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NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS CAMPAIGN #SBS CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY (with a little help from a South West business)

Family-run company, The Virtual Business Centre, has revealed it’s been quietly supporting the well-known national social media campaign #SBS (Small Business Sunday), created ten years ago by TV Dragon Theo Paphitis.

Claire Brewerton and her team at The Virtual Business Centre in Brinkworth have been supporting the weekly Twitter campaign for the last nine years. Each week, her team follow activity on Twitter and monitor the tweets with some whizzy in-house developed software which reports straight to the SBS team allowing them to data crunch.

“When #SBS started ten years ago, we were determined to be part of it and often tweeted Theo with messages about our business. In 2011, we were finally selected and since then we’ve become part of a growing national community of like-minded, ambitious business owners,” Claire said.

“Given that we work with data for our clients in a fully-compliant and supportive manner, we offered that support to Theo and his team to and we have done it ever since.”

Small Business Sunday, known as #SBS, was set up by Theo in October 2010 to support small business owners. Theo is best known as being one of the Dragons on the BBC TV series Dragons’ Den and as the Chairman of several businesses including Ryman Stationery, Boux Avenue, Robert Dyas and London Graphic Centre. He describes himself as a ‘shopkeeper’. 

He challenged them to tweet him @theopaphitis between 5pm and 7.30pm on Twitter each Sunday and describe their business in a single tweet including the #SBS hashtag. Each Monday, he reviews the tweets and six are chosen to be retweeted to his substantial audience – currently he has around 490k followers on Twitter alone. 

Over the years, this simple gesture using the power of social media has created a community of 1000s of small businesses – according to statistics from the Virtual Business Centre team: 

  • 50,000 unique businesses have entered over 10 years.
  • With more than 220,000 tweets in total. 
  • There are around 3100 winners to date 

Claire said being part of the #SBS movement has been fantastic for the business she runs with husband Marc and a team of 25.

“Making the effort to be part of this has been worth it. It’s brought exposure at a national level led by a recognised business icon. It’s created a community where we've been able to create strong relationships. This has inevitably led to business. We currently have three long-term clients who have come directly via this route and many others who have engaged us to support them with project or campaign work.” 

Theo Paphitis said: “Since I launched #SBS Small Business Sunday from my kitchen table over ten years ago, it has grown into a huge network of small businesses, providing an opportunity for many of our brilliant entrepreneurs and a support network for those that win – now at over 3,000 businesses.  The work that the Virtual Business Centre does for me and the #SBS Crew, helps to pull together all of the entries into one place, so I can select my six winners for the week and their support is greatly appreciated as what was once an easy task, is now a bigger one due to the sheer amount of entries I receive week in, week out!  I am always delighted to work with one of my #SBS winners – as that’s what it’s all about – supporting each other.” 

Claire (47) co-founded her Wiltshire business in 1999 with her husband Marc. The team provides services including telephone answering, intelligent telemarketing, outsourced customer service department, live chat, marketing via text service and email inbox management. 

Their clients include high end shoe manufacturer Eves & Gray London, Aqueos which offers equine and dog products; Herbs on the Hill offering herb-based natural skin care products. They also provide telephony services for major sporting events which cannot be named.  To find out more visit https://www.virtualbusinesscentre.com 

For more information about #SBS visit https://www.theopaphitissbs.com

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