Small Business Saturday Blog

Say Hello to the 2017 Small Business Saturday Champions

Thursday, August 31 at 16:15Small Biz 100 | Small Business | Small Business Saturday | Small Business Saturday Uk Champion

Small Business Saturday is pleased to announce its champions for the 2017 campaign!

The Small Business Saturday Champions are previous members of the Small Biz 100 that help to promote the campaign in their local areas, broadening the reach of the campaign and strengthening their local small business community.

They are already hard at work planning B2B events, Christmas markets, live-streamed interviews and much more! Please contact comms@smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com if you would like to connect with a champion in your area.

Lee Parker, Parker Sourcing, Greater Manchester
Yvonne Gorman, Essential Print Services, Derbyshire
Alison Edgar, Sales Coaching Solutions, Wiltshire
Becky Sebright, Lady Bakewell Park, Essex
Alice Malcolm-Green, Wick & Tallow, Greater London
Adam Balfour, Buffoon Film & Media, Neath Port Talbot
Elaine Pritchard, Caittom Publishing, Staffordshire
Rich Brady, Recruit Packs, Denbighshire
Karina Pedomo, Quick Brown Fox, Greater London
Faye Dicker, Freelance Mum, Somerset
Russell Pullan and Albert Chau, Fifth Dimension Chocolates, Greater London
Sara Parker, Face for Business, Lancashire
Ruth Pringle, Pringle Accountants, Lancashire
Bala Croman, The Chocolate Cellar, Merseyside
Gail Bryden, JustBe Botanicals, City of Edinburgh
Alistair Bell, Muddy Farm Models, County Antrim
Rowena Howie, Revival Retro, Greater London
Precious Jason, Etieno Skincare, Greater London
Sanjay Aggarwal, Spice Kitchen, Birmingham
Jo Smedley, Red Herring Games, Lincolnshire
Claire Hearn, Rose & Olive, Kent
Hayley Williams, Keystone Marketing, Oxfordshire
Liz Wilson, Ma Baker, Greater London
Sam Hale, Advance Performance, Cambridgeshire
Colleen Wong, TechSixtyFour, Greater London
Martha Keith, Love Give Ink, Greater London
Carolyn Frank, Libby Butler Jewellers, Yorkshire
Rachel Gilbertson Roxiie's Treasures Liverpool






5 ways to save money on your business energy

Tuesday, August 29 at 16:16Small Biz 100 | Small Business Saturday

Reducing the cost of energy bills was big news during the recent General Election campaign with both the Conservatives and Labour setting out plans to cap prices in their manifestos. However, it may well be some time now before those changes filter through to benefit small businesses.

Whether you’re running a workshop, office or retail unit, utility costs can mount up for small business owners who are keen to make energy savings. According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, SMEs already spend £15bn a year on energy.

The good news is that there are some straightforward ways to reduce your business energy costs. Here are some tips to get you started…

Chill out 

Check that your heating and air conditioning aren’t set to the same temperature and on at the same time. Heating and lighting swallow up energy! The settings on the two systems should be around four degrees apart. Thermostats should be set lower in corridors and store rooms than in offices. It’s also worth paying attention to the layout of your workspace to make sure radiators aren’t being blocked by furniture and to make the most of natural light. Moving the furniture around could make a big difference. Thermal tape can be used to draft proof single-glazed windows and door frames.

Conserve your energy 

Make staff aware that you’re keeping an eye on energy consumption and encourage them with a polite reminder to ‘turn of the lights’ when they leave in the evening. Simple steps like switching off lights in spaces when they’re not is use can save over £100 a year. You could use this saving to change your lights to energy efficient ones such as LED light bulbs rather than halogen or fluorescent light sources and save even more cash whilst helping the environment!

Energy proof your technology 

Energy saving measures can quickly become habit with some thought and discipline. Turning off unused mobile phone chargers and switching off your GPS and Bluetooth can make a difference. Did you know that 46 per cent of electricity used in offices is outside of standard operating hours? Make sure that monitors, copiers and vending machines are also all switched off when not in use.

