Small Business Saturday Blog

Making our own kind of music at the Blue Tie Ball

Thursday, September 13 at 23:20

Last night Small Business Saturday celebrated this year's SmallBiz100 at our annual Blue Tie Ball, which took place in London at the Phoenix Arts Club, itself a previous SmallBiz100.
We were delighted to host nearly 250 SmallBiz100 attendees, who enjoyed blue cocktails and canapes as well as some truly amazing entertainment provided by the Phoenix Arts Club.
The Francesca Kemp Award for Small Business is awarded at the annual Blue Tie event in memory of Fran, whose business, Crafty Revolution, was one of our SmallBiz100 in 2014. Sadly Fran passed away from cancer in 2015, so we hold this event and give this award once a year in her memory. As she would have wanted, this is a big celebration.
Congratulations once again to Craig Beaumont, Director of External Affairs and Advocacy at the Federation of Small Businesses, who was the recipient of the award this year. Craig has worked with Small Business Saturday both in his role at FSB and in his spare time since the campaign launched in 2013. Craig has sat on the Small Business Saturday Advisory Board since 2015 and plays a key role in engaging the small business sector in the campaign across the UK. Craig has encouraged and supported many small businesses in applying for the SmallBiz100 and personally works on promoting FSB members and non members to get them the recognition he believes they deserve. Craig is a strong advocate for small business with government and in the press and is a leading voice in campaigning for diversity and support for mental health in small businesses.
The theme for this year's event was "Make Your Own Kind of Music" and of course there was plenty of blue in evidence as well as the fantastic cocktails!
We were delighted that so many SmallBiz100 past and present were able to join us. Many thanks to the Phoenix Art Club and everyone else who worked so hard to make the event such a resounding success.

How to guest blog (and look like you know what you’re doing)

Thursday, September 06 at 09:47

Guest blogging? It’s as easy as 123

The 4 simple steps to success in guest blogging

Guest blogging is simply writing blog posts that appear in other people’s blogs. Like so much in life, there are ways to guest blog successfully, and ways to get it wrong.

Why Should I Guest Blog?

Guest blogging helps you spread your word and expertise to a new audience; learning about what you have to offer will hopefully prompt a new audience to check you out. It also helps grow your recognition and reputation, connects you to worthy bloggers and increases opportunities for further guest blogging.
It’s a great way to push focus launches or products and add new members to your mailing list. It could otherwise take months to expand your coverage to the range you’ll achieve with guest blogging.
Some experts say guest blogging boosts your SEO performance by building links to your site; others disagree. In any case, linking back to your site makes good sense. Just direct your readers to relevant landing pages that respond to their interest.

How Can I Become a Guest Blogger?

There’s no mystery to becoming a successful guest blogger; just dedication, planning and a bit of hard work.
Step 1: Find suitable blogs to work with.
You could use a search engine to find strongly indexing blogs relevant to your topic or check out social media accounts in your niche to partner with. Digging around in the comments section of blogs you already follow could prove fruitful - are there subscribers there with blogs you could feature in?
Step 2: Choose your guest blog topic
The success of your post depends on your topic. Review the best-running articles from the recent past – using the volume of shares and comments as a guide. Use this selection to choose a topic that is interesting or relevant.
Step 3: Approach the blogger you want to work with.
It’s best to build a personal connection face to face, so use networking events, seminars and training sessions to your advantage. But as time and geography make real-life connections tricky you need a back-up!
First things first - before contacting a blogger, review their guest post guidelines. If they’re too restrictive for your liking, pass on and find someone else.
Contacting via email or website contact form works best. Because it’s a direct approach you’ll cut through direct to their inbox. I prefer to send a completed post to a blogger with my application. Not all guest posting guidelines suggest this – some just want a post outline.
If your potential host doesn’t think you’re the right fit, don’t worry. Either approach someone else (adapting your post to meet their guidelines) or simply publish the post on your own blog.
Step 4: Make the guest blog post work for you.
You may have finished your article, but the work isn’t over. Successful guest blogging depends on optimising the finer details.
  • Include a strong author bio with a clear call to action. Mention products or services you’re currently marketing and use the call to action to encourage people to get your freebie and sign up for your newsletter. 
  • Include your social media accounts to drive your follower count and social media growth. 
  • Post links back to your own content in a way that feels natural and fits the flow of the article. If your host doesn’t permit this (many don’t), limit links to your author bio.
  • Adapt your website to benefit from the guest blog. This might be setting up a dedicated landing page, creating a specific data capture form, or even just tweaking some your site’s content so it’s 100% relevant to your new visitors.
  • Join the conversation! Make sure you respond to comments on your article. This is your chance to connect with a new audience.

