Small Business Sunday, shortened to the hashtag #SBS on Twitter, was created by Theo Paphitis in October 2010. Theo is best known for appearing on Dragons' Den on BBC Two. He is Chairman of Ryman Stationery plus Boux Avenue lingerie, Robert Dyas and latest acquisition London Graphic Centre.
Each week, Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him @TheoPaphitis and describe their businesses in one tweet including the all-important hashtag #SBS. Only tweets made in the time slot between 5.00 PM and 7.30 PM each Sunday count.
Every Monday night at 8pm, Theo reviews and chooses his favourite lucky six who are then re-tweeted. As he has over 500,000 followers, this provides a massive boost to the chosen lucky businesses.
The benefits range from increased Twitter followers, to positive media publicity and crucially for many, increased sales! Of course, none of this is guaranteed as it is largely down to perseverance and hard work. A smidgen of luck comes in handy.
Theo says, "I admire people who have passion and energy. If you cannot bore your friends to death about your own small business then something is seriously wrong. I was struck by the number of business owners on Twitter who wanted to tell me about their new products and services. Small Business Sunday was born so that people have a specific time slot to tweet and can pitch their 'sell' directly to me.
All my businesses are privately owned and entrepreneurial in spirit. My stationery firm Ryman has thousands of small business customers, which is why they are now kindly sponsoring #SBS. I want to offer benefits to #SBS winners, past and present and the link with the stationery retailer allows me to do this, so thank you CEO Kypros Kyprianou and Co.
My vision is that everyone who has ever won an #SBS re-tweet from me becomes part of a friendly club. Like-minded individuals can share successes and learnings. This website will give a valuable profile to the winners chosen to date and should help those who have not yet won but want some tips on how to do so. You will find news about the latest winners plus events and activities of interest.
I know I have been lucky in business and I am keen now to spread goodwill to others, of course not forgetting that very often, you make your own luck by making use of every opportunity."
What to do...
Follow @TheoPaphitis and @RymanStationery on Twitter.
Tweet about your business in 280 characters or less, directed to @TheoPaphitis, adding the hashtag #SBS.
Tweet on a Sunday between 5.00-7.30 PM.
Use humour and topicality if it feels natural to you.
Feel free to add a link or web address in your tweet.
Having a website increases your chances of being noticed.
Ensure your profile sells your business and has a link to your website. Include a colourful graphic.
It helps to know the names behind the business. #SBS is for small businesses. The personal touch is liked.
Just tweet once in each weekly time slot.
Look out for the re-tweets.
If you are not chosen, don't despair and try again!
What not to do..
Tweet repeatedly in the hope you are seen.
Get another to tweet on your behalf or recommend you or re-tweet in the time frame ..it does not help.
Forget the importance of your own website. If it is not yet functioning, it is of little interest to others.
Nag or whinge if you don't get a re-tweet - it's not a good look!
If you have won before, don't try a second time! You are stealing an opportunity from someone else!