Shop around 

Loyalty, ease and a lack of time can all be reasons why many of us avoid switching energy suppliers, however there are big savings to be made for small business owners who change their suppliers to access a better tariff. Whilst it might sound like a headache, it’s a quick and easy process if done through a broker and the average company could potentially save up to £1000 a year off their bill if they compare business energy. Comparison websites are a useful online tool for finding the deal that best suits your needs and can save you money.

Upgrade outdated equipment

Replace energy-guzzling equipment with star appliances. For example, heaters and air conditioners that are not working at maximum efficiency can draw unnecessary power and end up costing your business money.

About the author: Steph Salusbury is the Channel Manager for Insurance and Energy at Businesscomparison.com. Steph has vast experience within the energy industry, previously working at Moneysupermarket.com for 9 years on sales, operations & commercial. Businesscomparison.com is a free online comparison site for small and medium sized businesses to compare deals on energy, finance, business bank accounts and insurance.

How to: set up a craft fair

Wednesday, July 22 at 13:33How To | Retail Space | Small Biz 100

Today we speak to Claire of The Fairy Tale Fair, a 2014 Small Biz 100, about how she goes about creating her Brighton based craft fairs...


Arranging a craft fair is a bigger job than it might seem at first. Well, arranging a busy one is anyway! It starts of with a lot of venue and location research - having a well liked venue and good location is key. This doesn’t always mean it has to be based in the centre of town - we organise local village fairs too, and if the marketing within the community is right these can be just as popular.




I am lucky that I am a maker myself and also take part in craft fairs across Sussex and London so therefore already have a range of craft contacts. This would be the next key step - researching, gaining and growing your contacts, as without the makers there is no fairs.

We are lucky that our fair has continued to build its stall holder base since 2012 and have a strong base of high quality makers. This takes time to build, and fair-by-fair, word of mouth and recommendations help us to gain new talent for each fair.

Next up I would say marketing is a very important part of any public event. You need to factor in a marketing budget into your stall prices as its often the most expensive part of the fair. You want to make sure you cover as many areas of marketing as possible - print, online, email, social media, blogs etc to reach as wider audience as possible.




We print at least 5,000 flyers for each event with many of these delivered door to door in the surrounding area of each fair. We also place print ads with well known local magazines, and do a huge amount of social media sharing, blogging and online networking. It depends as to what your event is and what the target market is as to whether online or print is better so if you are unsure its probably worth trying both on a small scale to start with. The advantage of online ads - such as sponsored Facebook posts - is that you can track the clicks and stats, where as print is harder to judge a response to.

This brings us to the all important big day of the event. I always set the alarm super early (3.30am for some events!) to get to the venue as early as possible. There is always lots to do - arranging tables, floor plans, cleaning, signage, etc that all take time.




We always like to go the extra mile with decorations where possible too. As our fair is fairy tale themed we like to make it feel magical with handmade bunting, fairy garlands, fairy lights and little extra touches in the entrance. Kids in particular pick up on this and it brings families back again and again.

Once we are set-up and the stall holders are in place, we post, tweet, share throughout the day so online followers can see what they are missing out on! We’ll share photos of freshly baked cakes, one off makes, workshops in action and beautiful painted faces to encourage visitors to get along before the end of the day.

We think this final push is always important. Even if customers have planned on visiting, they often have so much on that they may forget, so it is a good idea to continue to remind them in the few days leading up to and on the day.

Most importantly is that you, and your stall holders and customers enjoy the day!


For more information about The Fairy Tale Fair or to ask Claire a question head to: www.thefairytalefair.co.uk. They have two events coming up this summer including a Children’s Day at Brighton Open Market this Friday 24th July - this is a non profit event with lots of free under the sea themed activities for the holidays. They also have their next craft fair at Brighton Open Market on Saturday 15th of August.

FAQs about applying to Small Biz 100

Thursday, June 04 at 14:44How To | Small Biz 100

Here are some answers to common questions about applications:

Who can apply to be in Small Biz 100?
Any kind of small business can apply! Whether it's retail or online, professional services to personal training- all kinds of UK small businesses can apply.

It says "error" when I tried to register with my email address on "Apply for Small Biz 100"
Please make sure that your email address is right (it's happened to all of us!) and that you have both read the T&Cs and checked the little box to say you are happy with them.

