My Small Business Saturday Blogging Competition Winner Part 2


How to maximise on Small Business Saturday in 2017

Hopefully, you have read my previous posts pertaining to my Small Business Saturday Competition.

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In part 2, I want to share with you some of the tips you can employ, to help you maximise on Small Business Saturday 2017.

  • Build your database. Throughout the year you would have received calls, enquires and definitely sales.  Remember to capture and store safely and appropriately basic details of these interactions.  Collate first and last name, along with email address and maybe mobile numbers.  You can use tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact to help you manage this process.  On the next Small Business Saturday you can reward those customers for their loyalty, with a special offer or discount.
  • Share your story with your local press. Connect with the local media and let them know about any special activities you have going on for local residents.
  • Do your research. See what your local council or MP is doing to encourage customers to your area.  I personally travelled from Essex to Streatham, because of something I saw on Facebook from  their local MP.
  • Share your story with your sector press. Within your sector there are always publications which are read by fans and enthusiasts of your sector. Share your story and offers with them.
  • Show off that you are part of the campaign. Small Business Saturday UK is about energising local economies.  If you have a High Street presence, put up posters so that people can identify you as part of the campaign.  On that day, many people are deliberately seeking small businesses to support.
  • Collaborate.  With other small businesses.  Host an event or sponsor something to help a specific sector within your community.  This demonstrates the power of successful small businesses within your community.
  • Work with Bloggers.  Do not underestimate the power of working with bloggers to help you spread the word and increase brand awareness.
  • Make it obvious. Plan your 2017 Small Business Saturday activities.  It is a day to celebrate, so make it obvious, and make your store extra welcoming and engaging.
  • Don’t be afraid to run out of stock. This is an opportunity to take additional orders, capture details and deliver later

There are also national press coverage and campaigns for you to be part of.  Visit Small Business Saturday website for details and additional tips.



Deep in thought

I hope you enjoyed this two part post of my Small Business Saturday Challenge and Competition.

These tips were generated through my own personal experience on Saturday 3rd December 2016.

I have been spurred on to make this an annual campaign and I already have friends, who want to participate with me. If you want to nominate a business, follow me on any of my socials or here to find out when the details for entry are released.  Hi, my name is Nicola and this is my blog.  Enjoy!


My Small Business Saturday Blogging Competition Winner

At this moment, I am extremely happy with myself for three very good reasons.

  1.  I have just completed my very first blogging challenge and competition
  2. I have found a very worthy winner
  3. I am excited to share so many lessons with you.

Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I would just like to express my appreciation to all my readers. The beauty about this space are the limitless possibilities of creative expression. I am thoroughly enjoying this process. Thanks for your support!

Anyway, on with my post. Today, 3rd December 2016, I launched my very first Small Business Saturday Blogging Challenge and Competition. The intention of the competition is to support small businesses and also highlight great emerging brands.

I have never before just gone out to objectively shop and observe customer service, this was a new experience for me and it is an experience I encourage more of us do. It is amazing what you observe and how you easily connect with people. This experience was also great because I freely, without any limitations was able to accept every experience (good or bad) without getting overly emotional about it.

This year I was only able to cover:

  • East London
  • South East London
  • South London
  • North London

I visited, Redbridge, Greenwich, Streatham, Brixton, Tottenham, Stratford.  I was able to visit over 100 stalls and businesses across a variety of sectors, but there was one stand-out retailer for me in regards to customer service, which I will announce soon.


My overall experience 

When I started this challenge and competition, I entered it with an open mind and heart. I intended to identify as many shops as possible with the Small Business Saturday poster or signage in their shop window and just observe and/or purchase, as well as see how they dealt with other customers.  I also received nominations!

I have to say that I was extremely disappointed with the lack of independent stores that displayed a poster.  I am intrigued and I  ponder the following questions:.

  • Are they participating?
  • Are they aware of the campaign?
  • Do they consider themselves a small business?

I would honestly like to know.

However, what was also interesting was my varying interactions with retailers. Unfortunately, human interaction seems to be a dying skill and I was shocked at how many Shop Owners/ Assistants/ Helpers barely looked up from their screens when I walked through the door, and if they did, the interaction was little more than a ‘You okay?’ and back to their screens.

(They may have been tweeting to people to come down to their store – the irony).

I did not purchase anything from those retailers.

Another interesting thing is the dynamics within the boroughs. My two fave boroughs were Brixton and Greenwich. The community spirit in those boroughs is amazing. They both have a tangible sense of who they are. They differ greatly from each other but are equally compelling and welcoming. I liked and appreciated that a lot.

Just as an aside:
When I visited Brixton, I went to Windrush Square, where there was a selection of marquees. As I walked pass many stalls, most of them smiled and were inviting. But the lady from Fourchette Creole was so compelling it made me happy. With a beautiful smile, her ‘patter’ was:

“Would you like to try something nice to eat?”

She was warm and welcoming; you could not help but stop and engage. Loved her! And yes I purchased some food.


There were a number of businesses that impressed me, but the two I really enjoyed were:

Corkville in Greenwich and The Indigo Tree in Streatham.

Corkville, when I entered the store, the lady was on the phone. Literally within 15 secs she hung up, turned on her music and started to look after her customers, who had just entered. I tried on a couple of pairs of boots, (which I need to go back and purchase), but her knowledge and customer service was wonderful. The store layout was easy to navigate and all in all a very good experience.

The Indigo Tree. First, I have to say that I had no intention of visiting Streatham, it was only because last night I saw a video on Facebook by Chuka Umunna and his campaign to support small businesses that I decided to go there.

As I was walking up Streatham High Road, I was about to walk pass the shop when I noticed the Small Business Saturday Poster. It was low down, but visible. When you walked in the store, it was a combination of household decorations and greeting cards – I would call it Lifestyle Store. The atmosphere was homely, yet really professional. Their products are perfect gifts for people you love. But what was really good was the customer service.

