Dragon’s Den would not be on my ‘must watch’ list of programmes (t’be honest, not a lot is…) but I do admire Theo Phaphitis for having done some really imaginative brand extension with his #SBS – or Small Business Sunday on Twitter.
For those who have not heard of it:
If you have a small business (like many of our FreeFrom Food and Skincare Awards entrants for example), you can send a tweet describing your business and what it so special about it, between 5pm and 7.30 every Sunday to Theo Paphitis, using the ‘hashtag’ #SBS. Each week his team chooses what they regard to be the best six tweets/businesses and ‘retweets’ their tweet to all of his 400,000+ followers. This allows that small business to reach 400,000 potential customers/investors that they would never otherwise have be able to reach.
It was Liz Allan – past Cake Crusader and now of the Allergy Aware Kitchen training programme – who first told us about it when she was a winner as the Cake Crusader. But FFFA entrants the Foodamentalists and Scrubby’s have also been SBS winners – and looking on our Twitter account just now I see the B Organic Skincare, an entrant in the 2012 FFSkincare Awards is also a recent winner.
Well, that is all a jolly good idea and our congratulations to all of the winners but, probably not surprisingly, Paphitis did not leave it at that! #SBS winners have formed a ‘vibrant’ community who meet at regular conferences around the country while, along with some of the more successful Dragon’s Den companies in which he invested, now known as SBS Angels, he is looking at #SBS winners for potential investment opportunities.
Again it was Liz Allan who told us about this. Magic Whiteboard, one of the more successful Dragon’s Den Companies, having just made their first £1million profit, have put up a pot of £50,000 to be invested in one or more of the #SBS companies. Liz had put in an application for her new training company and was, justifiably, very excited to discover that she had been shortlisted to pitch for the funding at the end of this month! So many congratulations and good luck Liz!!
Another instance of social media’s power is the new passion for Crowdfunding – appealing through the web and social media for you and I to invest anything from £5 to £500,000 in new projects, businesses or social enterprises of any and every sort.
Basically, the project seeking funding sets a target for how much money they need and then try to raise support through Twitter, Facebook and any other group into which they can plug themselves. You pledge however much you wish to their project and that goes into their notional pot. If they get enough money pledged to reach their target sum, then they call on you to redeem your pledge and they go ahead with their project. If they don’t, then you don’t pay and they don’t get to realise their project.
As always, there are some pretty daft schemes put up for crowfunding but the basic concept seems excellent – allowing people in a meaningful but affordable way to support a cause or project in which they really believe. I have been involved in a few projects which came to nought (well, I am not aware that I paid out any money so I assume they came to nought) but one I am aware of – and which has been successful – was the appeal to save the Jersey cows producing their fabulous unpasteurised milk at the Calf at Foot Dairy….. I doubt that any of you would have been able to resist either – and if you are interested, you can now help them here to buy a new milking machine…..