If it's still not working, please send a screen shot of the error to comms@smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com and we will help you from there

I registered with my email address on "Apply for Small Biz 100" but didn't receive an email
Please check your spam folders- it's quite common that we're hiding in there. If it's been a couple of hours and you haven't received an email- please let us know via comms@smallbusinesssaurdayuk.com

I can't log in with the email address and password that I registered with!
Please ensure your password is correct- our password system is case sensitive.

I finished my application to be in Small Biz 100- but want to change something. Is this possible?
Although it is possible to log in and change parts of your application before the applications close on July 17th, we recommend that you don't. We are reviewing applications on a rolling basis as they come in, so it's better to give us your best side of your small business on your first go.

What is My Small Business Finder?
My Small Business Finder is a tool for consumers and small businesses to use on Small Business Saturday and the surrounding time. It will enable you to enter a postcode & see the small businesses in that area. In addition, it will also allow you, a small business, to enter a promotion or deal or offer available to celebrate Small Business Saturday. It's just our way of trying to connect more customers with small businesses, and of course more small businesses getting to know each other. Nearer the time, we will let all our networks know via social media when they should be thinking about My Small Business Finder.



How to: Apply for Small Biz 100

Thursday, June 04 at 14:37Applications | How To | Small Biz 100

Hello!

We're thrilled you're interested in applying for the Small Biz 100 in 2015.

Our online application process is really simple- but here is a step-by-step process to save you all some time.

In our portal we have: Small Biz 100 & My Small Business Finder.

Small Biz 100 is the opportunity to apply to be one of our 100 small businesses profiled in the 100 days before December 5th: Small Business Saturday. It is absolutely free and any kind of small business can apply.


STEP ONE

Go to our website, and click on the Small Biz 100 tab at the top. You will then see this and you need to click the big blue 'Apply for Small Biz 100' button.


STEP TWO

Then you will see these two boxes:


Fill in your company email address (a confirmation email will be sent here so make sure you can access it right away). Also have a look through our standard T&Cs to make sure you're happy and tick the box, and click Register.


STEP THREE

Next you'll see this green box pop-up box. As it says, an email will come to the address you provided shortly. They do sometimes get caught up in a Junk folder, so check there for your confirmation email.

You should receive an email with the following text:





Although the link looks a bit long and confusing- it's a super secure link meaning all your details stay with us. Click on the link!


STEP FOUR

You will be taken to this page:




Please then set a password- all the usual tips apply of use a combination of letters and number. 
Passwords are case sensitive!
Once you're happy with your password, please click Set Password.


STEP FIVE

Next you will get to this page:


To apply for Small Biz 100 in 2015 you need to complete:
  • Profile Tab
  • Account Tab
  • AND My Small Biz 100 Application
As you can see in the orange bubble- one of us at Small Business Saturday needs to verify your account before it is fully active. Once we have verified your small business this orange bubble will no longer be there. Hooray! This doesn't however stop you from completing your application.

Then start filling in all your info into the first PROFILE tab:




STEP SIX

In the ACCOUNT tab- you will see two switches. 

The first one- My Small Business Finder- relates to a search option we will have live further towards Small Business Saturday on December 5th. If you don't wish to be included and have your business put on a map for consumers to use, with any deals or offers you may be offering on the day- please turn the switch off. You can, of course, change this at any time. 

The second switch- our Newsletter. If you don't wish to receive our Newsletter, please turn the switch off. Again, you can change this at any time. 




STEP SEVEN

And last but not by all means least...Your Small Biz 100 Application!

We ask you to answer five questions and upload a video to apply to Small Biz 100 this year. 





Finally- click the big blue apply button at the end. 

Please note there is no email confirmation from your application- we will review all applications to Small Biz 100 and successful applicants will be notified by email at the beginning of August. 

Don't worry that we haven't received it- it all goes into our database which we check everyday. 


Thank you!





How to: make a YouTube video

Monday, June 01 at 13:16Btube | How To | Small Biz 100 | Video

Making a video is a great way to promote your small business. You introduce yourself to your customers and the viewers can get a good sense of the business style, your products and your personality.

This year, for The Small Biz 100, we would love for you to make us a short video to go with your application.