  • I was ‘upsold’ a frame – I had no intention of buying but purchased it because it was not done in a pushy way.
  • The staff was young, friendly and really relaxed.
  •  They had good old fashion etiquette. A young man would open and close the door for the customers. Nice touch!
So we are proud to announce the winner of the: 2016 Marketing With Love Blogging Challenge  COMPETITION is

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Deep in thought

This post is one of two parts. In part 2, I will share with you the tactics you can implement to maximise on Small Business Saturday for your business.

In the meantime, congratulations to The Indigo Tree and thanks to the businesses who shared their information. For those of you, that I did not visit, I will visit soon.

I have been spurred on to make this an annual campaign and I already have friends, who want to participate with me. If you want to nominate a business, follow us on any of our socials or here to find out when the details for entry are released.  Hi, my name is Nicola and this is my blog.  Enjoy!

It helps to get your day started right

I have found that if my first thought in the morning is a positive thought or as soon as I am aware of being awake, I start to think of and process positive thoughts in my mind; my day is far more productive.


I am convinced that this behaviour is not just a spiritual thing, but it is also a biological thing. Prayer, meditation, and focus are just some of the things I do to jump start my day in the right way. In fact, I believe that anything that quiets your mind and helps you make conscious decisions must reap the same results. Things like Yoga, a morning walk or just writing in your journal are all traits utilised by many that demonstrate productively, positive lives.

I would not say that these things necessarily make your life perfect, but they do help to give you clarity and analyse every situation calmly.

Have a great day.


My final personal thoughts
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

I remember the days when the first thing I would do is watch the news.  It was usually filled with negative stories.  However, I noticed when someone had died (murdered etc) it would set me in a spiral of focusing on how awful the world was.  After 4 years of not watching the news as part of my morning routine, I have found that I can rationally learn about the events of the world without it disrupting my focus or my day.  Although I have the same level of empathy and compassion, I am able to function with the knowledge, without getting lost in the drama.

At what point do you start to believe?

pain-pushesIf you have read a few of my posts, you may get a sense that I have a spiritual foundation. I am very liberal when it comes to Religion. I honestly, do not think that there is one single right Religion, anymore than there is the ‘perfect family’. My instincts tell me that we are all more connected than many of us would like to acknowledge, but we individually have personal responsibilities to be good citizens of the world.  Anyway, that is not what this post is about!

This week I have been focused on working through a few personal situations. One of the things that happen’s to me while I am in the midst of challenges is that I neglect to follow that inner voice or instinct to do its thing and instead I have become an expert of allowing anxiety/fear to block those instincts.  Which is quite emotionally and physically destroying.

However, this week I tried an experiment that I found really successful.

I purposely, paid attention to the moments I became anxious, and instead of indulging in the anxiety, I decided to replace it with positive memories and thoughts of the successful things that had happened in the past.  I would recall how I felt, what I did instead of focusing on what I could not do or did not have.   I would purposely remember those times in the past when I followed my instinct, and it turned out right.  This helps to calm the nerves and allows me to move forward more proactively.

In the past, I have had moments when I was persuaded by others not to take action with something I was convinced was the right direction to go and subsequently (even after a long time), I was proven to be correct – (coulda, woulda, shoulda).   This memory bank of lessons helps me to learn the keys towards success and reminds me to believe in myself. There is something exhilarating about the power of believing in my instincts and listening to that inner voice, which always directs me down the right path.


My personal final thoughts
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

I was inspired to write this piece, because I am saddened when people give up on their dreams, due to not have enough faith in themselves. I am in no way perfect, but I do know one thing for sure, I have one life to live and I want to live it to the max

Trump’s victory could create a change in more ways than one

With Donald Trump as the next President of the United States of America, the world will see a change in a manner never seen, since the 1960s.


In a country where racial tensions are raising to the top of the country’s culture, you have to ask yourself, what are the implications of his victory?

One of the key factors of Trump’s campaign focuses on ‘I’ and not ‘We’.  And in a country where the individual actions of polarised individuals become the next viral social media sensation, we can surely expect to see an increase of ignorant actions of a few.  However, unlike the 1940’s and 1960’s where social media was non-existent for the masses, we live in a world where movement and retaliation comes from all directions.  Of course violence and political infighting is something many of us expect.  However, this is also an opportunity for economic empowerment for many more.

With smart thinking and a pro-active attitude, we can make a change, for those of us who are striving for a better society.  I believe that focusing on supporting and growing small businesses to become the big employers of the future, can be a key focus for change.  We as individuals can still work together to build the society we want to see.

This is an opportunity to actively support ‘marginalised’ businesses.  Businesses run by individuals who want to see change in our economy, in our society and in ourselves.

Businesses that do not ‘stereotypically’ receive the support of banks, are those businesses that have an opportunity to now galvanise communities and build infastructure. We can physically support our families, who struggle in our society to build a solid foundation for themselves, yes, we should look out for them.

Supporting independent businesses founded by women entrepreneurs.  Working with and building black owned businesses.  Encouraging our young entrepreneurs; are all key things we can focus our minds on and take action on TODAY!

With the contrast of Trumps multi-million $ empire, and his bully boy business tactics, we can leverage that behaviour to our advantage to do better and behave better.

Today, as Trump declares victory, we know that his Presidency does not limit or stop our ability to choose independently.  Today, we can choose, not to bow down to negativity, but build a better society for the masses.

We are our brother’s keeper.

My final personal thoughts
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

Hi, I am Nicola and this is my blog.  If you are reading this, you maybe wondering what next?  I am focused on what I can do to build a better society.  What is your intention.