What does Successful Guest Blogging Look Like?

Success means different things to different people – so be clear on what you want to achieve. There are direct effects, and indirect effects.
The direct effects of guest blogging are easier to measure - the number of social shares, comments, number of sign-ups or sales or referral traffic. Indirectly, you may see your followers increase, improve your search engine ranking, and improve your brand awareness.
Are results below expectations? There may be several factors. Perhaps the blog had a smaller audience than expected or your topic didn’t resonate with the audience. Was your call to action strong enough? How well did your landing page convert? Take the time to review your post and consider improvements for future guest posts.
Guest blogging can help you expand your influence, attract new audiences and raise your profile. Who knows, in time perhaps your blog will attract guest bloggers of your own?
What are your secrets for successful guest blogging?
Jennifer Corcoran is the CEO and Founder of My Super Connector, a social media consultancy. A LinkedIn specialist, Jennifer helps entrepreneurs and professionals to polish up their LinkedIn profiles and connect with finesse. Jennifer is also the host of LinkedIn Local Croydon.

How to market your small business on a budget

Thursday, August 23 at 08:29

As a small business owner, you will have many draws on your purse strings. If you sell products, there are raw materials or wholesale products to buy. If you sell services, you may be investing in your training or outsourcing your invoicing and book keeping. One way of keeping your costs down, is learning how to market your business on a shoestring
We all need to market our businesses in order to make sales. 
One of the best ways to market your business on a low budget is to invest your time in learning how to use social media to market online. You CAN reach your audience on social media without spending on advertising, you just need to be strategic about it.
So where do you start with strategy?
Firstly you should identify who is your ideal client. We cannot market to everyone. If you try to market your business to everyone, you will connect with no one. Take photography as an example. If you are a wedding photographer, you will want to reach brides to be, so your marketing message will be aimed at a particular segment of the population (in fact, you may be using Meghan “Sparkle” in your marketing right now!). If you are a professional headshot photographer, your ideal clients will be those in corporate roles or small business owners who need images for their websites and LinkedIn profiles, so your marketing message will not be Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, but is more likely to be something to attract your corporate/small business clients. 
As your potential client, if I am looking for someone to take a new headshot for my website, and I am faced with three potential photographers locally – wedding photographer, corporate photographer or ‘general’ photographer – which one do you think I am most likely to get in touch with?
Choose your social media platforms
Once you have identified who your ideal client is, it becomes much easier to market to them. You can choose which social media platform your audience is hanging out online on. 
For example, are they corporates or professionals on LinkedIn? Maybe you want to reach B2B clients on Twitter. Your younger clients may be on Instagram or Snapchat. Decide which platforms you are going to focus on. Choose maximum of two to start with.
Be Engaging
Once you start using social media and using marketing material that is aimed at your ideal client, you want to get engaging with your audience. One way to do this is to ask them questions. Think of their pain points and turn those into a question.
For example: When was the last time you updated your profile pic for LinkedIn?
a) Never
b) I don’t have a profile pic
c) Every year
The idea is to bring people out to comment on your posts. People love to get asked their opinions, and every time someone comments on your social media posts, the ‘algorithm’ loves it, and shows your marketing material to more people. Win win!
This is just one idea for how you can increase engagement on your social media platforms. If you would like 30 more, sign up for my 30 Day Social Media challenge!About the author: Louise Brogan is founder of Social Be NIFor more info, see https://socialbeeni.com/

Top summer marketing tips!

