For those that aren’t already familiar with Theo, he is a retail magnate, heading up leading brands such as Ryman’s Stationery, Robert Dyas, La Senza and many more. To many, he is most recognisable as one of the original ‘dragons’ in BBC’s ‘Dragon’s Den’.
In April, Theo selected Cornish Accounting Solutions to be a winner of his Small Business Sunday initiative, and we were welcomed to an event on the 11th of February.
What a day it was. An early start for us, but thankfully we had the wonderful team at Finesse Chauffeurs to deliver us, tired and hungry, to the International Conference Centre in the heart of Birmingham.
There were workshops and seminars covering everything from advanced printing technology to marketing – and there were some fantastic networking opportunities, with certain areas dedicated to specific industries to facilitate making new contacts.
Theo himself enlightened us with an engaging (and somewhat political) talk, about the pressures facing the small business world. He also welcomed Raja Saggi from Google, who gave a whistle-stop tour of some of the Google products that we all need to be using.
Finally, he introduced Sir Tom Hunter, a charismatic scot who started his business career selling slippers on a market stall, and now has built multi-billion pound businesses. This chat was particularly inspiring, as Sir Tom described the ups and downs of a long career – but also shared his belief in the importance of philanthropy.
At the end of the day, all that was left was to be introduced to Theo in person, and of course, present him with a world-renowned Cornish Accounting rubber duck! He was interested and warm and it was a genuine honour to have a chat with him.
We’ve made some great contacts at the event, so a big hello to everyone we met, especially those that gave a home to one of our ducks.
Small Business Sunday is completely free to enter. Simply send a tweet to @TheoPaphitis between 5pm and 7.30pm on a Sunday, describe your business and what makes you different, and cross your fingers! On the Monday evening after, Theo will then retweet his chosen winning tweet to his legions of followers.
Our top tips for selection would include:
Go on, enter. You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain!