Southampton Small Business Association
It’s been a while!

Hi guys! so i have been awful with this blog, but its only because i have been out working so hard :) our 3rd meeting is fast approaching - 18th July. This is swiftly followed by business speaking with Claire Godwin on 19th AND the 3AC craft fair on the 21st. Definitely something for everyone! 

SSBA can also now announce an exciting new collaboration with pie magazine - they will be publishing articles written moi on the trials and tribulations of owning a business. 

Responding to your wishes - we are setting up a series of social networking seminars for August and we hope to see you there. There re4ally is so much to say, but i just don’t have the energy left tonight so i promise a full update will be written shortly. As always please get in touch and tell us your views - i want to start publishing the voice of the small business right here! 

Warm Wishes in this horrible weather!

Kelly x

2nd meeting

Hi guys, 

Next meeting is 6th June 5-7 at the third age centre. Here in the SSBA camp we are very excited about this meeting! Firstly, because there is so much going on to tell you about, but secondly because it is a really great chance for networking, and to show off our fancy new digs! Can’t wait to see you all there, and this meeting is interactive, we would really like your say in the agenda. As always please get in touch and have your say!

xx

Third Age Centre!

Hi guys! This last week has been really busy, in the best possible way :-) Here are some updates for you - 

SSBA is now officially working with step across CIC to give the third age centre a community revamp - this is really exciting as the building is in the city centre, They are located on Cranberry Terrace, so i feel it can become a real community hub. I am currently working to utilise the building as it has lots of available office, meeting and conference space and as a charity, their prices are extremely reasonable, even more so for community orientated projects and businesses. 

They also support many amazing local social enterprises, such as books for free and awaaz community radio. Oh and look out for Bev Newman from bits and bobs and her craft orientated social sessions, workshops and child classes to name but a few of her amazing projects! 

I myself, along with Sams Technical Support, have just moved into a lovely office in the building so you can catch me there as well! Feel free to pop in, introduce yourself to me, Sam or the step across guys Ross and Steve - who are lovely! 

Check out the website to see whats going on: www.thirdagecentre.co.uk 

Also in the pipeline from the SSBA is a bookkeeping drop in session, which will hopefully take place on 11th June. There is lots more going on too, so keep watching for further updates - there are some really great things in the pipeline. Kelly x

the story so far …

‘Help for small businesses’

By Ben Shelley

We’ve all seen the devastating effect that the recession has had on the economy and on the 26th February 2012 Kelly Collins founded the SSBA (Southampton Small Business Association) to provide a lifeline for small businesses starting up in a post recession world.

Originally founded as a Facebook group the SSBA aims to provide free advice and guidance to new businesses starting out in this post recession environment, to help them avoid common pitfalls when starting their new business. Within one week of being live the group accumulated over 100 members, which Kelly fondly recalls;

“I was taken aback by the generosity of the members. People who had never met me before were joining the group, offering skills and services while asking for very little in return and it made me realise that there is a gap in the market which I hope the SSBA can fill”.

Moving forward the SSBA has now doubled its number of members and on 22nd April put on its first members meeting at the Art House in Southampton. The meeting provided members with the opportunity to hear a presentation from Kelly outlining the company’s past, present and future direction and goals. Members were also able to participate in a question and answer session with Kelly and other members of the group. Matt Mills, a Freelance Graphic and Artistic Designer, was present at the meeting and commented on the current success of the business and why he got involved with the project;

“Kelly’s email couldn’t have come at a better time, myself and my brother were looking at ways of promoting and expanding our businesses and the offer couldn’t have been more perfect. I always say that the best advice comes from experience and the SSBA offers businesses a wide range of industry experience and expertise which is invaluable to a new business starting out”.

Now encompassing many social networking platforms such as Twitter, Linkedin and Tumbler the SSBA is continuing to make rapid progress and show that the sum is greater than the whole of its parts. A dedicated website and blog have also been set up and are available for members to use.

When asked what’s next for the SSBA Kelly said;

“I want to pursue the idea of pop up shops, plan the next meeting and of course keep promoting the brand and raise awareness of what we are doing as I strongly feel that the SSBA can make a difference”.

Promote - Network - Share - Grow 

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein
First Meeting

Hi :)

SSBA held its first meeting on Sunday, and it went really well. I had a great time, and received a lot of feedback on the best way to help members. I am currently sending out newsletters and minutes to those who couldn’t make it, so if you would like this just get in touch and let me know. 

