Little did I think when we started #SMEcommunity that we would have over 3ooo interested small businesses and tweet ups around the country. If you had told me 18 months ago that over 100 small businesses would be gathered in the County Arms Hotel from all over the country, North and South, or that those who could not attend would be tweeting support, to such a level that #Birr2012 would be trending at number 3 in Ireland, I would have thought “the idea is great but not sure about getting Businesses from the 32 county’s into one hotel on the same day”. Surely that would be a huge task.
I knew from day one that there was power and passion within the #SMEcommunity. These small businesses in Ireland have such an amazing outlook and will rise to any challenge. After the 32 County tweet up I am in no doubt that businesses in Ireland are strong, open minded, and ready to take on whatever they encounter.; Most importantly they are ready to offer and learning to ask for help when needed J Asking for help is tough, it took me a while to feel comfortable asking.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Andrew Carnegie
Once we decided to go for it and organise a 32 county tweet up, everything seemed to fall into place. Debbie McDonnell, Kehlan Kirwan, and Be Rowland, got stuck in and helped every step of the way. The teamwork from people who met on twitter and have now become firm friends has been amazing. The Community rallied round and spread the word, sent in offers and discounts, asked their friends and turned up on the day in huge numbers. The positive athmosphere was enough to put a smile on everyones face.
What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the kind. ~Cleveland Amory
This got me to asking WHY? Why is this such a success? What do we offer each other that would encourage us to turn up in such numbers? Then something that Kehlan Kirwan from FocuSMEireland said suddenly clicked. “Tweet us when you get home, because we care”; these words came so natural to Kehlan and it is what the community has been doing for the last 8 months. Caring
There is a genuine desire in the #SMEcommunity to help and support each other. I love the fact that we say good morning, give each other encouragement before we go out there and get our business going for the day. This is like a social gathering and when we come up against an obstical, all we need to do is ask #SMEcommunity. When something great happens, no matter how small, we are all ready to celebrate. J Just by tweeting we give each other a confidence boost to get out there and go for it.
The 32 county meet up started with a wonderful welcome by the county arms; we were greeted with tea and coffee, and macarons from Armelle’s Kitchen. Again, a great example of small businesses supporting each other, the fact that one small business, Talent Pool, bought the macarons from another small business was wonderful.
Getting everyone to the ballroom was a bit of a challenge as people were engrossed in conversation, not to mention answering the phone to what I thought was someone asking for directions, only to discover it was Minister John Perry wishing us a great day from Leinster house .To know that the government are aware of #SMEcommunity was really exciting.
TD Marcella Corcoran Kennedy’s P.A came to chat and mingle, as Marcella had a meeting in Stormont. Marcella’s phoned to wish us well and offer any support she could in the future. Who would have thought that’s a group of small businesses would have such an impact, but as Annita Roddick’s quote says
“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito”.
The rest of the day was just magic; George Mordaunt taught us that it is ok to fall, just get back up and deal with it. J Vincent Byrne told us to set unrealistic goals and be happy then when you achieve more than expected. Chris Gordon told us about the Export Co-Op which came into existence with the support of #SMEcommunity.
He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.
What I loved was that there was no airs and graces, everyone was themselves, we hugged, we laughed and most of all we cared enough about each other to come to Birr or tweet about it. There were business cards everywhere, I met our accountant for the 1st time and Stuart was just as nice in real life as he is on twitter, phewJ
So what have I learnt:
So let’s have another great year in #SMEcommunity and please don’t forget the essence. Make friends, chat, take an interest in other peoples businesses, re tweet if you like something but most of all be there for each other and ask for help if you need it.