Winning #SBS is just the start for us #SBS winners, it's certainly not the end!
I was lucky enough to win in 2012 and was able to attend the first #SBS event, where Theo revealed that he didn't just pick winners at random, as many people might believe, but rather there was a lot of checks and balances in place. He saw a tweet which caught his eye, researched the company and only re-tweeted those companies who he felt were worthy of his recognition and support and who he felt would make the most of the opportunity provided to use the leverage hsi recognition gave to take the business to the next level.
Well, that's great – obviously! Everyone who's won #SBS did so because they were seen to be going places – but where are we all going exactly?
Over the years there've been a few SBS business closures, but many, many more successes. Since winning SBS we ourselves have moved from a 1 1/2 woman band operating from the loft of my house, into office premises with 4 members of staff, and the business itself has grown from just business to consumer retail, into covering both event management and trade.
Not that life has been easy, or that we've had some "behind the scenes support from the big man himself." (I wish!) These last few years have been tough and brought continual challenges of their own which we've had to weather as a small business.
Winning #SBS isn't about getting cash, if you're in it for the money – give up now! #SBS is not like Dragons Den with investment and mentoring – it's about motivating the small business owner to make the best of things that they can, to encourage them to really strive to reach the next level in their business, to give them the endorsement from a celebrity businessman which means they can step with confidence as they go to meet their buyers. Winning #SBS is the recognition to say "we did this!" and to have confidence that we can all do more and better.
But… winning #SBS itself doesn't stop with a winning retweet. While Theo might not have any direct involvement with the companies he's endorsed this way day to day – we aren't simply abandoned to our fates and left to blow with the wind. Winning opens up a massive group of supportive small businesses in a similar situation. People who know the pitfalls, who've tried things already so you don't need to fall into the same traps, small business owners who, like you, have wondered where the money for the next bill is going to come from, who've scrimped and saved to keep the family afloat while growing their company, who've taken leaps of faith, who've hit brick walls, and who've strived all by themselves late into the night just trying to make ends meet for the VAT return. There's a website where we all share ideas, facebook forums, twitter conversations and the #SBS conference. All of which are FREE to winning small businesses, and invaluable!
At the last #SBS conference we learned that all millionaires started out small with ideas and not a lot of capital. In other words – everyone who is anyone starts as a small business. Everyone on stage with Theo this year owned multi-million pound businesses, but they'd all started out from an office at home, with a car full of stock or a head full of ideas. None of them had large pots of money funding their start up, and all of them worked hard to create their own "luck" in business.
"The first million is the hardest", Theo told us all this year. Well, I'm sure I'm not the only one waiting for that first million milestone…
Many of us launched during the reccession, or have weathered it since winning… so the question is – now that the economy is back "on the up" which of us will get there first?
Race you! Ready… get set… go.