Wednesday, August 15 at 17:02

Summer is now well and truly upon us — and what a summer it’s turning out to be! This season can bring booming sales or a challenging slump depending on the type of business you run. But whichever category you fall into, it offers a unique opportunity to approach your marketing with extra creativity. Here are some ideas from our friends at Square to help you use the great British summertime to the full.
Do something for the kids
The school summer holidays can be a testing time for parents, so they’ll be seeking out activities to keep the kids occupied. To lure them to your business, you could host kids’ entertainment like storytellers, a bouncy castle or a simple setup with pencils, paper and puzzles. As much as this entertainment is for the little people, you’re providing respite for mums and dads too, so use the opportunity to make them aware of your products — cafés can have summer mocktails on standby, salons can give discounted treatments and shops can simply offer the relaxation of being able to browse without distraction.
Collaborate with other businesses
All kinds of businesses experience a dip in footfall and sales through the summer, so why not club together and pool your marketing efforts with someone else? You could set up a product stand in each other’s stores, or run a joint social media campaign to highlight summertime offers.
Before you choose someone to partner with, ask yourself these questions:
Is there any risk of competition?
Do they share my company’s values?
How much exposure and extra business can they help me get?
If it’s a good fit, get the details down in writing to make sure everything happens fairly.
Create an ‘awareness day’ event
With businesses competing for attention through the summer, this is a time to avoid generic events and draw people in with something more imaginative. August and September are packed with awareness days that can be used to inspire an event fun and memorable, such as:
International Vulture Awareness Day - September 1
Roald Dahl Day - September 13
Whatever your theme, cater for the tastes of a sun-hungry summer crowd. Dress up your shop front with bright colours, theme your dishes and definitely use your outdoor space if you have one.
The added benefit of theming your event around an awareness day is that you can tap into the wider marketing activity taking place. This could be as simple as using relevant social media hashtags throughout your promotion.
Run flash discounts
Discounts are a tried and tested method of incentivising people to buy your products. During the summer lull, it’s time to think outside the box and use the power of the moment to drive business. As an example, the British summertime is notoriously unpredictable, and for a tea room that serves hearty, homely cuisine (not typically a summertime favourite), those unexpected rainy days are an opportunity to offer catchy discounts to drive footfall. To create a sense of urgency, post a tasty-looking photo on social media and let people know how little time they have left to catch the discount.
Change your opening hours
As the seasons change, so too do customers’ buying habits and the business approach you should adopt. You may find it better to open and close later in the summer as people spend more time outside and stay out longer in the evening. In other cases, an earlier start might be work best. Online tools like Square Analytics enable you to see what you’re selling when, on which days and whether new or existing customers create most of your sales. With this insight, you can make informed decisions about how to work with people’s changing schedules and tastes.
Open a pop-up
When the crowds don’t come to you, it’s time to go to them. Pop-up shops work really well for cafés, barbers and boutiques. And one that’s planned well could make up for the potential loss you’d otherwise make in your bricks-and-mortar location through the summer. It also gives you a chance to specialise your offering for the summertime crowd, or even try a new summer-themed idea that you’ve been mulling over. Start with some research before settling on a concept. Your idea needs to stand out from the competition out on the street, and you need to be familiar with the tastes of the audience who eat there.
Give out freebies
You can use the power of freebies to keep your brand front of mind through the summer lull. Invite passersby in from the heat to enjoy an ice-cold glass of coconut water whilst perusing your clothing lines. Or offer a refreshing facial spritz and sunscreen to sunbathers in the park, using that moment to tell them about your business. Keep your freebies themed around summer — what do people crave at this time of year that can be used to draw them in?
It’s important to have clear goals when you’re giving things away. Who are you targeting and what would you like them to do in return for their freebie? Don’t approach anyone and everyone. And if it’s not possible to make an instant sale, think of other goals such as getting them to sign up to your mailing list.
Take a break
There can be a temptation as a small business owner to sacrifice any time off, causing all kinds of setbacks in the short and long-term. If the summer period really is that bad for revenue, it’s probably the best time for you to recoup and plan ahead. Enjoy the opportunity to step back and get a bird’s-eye-view your company. You could use it to get your finances in order, start a company blog to increase awareness or plan a seasonal marketing campaign for your peak season. Achieving growth isn’t always about knuckling down and grafting — sometimes it’s about getting to know your business better, and ensuring you have everything you need for the future.
Check out Square  for more small business tips

