Wonderful spending an hour this afternoon chatting with like minded people all about Small Business Saturday, and thank you very much to the University of Manchester (where I studied Law) to ask me to be involved. Having run my own small business for almost 20yrs now and being resolutely self-employed for all of my working life, it’s always fascinating hearing other people’s stories and views. I think we were all of the opinion that tomorrow’s national support for small businesses is a Very Good Thing and it was great to cyber meet the UoM hosts Jon Keighren – PR guru at UoM, Martin Henery – Enterprise Lecturer & entrepreneur, George Konsta – founder of Manchester Social Entrepreneurs, and also Kate Day -Director at one of my favourite places the Manchester Craft Centre and Sarah Giblin -Man Uni alumni and creator of Riut and the backwards backpack. A super impressive bunch of Manchester connected people.
It was amazing for me that although none of the questions were scripted or topics pre-decided, so much of the conversation resonated with what I do on a day to day basis to or have planned. It served to prove that all the people involved were all very much of the same ilk and the same kind of mindset with the same interests, even though we had such different backgrounds and experiences. For example:
Martin raved about a company called Interface who he visited in Holland recently – we have their tiles at Withington Baths and I’ve specified them for clients as they have such a great philosophy and featured them here on the blog. He spoke of a fantastic local non-chain cinema, right after we’d watched Spectre last night at the fab new Heaton Moor Savoy.
Sarah talked about buying the perfect gift from Manchester Craft Centre and it being all the more special because of talking to the maker – I bought my sister a gorgeous ring for a ‘big’ birthday and felt exactly the same way about it! Far far better than buying from a faceless web-site or chain jewellers.
Kate chatted about an initiative going on tomorrow called Hey Clay where members of the public are encouraged to go and throw a pot with local craft pottery makers – guess what I’m doing for my birthday tomorrow?!
I’m super passionate about using local businesses every week and in turn about people using our social enterprise at Withington Baths.
So…. my advice is get out there tomorrow and get into the small businesses in your area. Eat in their restaurants, scoff their cakes, shop for their produce, buy your Christmas presents from them, swim in their pools, watch their films and generally give them your support, your love and your MONEY!
And as I said at the end of the chat, in the same way that a dog is not just for Christmas, small businesses are not just for Small Business Saturday – make sure you use them for the rest of the year too x