Making a short video is straight-forward, with heaps of benefits. This YouTube video from BTube should inspire you to get started, and below we share some tips. From beginners to pros- anyone can do it!



Step one: the right stuff for filming

Don't panic about the need for fancy equipment - these days most smartphones have great cameras and plenty of storage space for storing your video. Keep the camera steady with a tripod, propping your phone on a table, or digging out that selfie stick for shake-free content. You could also use the webcam on your computer or laptop to record.

If you have a digital camera, these will allow you to record a video, so play around until you find technology that is most suitable for you, your business and your budget.

Step two: the content

Speak up! We want to hear what you have to say about your small business, so make sure to speak clearly and encourage anyone you interview in the video to do the same.

Take inspiration from BTube's video with 'cut-aways'- different shots of your small business or products with audio narration over the top talking about your small biz story.

Take your time, with a few different takes to make sure you capture everything you wanted to. It's supposed to be fun, so enjoy interviewing your employees, your customers or showing your products.

Step three: upload, edit, tweak

Each camera, smartphone or computer will differ slightly, but once you're done with filming you need to get the video files onto the computer.

To edit your video, like BTube say there's plenty of free editing software available. For PC users, Windows Movie Maker, for Macs there's iMovie. Work with what works for you & if in doubt, search online. There's hundreds of easy step-by-step articles to help you along the way, offering reviews of the different free software and tutorials.

It's also a great opportunity to ask for favours from your friends, family or colleagues who may know a thing or two on editing and making videos look great.

As BTube's video says, YouTube has plenty of audio files available for incorporating into your video, so make the most of all the free tools out there.

Step four: upload!

If you haven't gone one already, set yourselves up with a YouTube channel. Make sure you include all your small business details in the channel page with a link to your website, Twitter and Facebook page.

Give it a snappy title, make sure to use the most of the tags at the bottom of the video editor so your video comes up in as many searches as possible. Don't forget to set your video setting to 'public' once you're ready to share it with the world.

Once it's up on your YouTube page, share it via Facebook, Twitter and if possible embed it on your own website. Most importantly- send it to us with your Small Biz 100 application!

Remember, if your business is chosen as a Small Biz 100 this year, we will use your video to promote your business, so it's a great opportunity to show us & our followers what you're doing.

We can't wait to see your Small Biz 100 application videos! 



Why I applied to Small Biz 100: Crafty Revolution tells all

Thursday, May 07 at 13:48Small Biz 100 | Small Business Saturday Uk Champion

2014's Small Business Saturday UK impact statistics

With just 25 days to go before applications open for 2015's Small Biz 100, we hear from a successful 2014 applicant: Crafty Revolution.

Crafty Revolution was one of 2014's Small Biz 100, and now a current Small Business Saturday Champion. Owner Francesca Kemp has spoken about why she applied......

"Small Business Saturday UK recently published the above statistics for last year's campaign which made me reflect on my time as one of their Small Biz100.

As the application date looms in June the question is: why would you want to apply?

My top 3 reasons are:

1. Amazing connections with fellow Small Biz 100 and local businesses
2. New skills learnt along the way
3. Being part of a truly great campaign

Five months have passed since December 6th, and I am still on an incredible Small Business Saturday journey. Learning to push my own boundaries was paramount to me, as I am quite a shy person so participating in an ITV interview, for example, was an adrenalin-pumping scary moment but I did it and I loved the experience!

For me, it was also about the long-term impact this accolade would have and what could I do in return. Profiling, promotion, likes, followers, web visits, retweets, shares, linking up with amazing entrepreneurs, going to Downing Street, meeting VIPs, support from fellow Small Biz 100....the list is endless and continues to grow. This led to other business collaborations and campaigns for Crafty Revolution to be involved in.

Would I still press that enter button to send my application? Without a shadow of a doubt, YES!

I am honoured to have been made one of Small Business Saturday UK's champions for this year's campaign. The above statistics speak for themselves and this year will see an expanded bus tour, with businesses encouraged to organise their own events celebrating the day.

Now the question is, will you apply to be a Small Biz 100?"

Applications for 2015 Small Biz 100 open on 1st June. Please check website for more details. 

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