Purposely: embedding purpose into the heart of your small business

Thursday, August 09 at 08:30

Purposely is a new online tool which helps businesses embed their purpose into their company articles.
The tool is a response to the government’s Mission-Led Business Review, which found that few companies realise they're legally able to do this. Purposely was designed and created by UnLtd, in partnership with law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite, and with strategic support from the government.
A fifth of small businesses operate with a social or environmental mission in mind
There are many entrepreneurs, ranging from café owners to manufacturers, who set up their business not only for profit but also to deliver wider benefits to society. They run their businesses with a strong sense of purpose. For example, this purpose might be to provide valuable products, services or jobs for local people; to be the most innovative company in its sector; or to provide affordable housing.
You might be one of them: 22% of UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have a particular social or environmental goal – that means over 1.2 million enterprises. Purpose-driven businesses are estimated to represent over 4% of the economy, with a combined turnover of £165 billion.
It matters what’s in your company articles
Most start-ups are unaware that company law already allows them to put purpose into the DNA of their business – in their company articles. Embedding purpose in this way has a profound impact. It allows founders to fundamentally redefine success for their business.
You can put the interests of employees, beneficiaries or other stakeholders on a par with, or even ahead of, shareholders’ financial interests. Specifying a purpose alongside or beyond profit places a duty on directors to take decisions in line with that purpose. It represents an unambiguous commitment and underpins authenticity for internal and external stakeholders. It helps a company to encourage a set of cultures and behaviours that matter to you as the founder.
This is a brilliant, but so far underused, opportunity. Even the few founders who are aware of this flexibility in company law find it costly and time-consuming to create bespoke articles.
To make things simpler, we created Purposely: a free and simple-to-use online tool that helps you incorporate your purpose into your articles. You will be prompted to think about your company’s purpose and how you would like to build it into your business. Based on your responses, you will be presented with amended company articles suited to you. If you decide to adopt these, you can then submit them to Companies House.
Purposely helps you secure your legacy
Purposely caters for founders of private limited companies. You're likely to be at a relatively early stage – up to three years old – but might also be at the point of incorporation or more established.
Purposely is for you if you want to secure your legacy: if you are concerned about what would happen to the ethos of your small business if you stepped down. Or if you are thinking of scaling up and want to make sure you find the right kind of investors – those, who know what they are buying into and accept that your values are integral to your business.
Find out more about why and how to incorporate your company’s purpose at www.getpurpose.ly.

A ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ for Britain’s small businesses

Thursday, August 02 at 09:00

“How much is that doggie in the window?” asks the famous song. Well the answer could be worth up to almost £60 million.
Small business income across the UK has been boosted by as much as £59.7 million thanks to store owners keeping a dog on the premises, with 36 per cent of shoppers saying they’d be more likely to shop in a retailer with a pet.
Research from American Express found that eight million consumers would spend an average of 13 minutes extra in store and almost £7 more on average with a retailer if there was a pet present.
This overwhelmingly positive reaction lasts far beyond a single shopping trip, with two-thirds of customers saying that they would be more likely to return to a business that made them smile, and just over one in five saying they would mention a company on social media if they have a pet. Just under a third said they’d be more inclined to take the time to talk to the staff of a small shop that has a pet.
In the lead up to Small Business Saturday this December, the SmallBiz100 will be announced this month to celebrate the UK’s small business superstars, and one of the 2016 cohort - The Pet Shed in Brighton - provides not just pet care products, but an extra treat for store visitors: “We may not sell pets like some of the big chains, but our dog Bourbon is definitely one of the reasons people come back to us time and time again,” says owner Hannah James.
“From day one Bourbon drew people into the shop. She gets daily visitors and has a bit of a reputation in the area - particularly with the local school kids - who in turn bring their parents along to see her.”
There are demonstrable benefits for staff as well as consumers, with more than a third of dog owners saying that having a dog nearby at work increases their productivity, while almost half of respondents believe they are more efficient during working hours when they have taken their dog for a walk.
Alison Edgar, managing director of training consultant Sales Coaching Solutions, and another alum of the SmallBiz100, says that a dog is vital for her working environment: “We would not be without our office dog, Hovis. He is always happy and greets us with a wagging tail. Even when not everything in our small business is going to plan, he manages to cheer everyone up.”
Ahead of Small Business Saturday it’s vital for communities to support their local stores, regardless of what draws them in. But with the benefits for both staff and consumers that having a ‘doggie in the window’ brings, we say to all small business owners, you’d be barking mad to not consider it.

Your iDEA Award questions answered!

