Explore Buxton is celebrating after scooping an award and receiving a social media shout out from business and retail entrepreneur Theo Pathitis. Businesses are asked to enter the competition by sending a Tweet to Theo during ‘Small Business Sunday’ and describing their business using the all important hashtag #SBS. Explore Buxton was chosen as a winner on 6th January 2019 and last week founder Jen Francis, attended the annual #sbs winners event in Birmingham where she collected the award.
“I’m thrilled we’ve been picked as a winner as I’ve been entering the competition for four years! When I checked Twitter and saw the 99+ notifications I realised we’d won! I couldn’t believe it after all this time.”
The weekly initiative, set up by Theo in 2010, has seen over 370,000 applications with less than 1% of entries chosen as winners. Small business champion and Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue Chairman, Theo Paphitis, said: “We are thrilled to welcome new #SBS members every week and highlight just how important it is to support our small businesses here in the UK. My vision is that everyone who has ever won an #SBS re-tweet from me becomes part of a friendly club; like-minded individuals who can share successes and learnings. The #sbs website will also give a valuable profile to the winners chosen and I wish Explore Buxton every success.”
The annual winners event, which is free to attend and now in its 7th year, is a highly anticipated day where winners can hear business advice from Theo and guest speakers, network, meet the sponsors and the important bit – collect their award and have their photograph taken with the man himself. Speakers this year included Scottish businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter, Raja Saggi Head of SME Marketing at Google and David Speed, previous #sbs winner and owner of Graffiti Life.
Winners are profiled on the #SBS website (theopaphitissbs.com) as well as getting access to a Facebook group and businesses can use the network to offer discounts and special deals to each other.
“Being part of the #SBS network is fantastic, you can connect with other winners on social media. The support and encouragement from Theo though is what is so valuable. One thing that stood out for me at the event was when Theo talked about common sense and to focus on what you’re good at. It sounds cheesy and a bit of a cliché but it’s true. Theo said good entrepreneurs aren’t risk takers; they take considered risks so they use their common sense first and foremost. It’s so true I think. Theo is hugely inspirational and how he is so keen to help small businesses is brilliant”.
What first started as a Facebook page 5 years ago, explorebuxton.co.uk now has a monthly audience of over 25,000 unique visitors and has become a leading online resource for the town’s events, what’s on and things to do – both for residents and visitors. “We’ll soon be launching our new website too which is exciting! With the Crescent due to open in Autumn, the redevelopment of the Pavilion Gardens and the Pump Room being the new visitor information centre, 2019 is going to be a fantastic year for Buxton.”
“Being self-employed isn’t easy. It can be lonely and although there’s a small team of us now at Explore Buxton, it’s nothing like working as an employee. The buck stops with you (or me rather) and there’s no comfort blanket of say a H.R department and no knocking off at 5 o’clock on the dot. The words of encouragement from Theo and the various speakers were phenomenal. If you’re just starting out in business, my advice is, when everything seems impossible and you come up against it or someone lets you down, get a cuppa, take a breather but don’t give up. If you have a good idea and it’s working, then it’s working for a reason, don’t lose faith!”
Anyone looking for a re‐tweet from Theo should tweet him (@TheoPaphitis) about their business on Sunday between 5pm and 7.30pm and include the hashtag #SBS. Six lucky businesses are re‐tweeted every Monday at 8pm and then invited to enter their profile on the #sbs website, attend the annual #SBS networking event and take advantage of the networking opportunities.
Find out more about Small Business Sunday (#sbs) and read winners’ blog posts at theopaphitissbs.com
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