On Sunday 25th March I was privileged to be chosen by Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis to receive one of his #SBS (Small Business
Sunday) awards. It has been a roller coaster ride but one I wouldn’t have missed for the world! On Friday 30th March I went along to the inaugural event held my Mr. Paphitis and Rymans and this is my blog about my experience:
Friday 30th March - the day had arrived to go and meet a dragon! To say I was excited was an understatement but I was also a little nervous as nobody knew what to expect.
I travelled up to Edgbaston with the lovely Amanda a.k.a @CrecheonLocatio (www.crecheonlocation.co.uk) and her husband Damian who were kind enough to drive. We were having a relatively smooth journey until we hit the M40 junction of the M25 when we saw the big red X signs for closure –aaaah! So, we quickly decided to carry on along the M25 & figure out our new route plan. Between the SatNav & our smart phones (what on earth did we do before these were invented?!) we found an alternative route –phew!
At just before 12pm we arrived at the stadium and as we pulled into the car park we saw the ‘Theomobile’ and everything started to feel much more real! Me, yes me, was off to see a Dragon!
We entered the building and everything was being handled brilliantly by the team from Rymans, we got our badges and off we went to the waiting area. Now the nerves really started to kick in!
It was the strangest feeling walking into a room full of ‘strangers’ I say strangers because even though I tweet a LOT and often daily with a fair few people who were in the room I didn’t have a clue what most of them looked like! It really was surreal! So you would find yourself looking at badges and thinking 'oh yes, I know you'! I was on a mission to find Kim from @WelshRoyalCryst and Nici from @WoodandWillow1 - eventually we tracked each other down and it really was like meeting old friends!
Whilst we mingled the main man walked past as he headed towards the conference room, he was such a gent and stopped and chatted with people and shook hands. All of a sudden everything felt very real!
So now, the moment everyone had been waiting for had arrived and we were all ushered into the conference room. We all took our seats whilst the Black Eyed Peas track ‘I gotta feeling’ blasted over the stereo. Theo's live tweet feed was being shown on the big screen and everyone was tweeting him to see if they could get their's seen - I was always just a bit too slow!
We were welcomed to the event by the lovely Kypros Kyprianou the CEO of Rymans and he spoke of how excited he was support the #SBS event and then he welcomed the man we were all waiting to see Mr. Theo Paphitis.
Theo didn’t not let us down in the slightest! He spoke honestly about why he had started #SBS, why he felt passionate about inspiring other small businesses and wanting to share ‘some of his luck’ to help us move our businesses forward. He joked about how we all shamelessly wrote press releases name dropping him and he said ‘I love it, that is why I started this whole thing in the first place’ He then introduced us to the brand new #SBS website and there all of sudden, I was on the big screen! I had known about the new site for about 3 days but had been sworn to secrecy by the development team and people at Rymans. Anyone who knows me would have known how hard I found that! Theo then made all of us last 6 winners stand up! *crimson moment for me!*
Theo then introduced Chris from Metal Frog (the #SBS website design team) and he talked us through all the functions on the site, which is truly amazing, Chris and his team have done a fantastic job!
The tables were then turned and Theo wanted to hear from us about what we wanted from the #SBS website and in the future, people came up with some fantastic suggestions and you could tell Theo really was taking everything on board.
Even after a nearly epic 3hrs on stage, Theo then made sure we all got the opportunity to have our photo taken with him & that famous smile never faltered!
I can genuinely say that the whole experience was amazing! It really has lit a fire within me to drive not only my business forward but I am
also now looking at other ventures too – so watch out Theo I may be after a seat in the den soon ;o)
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