Small Business Sunday Event Reflections

Last month I attended the Small Business Sunday event in Birmingham after winning the award from Theo Paphitis in late 2020. This was my first event, and it was great to be surrounded by so many amazing business owners.

However, something struck me when Theo was sharing some of the stats around SBS during his opening session and I want to talk about that more here. However, let’s start with the highlights of what he shared.

  1. After 13 years of SBS only 0.8% of businesses who enter actually win the award!
  2. 78% of SBS Winners are female
  3. 52% of winners are sole traders
  4. A large proportion of winners have turnover between £0 and £10,000 with those turning over 6 figures making up around 25% (approximately)

This is amazing for female business owners, many of whom start their businesses from their kitchen tables. However, when I look at the schedule of speakers for the event the majority are men!

Image showing the SBS Event Agenda that features the following speakers - Kyros Kyprianou, Theo Paphitis, Google Digital Garage, Natwest Panel, Owen O'Kane and Mark Blundell

In a world where many women feel that they are discriminated against in the workplace, I would love to have seen a different viewpoint for this event. Perhaps by focusing more on why lots of women go on to start businesses to combat this very discrimination.

Now don’t get me wrong it was a fantastic event to be at and I really appreciate the motivation from Theo in his opening remarks and the session from Owen O’Kane – I also think that having an expert on finance was great for a lot of the businesses in the room BUT I would like to have seen more.

The fireside chat was with a man who is very successful in his own right. However, he didn’t start from nothing like many of us as he already had a huge number of connections in the sector his business is in.

A lot of the focus of the event was around money as a measure of success – which whilst important (we all need to make a profit) isn’t always the key determiner for women in business. See my recent blog on this What Success Looks Like for Me

So, what would I have liked to see…

  1. An opportunity to hear from business owners at different stages – those in the lower turnover category and those in the higher ones, sharing their lessons learned and motivating others.
  1. A discussion around imposter syndrome and how we can overcome it – there were a couple of questions around this and I didn’t feel they were handled very well – it is a very real thing, especially for women and we need to acknowledge it.
  1. An independent presentation on digital marketing – as whilst there were some good takeaways from the Google Garage session, I also had some concerns about some of the things shared (e.g. having a 1 page Google website) and in real life, a lot of Google tools are far too complicated for small business owners.

I would much prefer to see some ‘real’ business owners sharing things and discussing alternatives to the 6-figure/multi-million-pound turnover and I’m sure others would too.

So, Theo and the SBS team if you are reading this, I’d love to be on a panel next year so let’s have a chat about that!

Of course, I did also enjoy the day and the highlight was meeting Theo and getting my certificate from him…I am proud to be an SBS Winner and have the recognition of what I’m doing as a business owner.