Where were you on Tuesday 12th Feb? Birmingham with the SBS crew? You and your small business missed out if not and here is why …

So last Tuesday was a very special day for me, Nicole, and for Pinpoint Marketing. As an SBS winner (SBS is the brainchild of successful businessman and philanthropist Theo Paphitis, Dragons’ Den star), a guest (my friend and website business associate Jo Dickie) and I were invited to the ICC in Birmingham for a jam packed day of networking, learning, celebrating and making plans. I won my #SBS award back in October this annual event was my first one. I had heard so many great things about the event from the previous winners on Twitter and Facebook and they were not overselling it at all I since found out.

From the Google talk, which was full of tips, to the Cyber Security advice, to the networking, catering, headshot photo area by HP, goody bags, exhibition stands, sponsor session and all the breakouts (hosted by winners, including me, but more on that later – Simply Bows and Graffiti Life), it was so educational, inspiring and it genuinely made me proud to be a winner but to also be a business owner of a UK based small business. The highlight, apart from meeting the man himself and getting my photo taken with him as he presented my winners certificate, was the conversation on stage between Theo Paphitis and Sir Tom Hunter. The take home message from this session as a business owner was definately to keep dreaming. To hear from inspiring business gurus who had been there and done it was very very motivational.

So onto my workshop! In January, the SBS crew asked for winners who would consider giving one of the breakout sessions. I put my hand up, whilst panicking slightly, and a few emails and chats later, they liked my idea of presenting what is marketing, how to plan it and how to measure as a workshop with handouts, advice, tips and stories. They kindly promoted the session for me as part of the agenda and event build up and it was really well attended. I couldn’t of been more proud of myself and thrilled I was able to help the people and the businesses in the room with my experience. The feedback to the session included the word fabulous and I have seen posts saying some of the attendees/winners had already started putting the tips to create a marketing plan into place! Wow! So thanks to the crew for allowing little old me to be part of such a prestigious and high calibre agenda and to all those who came to listen to me on the day. I have emailed out the handout to some winners who couldn’t make the marketing workshop session on the day.

I urge all the small businesses out there to get on board the SBS train, keep dreaming and enter just like I did. You have to be in it to win it as they say.  The increase in Twitter followers, the support, the networking, the opportunities and the learning journey are just a few of the reasons why you must go for it from this Sunday onwards! Find out more about #SBS here

SBS is celebrating its 8th birthday and there have been 2500 winners and around 700 were there on the. With over 370,000 applications, us worthy winners account for less than 1% of the entrants. Wow, wow, wow! Thank you Theo, your crew and SBS!


Many of us will be using Valentines Day to improve our relationships.

I see the marketing services I offer very much like engagement and marriage. Once I have find a client or a client finds me through engaging content and putting myself out there, we then move the relationship on.

So why should you engage a marketing expert like me to support you and your business?

  • We are cheaper than a platinum rock
  • We don’t leave mess lying around
  • We don’t hog the remote control

But we do ask you for

  • Your time and involvement
  • Your input and action
  • Answer our calls and emails
  • Commit yourselves to our relationship for the time it lasts

My call to action is to ask you to engage with Pinpoint the website. Go online, look around and see everything that we have to offer. If you see something you like, ask us for a date and we chat all things marketing.

Please also share the love and connect with us on social media.

Thank you.


Nicole Martin of Pinpoint Marketing

What is personal branding? – guest blog from Niki of The Style Hall

What is personal branding? Personal branding is what makes you unique, the brand you create for yourself and how others perceive you. Creating the right personal brand for you will maximise your potential and ensure others will see you in the way you wish to be perceived.

So how can you get started?  We judge people within the first few seconds of meeting them The majority of this judgement is based on the way you look and how you behave as we have nothing else to go on.  Therefore your handshake, voice, eye contact, business card and online presence says a lot about you as well as the way your dress.

What are your business corporate brand values? Think of 3-5 adjectives that would represent these values.  How can you interpret these values into the way you portray yourself?

If you work as a designer and want to look “creative, professional and approachable” a black business suit is unlikely to give the creative flair you are hoping for. However, if you are a solicitor wanting to look professional then the black business suit will instil confidence in your clients.

Think about how you can use colour in your dress.  What colours suit you and do you feel comfortable in?  What do those colours mean? For example, red is a dynamic, confident colour but be careful not to wear too much of it as it can come across as aggressive. Whereas blue is a much safer colour and seen as professional & trustworthy. The darker the shade, the stronger the message.

Pick out a few colours that you love to wear and create a theme throughout your clothes to make dressing easy. What shapes suit you? Dress to suit your body shape. If you have a waist, ensure you accentuate it as big and baggy clothing will always make you look bigger than you are. If you have a big bust ensure necklines are not too high, but not too low to be inappropriate for the workplace. To make life easy you could create your own ‘uniform’.  For example, if you are most comfortable in a certain style of dress then buy 5 or 6 dresses in similar styles, but different colours. Then accessorise with a jacket or cardigan, scarf and jewellery with the colour theme running through. Ensure you wear make up, even if it is just lipstick and mascara as it shows you have made an effort.

Use these colours and styles in your marketing. This will create a consistency and a brand that people will trust. Finally, always check yourself in a full length mirror before you go out of the door to ensure that your clothes are shouting those adjectives back at you and are instilling you with confidence.

Niki Hall runs The Style Hall, a Buckinghamshire based Image Consultancy. Helping you to feel great about the way you dress. www.thestylehall.co.uk  If you would like Niki’s help she would love to hear from you, give her a call on 07891 086162.

Commercial Photography – The Benefits. Guest blog from Michaela Greene

Commercial photography is an area where images are captured to sell or market a business, product or person. The photographs will be used on websites, for packaging, marketing material, billboards, annual reports and leaflets. The areas a commercial photographer may shoot in are for products, people, aerial, events, architectural, food and fashion photography.

One of the main abilities a commercial photographer needs to undertake is in correctly understanding the brief, the business and the vision, in order to take photographs that promote a business in the right way.

Companies can always turn to photo libraries or attempt to do the photography themselves. However can you always find the appropriate images in photos libraries to convey the right message? Does it show your business in a professional light, by using photos you have done yourselves? There is an initial investment in employing a commercial photographer, but for the reasons below this can be of great benefit to a companies profile and profits.

Strong images go towards creating that important first impression, whether it is to evoke the kind of feelings you need to draw customers in, or to depict your product at its best.

Portraits on a website enable customers to get to know the team who is selling to them or providing a service.

A strong set of photographs really shows customers what you have to offer, rather than just describing in words.

It also creates a professional message for your business which in turn brings in clients and promotes sales. Low quality, unprofessional photos will communicate the same message about your business.

Commissioned photos are important in order to highlight what is unique about your business and to express the right feel which will tie in with brand identity.

Having photographs on your website, provides the opportunity for them to be optimized, which creates a better chance for your website to be found. Also the visual engagement, will hopefully keep customers longer on the web pages.

What better way to show how a company operates or product in use, than to photograph it in action in a dynamic, documentary way.

In conclusion professional commercial photographs will enable personality and individuality to be expressed, as well as creating the kind of impact that will engage customers to buy your products or use your services.

Michaela Greene – Commercial Photographer