Our Small Business Saturday 100 experience from start to finish!
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Our Small Business Saturday adventure began in June 2018.
What is Small Business Saturday?
In its sixth year Small Business Saturday is the UK's most successful small business campaign. A grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, Small Business Saturday was originally founded by American Express in the U.S. in 2010. American Express remains the principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its on-going commitment to encourage consumers to shop small. The #SmallBizSatUK campaign trended at number one in the UK on Twitter during 2017, reaching over 115 million people globally.
Out of over 10,000 applicaions 100 Small businesses are selected and showcased in the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday which this year was on the 1st December. We were so delighted to be part of Small Biz 100 not only for our own recognition, but because of the encouragement and support small businesses offer each other. It's all about collaborating and sharing skills and knowledge but also about encouraging the general public to shop local and support the small businesses around them. Our selected day to showcase was the 21st November.
The first event we went to was the Blue Tie Ball - like black tie but a blue theme instead - at The Pheonix Club in London. There was a lot of blue! Blue dresses, blue ties and bow ties, blue suits, blue waistcoats, blue decorations, even blue drinks! There were canapes served through the evening and some fantastic entertainment followed by speeches. It was a great event to meet the other 100 top businesses and discuss how we could work together or collaborate with promotions or services.
The next couple of months were spent promoting the 100's on their showcase day, creating awareness about Small Business Saturday and action promotions and collaborations as well as making some friends along the way!
The next exciting milestone was the iconic Bus Tour.
The Small Business Saturday blue bus tours the country to spotlight and support not just the selected top 100 but also the nation's 5.7 million small businesses. The campaign bus travels over 3000 miles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visiting 30 locations over 25 days.
Christchurch and East Dorset Going for Growth business development team secured Christchurch as a stop and the bus came to visit on our promotional day, the 21st November .
Launching on Thursday 25 October in Blackburn, the Small Business Saturday UK campaign team began pulling into towns across the country, offering free mentoring sessions to small businesses. With an aim to shine a spotlight on the UK's top small businesses, the campaign featured its special 'Blue Sofa' interview series, where small businesses, entrepreneurs and leading local figures shared their stories about their business or local area, to a Facebook live audience.
When it stopped in Christchurch there were several independent businesses showcasing their products and services and an action packed day of mentoring. The Mayor of Christchurch, Councillor Mrs Lesley Dedman and Councillor David Flagg, Leader of the Christchurch Borough Council and Councillor Mrs Trish Jamieson, Deputy Leader of Christchurch Borough Council came to welcome the bus and talk to the businesses showcasing. It was a great day!
Here's our interview with "Pete on the seat"
Another highlight of the campaign was our trip to the House of Lords.
In early November we received an invite from Lord Young of Graffham for afternoon tea. One hundred of the UK’s top small businesses, which formed this year’s Small Biz 100 were invited to an exclusive Small Business Saturday reception to celebrate our contribution to the UK economy and value to local communities.
It was another opportunity to get together with the top 100 selected businesses, talk about the bus tour and all we had been doing as well as sharing our 'wins' and plans for Small Business Saturday itself! There was bubbles, sandwiches and cakes; speeches from Lord Young of Graffham, Business Secretary Rt Hon Greg Clark MP and from the Director of Small Business Saturday, Michelle Ovens.
We had been collaborating with another wonderful dog business Fur Babies as well as a couple of businesses that weren't part of the 100, to run a competition with some amazing prizes; it was great to meet Julie again as well as a few others we'd forged friendships with along the way. There was a wonderful atmosphere and time absolutely flew by but we made the most of the event and once it was over some of us popped to a local pub to carry on the party! It was an incredible day.
The Main Event - The 1st December - Small Business Saturday
Wow! The day had arrived. The build up of the last four months culminating in one day!
We had been promoting our competition with Fur Babies for a few weeks and the winner was due to be announced.
We were offering 10% off any of our products.
But our biggest promotion was we launched a brand new Treat Range and were giving pouches away free!! We were mentioned in the Bournemouth Daily Echo and also had our picture and name in the Daily Mirror as part of a piece written about Small Business Saturday! It was a busy and exciting day.
Why is Small Business Saturday been so important to us?
It has given us the opportunity to work, collaborate and share skills and knowledge with some other amazing businesses within the 100. But more than that, being part of the 100 has helped us reach out locally and support the small businesses around us whether that’s an independent high street shop or one of the many hidden businesses that offer fantastic products and services working from home.
There are so many of us these days that need a financial income but want to be there to support our family as they grow too and when customers support these businesses they are making a real difference. I think we’re all a lot more conscious of and willing to support locally when we’re given the opportunity. Creating awareness of small businesses so people have the opportunity to buy from them has all been part of this incredible experience. We were absolutely thrilled to have been selected for the Small Business Saturday Small Biz 100 list for 2018. It was a fantastic surprise, particularly as we haven’t been in business long, but it’s so wonderful to have our passion for believing in dog health recognised and furthering our quest to make choosing healthy dog nutrition easy.
If you get the chance or are thinking about but unsure.....GO FOR IT, it really does make a difference!