twitter then (or are worried you will forget).  Lots of businesses enter and therefore you will need to try a lot of times to succeed.  We probably tried over 30 times over the course of a year.

At 8pm each Monday Theo announces the six winners for that week and retweets their #SBS entry – to his 500,000 followers.  Your twitter feed will then go mad!!

In addition to this retweet and a trip to Birmingham (free – lunch was even included) to get that photo, you join a hallowed group of “#SBSwinner” who are associated with Theo Paphitis and get included in their business directory.  The photo is the most valuable though.

See you next February in Birmingham?

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