Thursday, July 26 at 08:30

We recently launched our fantastic partnership with iDEA Award, which is backed by the Duke of York and which delivers free expert online training to small businesses across the UK. Last week we hosted a Twitter Q&A with iDEA Award to answer any questions that you may have.
Hello iDEA Award! First up – tell us a bit about the Award.
  • Great to be here! iDEA.org.uk helps people develop digital and enterprise skills for free. We have bite-size learning modules which are fun and informative across a range of topics from growth hacking to CRM to staying safe online and setting up on social media.
How did iDEA Award get started? What inspired you to launch?
  • We wanted to help enrich the talent pipeline and inspire people to grow in confidence with the digital world. Our home and working lives are powered by tech, so it’s increasingly vital to develop digital skills and confidence to flourish. For businesses, it’s critical.
  • We launched the Bronze (beginner) Award last year and the Silver (intermediate) Award is coming soon. The free online modules each carry points which add up to an industry-endorsed Award. Categories include Citizen, Worker, Maker, Entrepreneur and Gamer. You can pick’n’mix.
Is the iDEA Award open to everyone? Can any small business take part? 
  • Yes! iDEA is free and flexible to use. Everyone is welcome. You can squeeze learning into your lunch hour and/or help your staff develop skills, knowledge and information to enhance productivity. We have students, apprentices, job seekers, workers and pensioners using iDEA.
What sort of things can small businesses learn from the badges on the iDEA Award?
  • How to use social media to find routes to market; digital ethics and hints for using digital media; techniques to optimise your digital research skills; tips for making the most of your team; and useful stuff like making websites, using graphic design and understanding GDPR.
We are super excited for the opportunities for small businesses! How have entrepreneurs benefited from the iDEA Award in the past?
  • And we are excited to help! You can be a subject expert and come up with a fantastic product or service, but still lack knowledge, experience and confidence when it comes to operating in the digital world. iDEA helps you gain confidence and skills which can be transformative.
How can it help my business?
  • iDEA can help you and your staff gain confidence, skills, knowledge and information. You will learn tips and techniques about collaboration tools, money management, problem solving, social selling and teamwork as well as tech topics like cloud computing and internet of things.
When and how can I complete my iDEA Award?
  • iDEA badges are designed to be accessible and fun. The Bronze Award badges are beginner level. The numbers of points for each badge helps indicate how difficult they are. It also depends of course on what you know already. Several have downloadable guides you can keep.
  • The badges vary in length and difficulty. The easiest ones can be completed in around ten minutes. The harder ones can take an hour or just over an hour to do. Take a look at our badge directory for more info. 
How many points do I need for a badge?
  • You need 250 points to win the Bronze Award. You have to earn at least 40 points in each of these categories Citizen, Worker, Maker and Entrepreneur, then you can top up the rest of your points however you like. Your certificate will be dispatched from Buckingham Palace!
We have lots of activities planned for the Small Business Saturday and iDEA Award partnership including special events and support for businesses taking part. What would be your one piece of advice for businesses that are interested? 
  • Do what works for you and your business. Only you know your strategic objectives and the pressures you and your team juggle. Use iDEA to top up knowledge, refresh your memory, hone skills you already have and develop new ones. Make the most of the programme’s flexible design.
Final question: how can I get tech support if I need it? 
  • We always recommend people check out our FAQ, which covers the most commonly asked questions. If you are still stuck, the best way is to write to iDEA@royal.uk or use the Contact Us button on the website. Both go into our CRM on a ticketing basis.
Thanks to iDEA Award for answering our questions. To find out more about our partnership with iDEA, click here, and to register and get started, click here.

Five ways to make your business successful in five years!