Kelly x

Update

Hi guys, 

Its been a busy few weeks! there are many new partnerships forming, i will say more on that when the details are finalised but rest assured there is a lot of excitement in the SSBA camp right now :D

Also, we met with the journalist and the story should be finished by the end of April, so watch this space! Our PR campaign will also be up and running in the near future and, as the first meeting draws closer, i have been working on the plans for the evening. Please feel free to get involved, why not email me and let me know what you would like from the meeting? Any input would be great! 

More to come, keep reading ;)

Kelly x

and…Action

Hi guys, back after my week away and refreshed and ready for work again :)

We are pulling together with red mountain PR to devise a strategy, working on the content of our first meeting this month and have won our first consultancy contract with sams technical support whereby we do an unofficial audit of the business and recommend areas for improvement and ways to organise. This is an exciting time, but a lot of work! First port of call for Sam is Geko creative who are designing a new logo, flyers and promotional material for his business. 

I am at present taking on board requests for what members would like to see at the meeting, for example do you want time to talk? would a Q & A be helpful? anything you think is a good idea, let me know at kellycollins88@hotmail.co.uk

There is so much going on right now, as always fundraising is also an issue - any ideas here would be greatly appreciated! 

Now is a really good time to get involved with SSBA as we are going from strength to strength, and we love new members. Get in touch guys :)

Update

So the fundraiser is now ongoing via facebay, as it came to our attention that students are poor at this time of year! We made a massive £25 over a 5 hour period on the stall on monday!

SSBA are also teaming up with eco business cards which are made from 100% recyclable products and laser cut, rather than using ink. I am fronting the business which has small overheads, and therefore small prices! I think they are going to be a hit, and there has already been interest for them!

On the topic of eco friendly, we had a meeting to promote our cards on Monday, which went really well and gave the SSBA a lot of eco ideas! watch this space for updates…

Aside from that, SSBA is once again teaming up with SIFE Solent and is off to London next month for some networking and promotion. I also met with a representative of a small london PR company to discuss a partnership with them. 

So, all in all things are pretty exciting right now! Keep reading :) xx

Approved members logo, courtesy of Matt Mills, Geko Creative 

Approved members logo, courtesy of Matt Mills, Geko Creative 

it’s all coming together

So, our first fundraiser is Monday, its a very small affair - a stall at solent uni, but my lovely members have really got involved with stock! If it goes well, the next one will be bigger :) Members donating stock include: Sam Collins of Sam’s Technical Support, Caroline Snook with Avon and Amy Stuttard of little penguin creations. Many more are being confirmed too! I love that people are getting involved with our message - keep going guys!

We also have our first crop of approved members and a confirmed journalist covering the SSBA story. I can’t wait to get this story written so we can start to get some real publicity! 

Really exciting time to get behind SSBA!

Kelly x

Publicity

There is a small chance we have found ourselves a journalist :) Fingers crossed…

Kelly x

Next Steps…

I am currently looking for a publication who is willing to do a piece on SSBA. Can anyone help? Publicity is what we need!

Also, i am looking to hold a community event to showcase the talents of our members and raise funds for SSBA at the same time. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

and as always, get involved, spread the word and reap the benefits :)

Cheers guys, 

Kelly x

The SIFE UK pitch went very well today! Not only did the Solent team get through to the National Competition at London’s Canary Wharf (Go Team!!) but also the Southampton Small Business Association was well received by the panel of judges! 
In light of today’s success, SSBA if officially partnering with SIFE Solent because together we can offer you so much more!
I would really like to get some feedback about what my members would like from SSBA right now. You guys all know the support and advice is always available, but it’s time for some action :) Let me know guys …
Kelly X

The SIFE UK pitch went very well today! Not only did the Solent team get through to the National Competition at London’s Canary Wharf (Go Team!!) but also the Southampton Small Business Association was well received by the panel of judges! 

In light of today’s success, SSBA if officially partnering with SIFE Solent because together we can offer you so much more!

I would really like to get some feedback about what my members would like from SSBA right now. You guys all know the support and advice is always available, but it’s time for some action :) Let me know guys …

Kelly X

SIFE UK

So today is the day of SSBA’s first big pitch. SIFE UK is part of a global network that support community enrichment projects. Presenting my ideas to them is both terrifying and really exciting for the growth of Southampton Small Business Association. I hope my nerve holds out! See you on the other side :)


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