What did we learn at Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday #SBSEvent2019?
On 12th February this year, I was lucky enough to be invited to Theo Paphitis’s Small Business Sunday annual event, as a guest of my friend; Lee Curran, owner of Tobi The Gift Place
Small Business Sunday, shortened to the hashtag #SBS on Twitter, was created by Theo Paphitis in October 2010. 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 450,000 followers, this provides a massive boost to the chosen lucky businesses.
The annual #SBS event is a chance for the #SBS winners to network with each other, and receive business advice & support from Theo himself, the event sponsors, and of course this year’s guest speakers; Sir Tom Hunter (The Hunter Foundation), Raja Saggi (Google), and Paul Barnes (Webroot).
So what did we learn at this year’s event? Well there were many inspirational words of advice and key pointers from all of the guest speakers, but for me there were two messages that stood out above everything else; one from Sir Tom, and one from Theo.
Sir Tom Hunter, Scotland’s first self made billionaire, was asked a direct question – “Could you give one piece of advice for SMEs looking to grow?”
His answer was clear – “Every SME owner needs a mentor”. Sir Tom elaborated further explaining that for him, his mentor was his Father; someone who had introduced him to the business world at a young age, and was always there for him as a sounding board and supporting figure. He also said that a business will not be able to successfully grow without a team of experts at the helm. For the business owner, this typically would involve having to employ or pay for the services of specialist individuals. But where are these mentors and experts to be found? Neither Sir Tom nor Theo was able to offer any guidance on this.
Theo’s piece of advice was just as clear – “Ensure that you maintain a strong cash flow position. Bad profits are like a cancer in your business that takes time to really affect things, but bad cash flow is like a heart attack! Instant failure!” To most business owners this shouldn’t be anything new, but there are many who are still to fully understand the impact running out of cash in the business can have.
Both of these messages resonated with me in a big way. With One Up Consultancy, I offer a range of services that includes mentoring from myself, or if required, a contact who is more suited to the individual or business. The importance of having someone on your team who is able to offer an outside perspective and some clarity on often difficult situations is not to be underestimated. If I’m not to be believed in saying this, then who better than Sir Tom Hunter?
I also offer a service to review a business’s Order to Payment process that identifies weaknesses and bad practice within the operation, and then devises and implements a solution that will increase the cash balance by improving profits, cost savings, and a reduction in bad debt. Theo Paphitis is right in that good cash flow is the heart of the business but it is the day to day operation that governs how it functions. Strong operational processes across the whole of your business that minimise cost and maximise profit are key to it all.
For more info on how I can help you and your business by either mentoring or improving your cash flow position, please get in touch here.