Thursday, July 19 at 09:00

We are one of the original Small Business Saturday UK alumni, having been involved in the inaugural campaign back in December 2013, several months after taking our very first phone call on behalf of another business!
Being involved in the campaign brought us many opportunities and raised our profile at a time when we were newbies and needed some much needed promotion. Since then, we have participated each year in some shape or form, and are always promoting the benefits of the campaign to other small businesses. To this end, we wanted to share our successes and how we managed to achieve reaching this major milestone for a small business.
  1. Have the right idea – find something that you are good at and have knowledge of. Our Managing Director was offering a similar service in another venture and could see the real need for smaller businesses to have someone who could support them with their telephone calls, and answering them, but not as costly as a full-time employee, acting as a great intermediary.
  2. Research – thoroughly research your product/service, and check what your competitors are doing – can you find a niche? Ask people what they want from your idea/product/service, and gain valuable feedback. Is there anything you can do better? For example, we found a niche and offer all our customers the ability to listen to their calls, as quality assurance – we promise we get to know their business before we answer their calls, and this is how we prove we’re following up on that promise. 
  3. People – employ the right people to work with you, and look for those who are passionate and believe in your offering. Create your own set of values and don’t budge on the qualities you want in a person. We’ve built our service around the people who are actually ‘doing the job’ and believe that ‘Our PAs are the Difference’. 
  4. Proof – start collecting proof that your product/service works as soon as you can – get into the habit of collecting Google reviews, and Facebook/LinkedIn endorsements. Every bit of praise helps and don’t be shy about sharing this. Endorsements from your clients are the best form of proof. 
  5. Loyalty – reward your existing customers, build upon your relationships. Your customer can be your biggest advocate and referrer. As with endorsements, a referral from a customer says it all. 
Our five notable achievements:
  1. We were profiled as one of the very first #SmallBiz100 and were promoted in the 100 days in the lead up to the first ever Small Business Saturday event, as a result of which we were featured on The Guardian's website as well as being promoted locally.
  2. In 2016, we entered local council awards for our apprenticeship programme and successfully won 'SME Apprenticeship Employer of the Year' as well as a special commendation for 'Apprentice of the Year'. The awards helped us to showcase our business to our local community and presented us a business that nurtures its employees.
  3. Also in 2016, we became ISO 9001 accredited, allowing our customers and prospects to see that we have the correct systems and procedures in place. The assessment was quite rigorous and we became one of the only telephone answering services to obtain this new certification at the time. 
  4. In 2017, we launched a new brand and website. This re-launch encompassed the true meaning of Face for Business, showcasing our 'real' PAs. Our new USP, 'Our PAs are the Difference', together with a complementary logo representing growth and metamorphosis, saw a 30% increase in conversions from our website.
  5. Finally, our much anticipated App went live and was rolled out to all our customers in June 2018, with the aim of making our customers’ working practices better. You can view the details here.
Managing Director, Andy MacGregor, says “I’m so humbled and grateful to have reached this major milestone in our business. It started out of necessity and has grown into a brand and service of which I am immensely proud.”

SmallBiz100 Mooch revive the local high street

Wednesday, July 11 at 21:39

We caught up with Jon May of Mooch Gifts & Home, to talk how to advertise without a budget, why big business is struggling more than small, and the impact of being a part of last year’s Small Biz 100. Mooch Gifts & Home took part in the Amex Shop Small offer in 2017.
Fed up of working long hours to earn money for others, Jon May and Luke Jacks decided that, if they were to be throwing themselves head first into a business, it should be their own. In 2015 the pair took the plunge and opened their first Mooch Gifts & Home store in their hometown of Stourport.
It was an immediate success. Jon says: “We worked out what our worst-case scenario would be - the fewest number of customers we could have each day to survive. And we absolutely smashed through that.”
With no advertising budget, Jon puts this quick-fire success down to their impressive social media reach. Focusing their customer outreach on Facebook and their brand-to-brand marketing on Twitter, they have seen strong, organic growth. They’re also getting by with a little help from their friends. Mooch have utilised the support of other Facebook pages such as we love stourport-on-severn past and present day, whose 12,000 likes gave Mooch a great platform to advertise.
Jon and Luke are returning the favour to small businesses in Bewdley, the home of their second store, with their own Facebook page. Shop, Eat, Sleep Bewdley has helped bring life to what had been a struggling shopping town. “We look after them, they look after us.”
This is an attitude that Jon says is vital to the survival of small businesses. When opening in Bewdley, other gift shops feared the competition, but they’ve become close allies. “There was definitely a sense of ‘oh no we don’t need another gift shop’ when we moved into the area, but we work closely together now,” says Jon. “At the end of the day, it’s not about competition. If we don’t have an item, we would much rather guide a customer to another gift store in the town, so they spend the money here rather than in the big city.
Unique products, a community-focused outlook, and the warmth Mooch staff show to their customers has led to numerous award nominations including at last month’s Small Awards, as well as a place in 2017’s SmallBiz100. This recognition has allowed Mooch to build up a closer relationship with media outlets in their area, and has seen them featured in national newspapers and websites, including the Telegraph, Independent and the Sun.
“Being able to say publicly that we were named one of the best 100 small companies in the country by Small Business Saturday has been brilliant for us. We’ve seen more customers on the shop floor, and more online traffic than ever before,” says Jon. “It’s great to know that we are bringing more revenue and recognition to Stourport and Bewdley, with orders from across the country.”
The growing base of ‘moochers’ in the last year has meant Jon and Luke have been able to open up in larger premises in Stourport, set-up over three floors. The company has gone from a penniless start-up to one of the town’s high street landmarks.
The message from Jon to any small business owner thinking of taking part in Small Business Saturday is to go for it: “If you’re passionate about what you do, if you fly the flag for your sector, then why not? Anyone who has found a gap in the market and put their job security on the line to create a business they believe in deserves recognition.
“Customers are returning to the high-street, appreciating their better prices and personal service. Now we are seeing that small is mighty.”
Click here to visit Mooch Gifts & Home
For more information on Amex Shop Small please see here

