Sunday, 28 August 2011

David Barton #SBS Winner picked by Theo Paphitis

Dragon’s ‘Tweet’ Icing on the Cake

the past 10 years, I have worked as a private music teacher, specialising in teaching flute, piano and singing. I have also done a lot of work as a piano accompanist, and am a published composer. I’ve also done quite a bit of freelance writing, and have recently launched my own range of unique musical greetings cards. All these individual bits of work go to make David Barton Music ( what it is today (it is now fashionably called a ‘Portfolio Career’!).

I’ve been entering #SBS for a few months now; I’ll admit that the entries have been made when I remember rather than on a religiously regular basis: after all, like most entrants, I never expected to win. But, in the end, persistence paid off. I sent the message as usual just after 5pm on Sunday night. I didn’t expect to hear anything, then just after 9pm, my phone started going mad with Tweets. At first I couldn’t understand it, and then realisation dawned that I must have been chosen (although I still didn’t see the original Tweet!). My Tweet, highlighting David Barton Music, was chosen and promoted to Theo Paphitis’ 161,000 followers. We beat around 1,000 entrants to be selected as one of the six on the 21st August.

The ‘SBS’ selection came as the icing on the cake, coinciding exactly with the 10th anniversary of my first day of teaching. I felt very lucky and hugely excited to be chosen. There is a common misconception that private music teachers such as myself only teach ‘on the side’; Theo’s backing of small businesses such as David Barton Music hopefully dispels such a myth.

So, with the coveted #SBS in hand, what next? Initially, I wasn’t sure what to do: like many winners, I hadn’t really thought of what comes next! The most important thing initially was to try and get to grips with the hundreds of Tweets and messages flooding in. I gave up trying to reply to them all quite early on! So far, I’ve gained just over 100 new followers from all over the UK. It has been good to chat, and indeed, ‘network’ with them over the past week. They represent so much of what is good about small business in the UK, and denote a diverse and exciting array of different setups.

I suppose the initial phase of an #SBS ‘win’ is about numbers. With an increase in followers, also came an increase in website hits: nearly quadruple the number of the previous week so far, and we’re still counting. I suppose the burning question for everyone is, does it translate into business? Well, that’s something only time will tell. I have learnt that Twitter is more than anything about awareness. People get to know you and what you offer; even if they aren’t interested, they might recommend it to someone who is. I am lucky in that the things I offer will appeal on a local, national and international level.

On the advice of the wonderfully enterprising ShellyBobbins, I issued a press release to local newspapers and websites – something which had not occurred to me as being worth doing! The next day, I had a phone call from a reporter at the Express & Star who was very excited about the news; they have also asked me to follow it up in a few weeks to let them know the impact of the #SBS: they may even run a follow-up story. Today, an article appeared in another local paper, the Lichfield Mercury. It is all good publicity and getting the message out there about what you do is hugely important to small businesses.

I’m sure it won’t be long before my website sports its special #SBS badge, and with two days of the #SBS week still to go, who knows what will happen! I am very grateful, as no doubt all winners are, to ShellyBobbins for offering such prompt and entrepreneurial advice!

With over 5,000 lessons and at least 150 pupils ‘under his belt’, I am looking forward to my 11th year of teaching with renewed vigour, helped by the support, albeit virtual, of a certain BBC Dragon.

thank you for your kind words and also for such an inspiring story congratulations on winning #SBS Small Business Sunday

Love Shellybobbins xxx

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