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Dragon’s Den Meet for Windermere Businesswoman

Alison Magee Barker and Theo Paphitis

Local award-winning businesswoman Alison Magee-Barker of AJ Lakes Consultancy met Theo Paphitis of Dragon’s Den fame as she added another accolade to her shelf.

Alison picked up one of the first Small Business Sunday (#SBS) awards of the decade earlier in the year. Alison was then invited to an event to network with fellow and meet Theo Paphitis. Small Business Sunday awards have been running for ten years and take place on Twitter each week, Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him @TheoPaphitis and describe their businesses in one tweet including the all-important hashtag #SBS. Only tweets made in the time slot between 5.00 PM and 7.30 PM each Sunday count.

Every Monday night at 8pm, Theo reviews and chooses his favourite lucky six who are then re-tweeted. As he has over 450,000 followers, this provides a massive boost to the chosen lucky businesses.

The multi-award-winning Mrs Magee Barker, who provides no nonsense practical advice and support to the those operating in the hospitality industry explained how she won the award.

“I was delighted when I won, my Twitter account exploded that night! I was told that my tweet got picked out as it was relevant, straight to the point and encapsulated what I do in a nutshell. Thousands enter each week and I had persevered for 9 months before finally winning in January 2020. The impact in terms of exposure, networking opportunities and growing my social media following has been superb, I would highly recommend all small business owners try their hand too.

Alison Magee Barker’s winning tweet is below.

Happy New Year @TheoPaphitis & @TheSBS_Crew. 2020 is all about clarity & vision for me, and I am the North’s answer to the “Hotel Inspector”. I’m Alison and I love to coach, train & work with hospitality owners to bring them the magic of success. #SBS www.ajlakes.com

Alison now joins an exclusive club of #SBS winners who are invited to events throughout the year and are entered onto the www.theopaphitissbs.com website too.

Theo says; “I admire people who have passion and energy. If you cannot bore your friends to death about your own small business then something is seriously wrong. I was struck by the number of business owners on Twitter who wanted to tell me about their new products and services. Small Business Sunday was born so that people have a specific time slot to tweet and can pitch their ‘sell’ directly to me.

“All my businesses are privately owned and entrepreneurial in spirit. My stationery firm Ryman has thousands of small business customers, which is why they are now kindly sponsoring #SBS. I want to offer benefits to #SBS winners, past and present and the link with the stationery retailer allows me to do this, so thank you CEO Kypros Kyprianou and Co.

“My vision is that everyone who has ever won an #SBS re-tweet from me becomes part of a friendly club. Like-minded individuals can share successes and learnings. This website will give a valuable profile to the winners chosen to date and should help those who have not yet won but want some tips on how to do so. You will find news about the latest winners plus events and activities of interest.

“I know I have been lucky in business and I am keen now to spread goodwill to others, of course not forgetting that very often, you make your own luck by making use of every opportunity.”

For those looking to enter Small Business Saturday, the instructions are below.

Follow @TheoPaphitis and @RymanStationery on Twitter.

Tweet about your business in 140 characters or less, directed to @TheoPaphitis, adding the hashtag #SBS.

Tweet on a Sunday between 5.00-7.30 PM.

Use humour and topicality if it feels natural to you.

Feel free to add a link or web address in your tweet.

Having a website increases your chances of being noticed.

Ensure your profile sells your business and has a link to your website. Include a colourful graphic.

It helps to know the names behind the business. #SBS is for small businesses. The personal touch is liked.

Just tweet once in each weekly time slot.

Look out for the re-tweets.

If you are not chosen, don’t despair and try again!

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