Enjoying our blog posts?
Subscribe to our newsletter to keep updated
Small Business Saturday is an event which happens once a year.
This year it is due to take place on Saturday the 7th December, but beforehand there is a slightly smaller gathering and is known as the Small Business Bus tour. Anyone who is involved in newly set up, starting out businesses are welcome, and it is an opportunity for communication and growth within the industry.
I was lucky enough to get a ticket, and I decided to record the day’s events and take notes from any speeches given.
The day started at 9:30, where we are all ushered into a comfortable lounge and offered complimentary tea, coffee and croissants. I immediately noticed how relaxed the atmosphere was, and the wide variety of accents in the room. People had travelled from all over Britain for this event in order to represent their business/company. I felt pride at this, as I was there to represent Nuttersons, and despite being the youngest I had just as much right to be there as everyone else.
After about forty minutes of conversing and exchanging businesses, we were led to the car park.
I expected that by ‘small business bus tour’, we would be physically boarding a bus and maybe driving around Manchester visiting the offices of local businesses. Despite what was implied in the title, the event was actually nothing like my expectations. There was a bus parked up, it was sporting a large map on the side with the logos of involved businesses printed in place of cities , but we did not board it. It was more the concept of the bus that was important.
We were taken to a warehouse where there were several market stall-like tables set up, each one sporting a different business or brand. I watched, quite fascinated, as one lady set up her table and laid out some homemade and hand decorated biscuits. She also wrote a little menu on a white board, set out nutritional information and more informative leaflets on what it is she does, what she is aiming to do.
A very friendly lady (who unfortunately will have to remain ‘anonymous friendly lady’ as I didn’t catch her name) also approached me, asked about what company I was representing and explained how the day was planned out for us. She told me, as one of the event organisers, that there had been a competition set up which allowed anyone who wished to set up their own business can take part in and compete for the grand prize, which was to have your business set up and represented officially, all costs taken care of.
This idea sounded similar to the Apprentice, and she sold it very well but of course I wasn’t there to enter, I was there to represent Nuttersons, learn about the industry and take notes for a future blog post.
Alex from Altrincham HQ gave us the first talk of the day. His first point was concerning the fact that his business was based in Altrincham – a small town where most people and companies know each other locally. He then went on to express his positive opinion on the networking and creation of small ‘local’ businesses which truly get to know their clients and grow purely from recommendation and social media.
The majority of his talk was based mainly on social media, and how much of an asset it is to this industry.
He gave us a list of advertising tips for different social media sites. I included a few in a bullet list notes:
At this point in Alex’s speech, a lady from the audience spoke up about her business, which was selling women’s sportswear, such as leggings, cycling shorts etc. Alex’s advice was to take photographs of good-looking models to help sell her clothing. He admitted it seems vain and unrealistic but truthfully will help catch the eye of potential buyers, as generally an audience are more attracted to appealing models with slim physiques, especially where sportswear is concerned.
Alex expressed his love for blogging, and how he personally feels a blog is an important feature to any site, as not only do you get to advertise your business and demonstrate English skills, but you help build a relationship with your clients by telling them whatever it is they wish to know. Another great feature about blogging is that you can create your blog to be whatever you want, it can be chatty or factual, artistic or serious, include news articles or stories etc.
Alex shared with us that he used to work in journalism, therefore, enjoys blogging very much.
AlrtinghamHQ have their own blog, which, Alex is a big part of. You can see for yourself what a talented writer he is, and how his tips have shaped his own blog to be what it is.
Alex understood that some people struggle with writing, and explained that the first introductory paragraph is the hardest to overcome, but once you do, blogging becomes much easier and flows naturally.
Lee Parker was the next spokesperson, and had come from his company Parker Sourcing.
He began his speech with a very strong but simple question for the audience ‘What is the most important quality needed when building a business?’
In response, he got awareness, enthusiasm and articulation, each equally valid and important, but he then stressed that in his opinion, the most important quality is passion.
He believes passion is what has carried him through many years of working in this industry, it is passion which gives him courage and presence when giving speeches to groups of people.
Lee then went into more depth about himself and his career, rewinding all the way back to 2003 when he graduated from University with a degree in business and economics.
Like most recent graduates he claimed to feel somewhat lost after coming fresh out of Uni, he knew what he wanted to do but wasn’t sure on how to go about it. His first real job placement was in recruitment, a field of work he was never planning on going into, however he stuck it out for four years before realising what he really wanted was to set up his own business. He had a mere £500 to do so – but he did it, and today believes it was because of his passion.
He also believes it was his passion which kept his customers loyal, customers he built relationships with over the years of working as a recruitment consultant who had faith in him starting his own business and followed him.
Since then, Parker Sourcing has continued to grow and has began working internationally. Lee also has something in his business which he wished was available in 2003 – help getting into a career immediately after graduating with the desired qualifications.
Lee comments on how much the Small Business Bus tour means to him – it has opened up lots of opportunities and allowed him to take part in some wonderful events, such as visiting Downing Street and meeting George Osborne. He claims that Small Business Saturday has not not only helped his company grow and clients to increase, but on a more personal level his public speaking skills have improved along with his confidence and marketing skills. Lee also explained he felt he has had a busy career, including struggles and changes which have left him with insightful tips to share with others in his industry – such as his persistence when he found himself working in recruitment for five years.
Whilst ending his speech you could see how, emotional almost, Lee got telling us all how proud he was, how sincerely grateful he was to take part in this event and to be considered as a spokesperson. He is currently a Northwest Business representative, which involves organising events and getting to know and help other small businesses.
This was my first business event I have ever attended – I was completely unsure on what was going to happen, I was even a little bit nervous due to my total inexperience, but it was a surprisingly enjoyable day.
People went there to learn insider tips and communicate. I went there to begin my job properly, and I certainly left feeling significantly more accepted in this industry.
Overall Rating: 3.9
Subscribe to our blog newsletter