How winning the Theo Paphitis SBS award can raise your pet business profile


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Are you looking to raise the profile of your pet business by entering Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday?

It’s a community award where you get the paws up from the multi-millionaire entrepreneur and star of BBC’s Dragon’s Den.

It is amazing for your pet business profile, a brilliant and super easy way to get press coverage, and you become part of Theo’s supportive community too.

Every February, Theo holds Small Business Sunday Winner’s Event in Birmingham where Theo celebrated the people who toil away.

And on February 14th 2022, after 12 attempts, I was picked as a SBS winner! So this podcast is all about the impact it has.

As well as hints and tips, you’ll hear from SBS superstar Kim O’Donnell about how it’s helped her pet accessory business, Leo, Charley and Me.

Listen in on the player link below or carry on reading as a blog post.

What is SBS? 

SBS stands for Small Business Sunday and it shortened to SBS on Twitter and Instagram.

It’s a competition created by Theo Paphitis, who was one of the dragons on Dragon’s Den, and it started back in 2010. 

Every Sunday between 5pm and 7:30pm small businesses can tweet or post on Instagram as of this week using the SBS hashtag, and share why they should win.

It’s all about sharing the value that you give to other people in your business, so where your business came from, who you help and the impact you have.

The aim is to give Theo a reason to shine the spotlight on you and celebrate what you do in your small business. 

What’s the benefit of taking part in SBS?

Theo retweets the winners from his account and shares them from his Instagram profile, meaning your business reaches his 550,000 followers.

He announces the six winners at 8pm on a Monday night and if you win you’re one of the 0.8 per cent.

You join a network of 3,500 businesses who have had the paws up from Theo, and you can set up a profile in the SBS community.

Winners have a badge they can display on their website and social media, and you can use your win to get press coverage.

Being recognised by Theo is a huge deal and a great story for your local press, your website and social media.

What happens when you win SBS?

You will have a crazy week or two!

On the night, your phone will be melting with notifications from friends, colleagues and the SBS community.

There’s the SBS winner’s hour on Tuesday from 8.30pm to 9.30pm where you can chat and network with other winners.

You’re also invited to join the Facebook community which is another amazing opportunity to boost your visibility and get support and encouragement.

The SBS winner badge

How the SBS winner’s event works

The SBS winner’s event is a free conference put on by Theo each year.

This podcast refers to the 2022 event which saw 1000 winners come together at the CIC in Birmingham to celebrate.

Theo is the star of the show and he invites inspiring people in the entrepreneurial community to put on presentations.

This year, Debbie Lewis from NatWest bank spoke about the roller coaster of life as a business owner.
Rachel Watkyn from the Tiny Box company who won investment from Theo and Peter Jones on Dragons Den in 2007 shared her experience.

The event sees expert workshops in the breakout rooms on all kinds of topics.

Then there’s the Fireside Chat – Theo invited Touker Suleyman to join him and asked: “What sectors do you think are exciting right now.”

Touker replied: “I think that the pet space is good!”

Finally, there’s also the chance to win a stall at either the Autumn Fair or Spring Fair, a huge trade show where stalls are normally around £5,000.

Kim being presented with her SBS certificate from Theo

What’s the impact of winning on your pet business?

Kim O’Donnell from Leo, Charley and Me pet accessories won SBS in March 2021 and was chosen to showcase at his Autumn Fair.

Following her win, her story was covered in the business section of her local newspaper, The Staffordshire Newsletter.

Kim said: “When I won I could hardly feel my thumbs from replying to everyone who was congratulating me on Twitter. I saw a huge boost in people following me and looking at my business.

“The first piece of coverage I got was in the local newspaper with a half-page spread in the business section! It was such a validation for my business and the press coverage led to more sales.”

After winning SBS Kim also secured herself a space at Theo’s autumn fair at the NEC, one of the biggest trade shows in the country – with a stand worth £5000.

She said: “When I found out I’d won the competition almost fell off my chair!

“I’d never done anything wholesale before, I didn’t know what to expect. But by day two I’d sold all of my Autumn collection before I’d even launched it on the website and that was just to one shop!

“By the morning of day three I had three major orders and that had sold everything that I could physically make between September and Christmas. 

“The four orders I took at the fair in just two days were a quarter of my annual turnover. It was crazy!

“On day three I had to apologise to people who wanted to buy because I couldn’t take their orders, so I ended up with a waiting list.”

Going to the Autumn fair completely transformed Kim’s business. “I came away with four major orders and a list of people who wanted to work with me, it was phenomenal,” she added. 

“It was such a big wholesale event I felt like I wasn’t going to fit in, but it actually helped me hone down on where I can supply, and who to.

“And it turns out that people love boutique businesses. It has been life changing.”

How to take part in SBS

Share a tweet or an Instagram post on Sunday between 5pm and 7.30pm.

Your post should show your passion for your business, clearly explain what you do and who you help and have an image, and Theo asks that you have a professional website.

It must contain the #SBS hashtag and you must tag Theo.

What Theo looks for in a winning tweet or post

Honestly, I really can’t say what it is that he looks for because I’ve tried to win SBS many, many times. 

There isn’t really any exact formula to it, but I know what he does look for is something that has an emotional impact and emotional connection. 

Each week Theo will explain himself what he’s looking for so read his post and try to give him what he wants.

Remember, Theo goes through EVERY post, and if you don’t win once, don’t give up. I tried 12 times and others have tried for years.

So are you thinking of giving SBS a try?

Here are five reasons why you should, and there are lots more.

  1. You get to become part of the SBS community – running a business can be lonely and this is a huge help.
  2. It’s a brilliant opportunity to get press coverage – getting the paws up from Theo is a great, feel good story. 
  3. Being an ‘award winning pet business’ helps you stand out from the competition and will wow your customers.
  4. When people check you out online you make a great impression, and it looks great on your social media profiles.
  5. It’s FREE, you get a FREE winners event each year and you get to meet Theo and he is such a lovely bloke.

Find out more about taking part at

Learn more about Kim on her website,

If you enjoyed this post, you might like What it’s like on Dragon’s Den with Debbie Greaves from Barking Bags or How to be an award winning pet business with Kirsty Skeates.


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