by Hannah Johnstone, Pink Spaghetti Mole Valley, Reigate & Epsom
On the evening of Sunday 11th March 2017, I sent a Tweet to Theo Paphitis telling him about my new business, Pink Spaghetti Mole Valley, Reigate and Epsom. 24 hours later he retweeted my message to his thousands of followers and my phone didn’t stop buzzing until I ran out of battery. I’d made loads of new connections, chatted to other small businesses online and grown my Twitter following substantially overnight. Winning SBS provides access to the website with online networking and multiple opportunities to show people what you are about.
A year later I have a thriving business and an employee to boot! This year I was fortunate enough to be able to take my employee, Amy, to Theo’s SBS winners’ event in Birmingham. This is an annual event held for the 0.68% of applicants who win, which is now around 2,000 small businesses!
On Friday 23rd February 2018 we made our way by train from Surrey to Birmingham and went straight in to register for the event. Kypros Kyprianou, CEO of the Theo Paphitis Retail Group kicked off the event on the main stage. The event was not just attended by small businesses. Theo himself was there and gave us all some tips on how to succeed.
There was plenty of time to network and meet other businesses, from jewellery makers to illustrators, the variety of businesses who attended from across the country was amazing. We even had time to have a go at a few games, including a Crystal Maze style wind tube! Unfortunately, we didn’t make the leaderboard, best stick to being a PA!
After Lunch Theo had a ‘fireside chat’ with the founder of ao.com John Roberts who explained how he grew his company to turnover of over 1bn a year. The whole event was free, thanks to the kind sponsors Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas, Western Union, Square, HP, DHL, 123 Reg and iLaw, who were all on hand to have a chat and provide advice and special offers to the winners.
The day concluded with an opportunity to meet Theo, who presented me with our certificate. We had a photo together, then it was time to get our goodie bag before the event closed. It was the best goodie bag I’ve ever come across! There were offers for services from the sponsors, obviously, there was some stationery, and I even got an espresso cup!
It was then time to say our goodbyes and head off on the train journey back to Surrey. One wrong train later, (one stop away from home!) We’d made it back and I, for one, was ready for bed!
Now I’m armed with my pink SBS branded notepad and lots of fresh ideas, what’s next for Pink Spaghetti, Mole Valley, Reigate and Epsom? Well, I’m due to have another baby in the next couple of months. I’m going to take some time off with my family and all of my clients, new and not so new, will be wonderfully looked after by Amy and the Pink Spaghetti team who will be on hand with their specialist skills to be the 25th hour of their day. I definitely could not have said that if I was not supported by such wonderful people within the franchise or without my amazing clients. Nor would I have the confidence to grow as I have without meeting so many amazing businesses along the way, with special thanks to the opportunities and insights winning SBS has provided to me.
If you are interested in getting involved in SBS then send a Tweet to @TheoPaphitis about your business on a Sunday evening between 5 pm and 7:30 pm. There are some rules, which can be found here. It’s an amazing opportunity for any small business and should not be missed!