Why apply to be a SmallBiz100 2018?

Thursday, June 28 at 10:15
Smallbiz100

With just two days to go until applications close for this year’s SmallBiz100, we look at the benefits of taking part.
First things first – what is the SmallBiz100? In a nutshell, we choose 100 brilliant small businesses and celebrate one every day in the run up to Small Business Saturday, which takes place in December each year.Clearly it’s a great opportunity to showcase your small business and raise awareness both locally and nationally. On your allocated day, your business will be celebrated across Small Business Saturday’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. It’s a fantastic way to make a big impact.
Outside of your allocated day, there are plenty of PR opportunities within the media. Local press love to get involved and feature local businesses which have been selected to join SmallBiz100, and Small Business Saturday will support you all the way by preparing press releases for your local papers.If you want still more exposure, there are opportunities to feature in Small Business Saturday’s case studies series – find previous articles on our website here – or even to increase your impact longer term by becoming one of our Small Business Champions. It’s entirely up to you how far you want to take it.
When we speak to our previous SmallBiz100 participants, the one benefit which comes up time and time again is the support network which it provides. Running your own small business can be lonely at times, and it can be hard to know where to turn for help and advice from those who really know what you’re experiencing. Taking part in SmallBiz100 provides you with a fantastic community and a readymade support network of small businesses just like yours, all at different stages of growth. You’ll get access to a private alumni Facebook group for sharing tips, asking for advice, providing support and celebrating your success.
There are also plenty of opportunities to collaborate, with businesses who have been there and done it sharing their experiences. And finally, if you prefer your networking done in person rather than online, the fabulous blue tie ball takes place every year and is open to all SmallBiz100 participants, alumni and newbies alike.Michelle from Pink Spaghetti, who was one of the SmallBiz100 in 2017, says “As a business that operates from home and employs home workers, it is sometimes difficult to be seen or be taken seriously in the local business community. Being chosen to be a SmallBiz100 has not only given me amazing opportunities to network, collaborate and grow my business, but has also put me on the map locally. The increased exposure from Small Business Saturday has really made a difference to the way my small business is perceived; and the local press releases highlighting my involvement with SmallBiz100 has not only promoted my business but also validated it: we are no longer seen as a “hobby” business but as a worthy member of the business community.”All this and taking part is completely free! Sounds good? Applying to take part in SmallBiz100 2018 is quick and easy – just click here to register and start your journey. Already registered? Click here to apply to SmallBiz100.
Even if you feel that your business is not yet ready for SmallBiz100 or you’re not selected as part of the 100, there are still numerous benefits to getting involved.
Simply registering with Small Business Saturday can improve your business’s visibility, making you searchable via the Small Business Saturday app and via the business finder on the Small Business Saturday website, which is regularly promoted across social media. It’s also a great place to promote special offers, and to pick up tips and advice from other small businesses via our blog.
The standard of entrants for SmallBiz100 has already been phenomenal this year and we can’t wait to present the SmallBiz100 2018 later in the year! In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Make 2018 the year that you take your small business to the next level and take part in something amazing: apply now for SmallBiz100 2018.

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