MWB Business Exchange, Central London

EVENT: Business Growth Show

LOCATION: MWB Business Exchange, Central London

DATE: November 4 2011

PHOTOS: Flickr / Facebook


  • Interactive workshop with SMS marketing firm Txtlocal
  • Seminar with motivational speaker Brad Burton
  • Speed networking
  • Open networking
  • Exhibitors

On November 4 2011 attended the Business Growth Show, an up-and-coming road show that brings together businesses of all sizes in fun and exciting ways.

The show travels around the country, taking in a variety of locations including the capital, so that all businesses can benefit from the intensive programme of speeches, networking and workshops.

The exhibitors were a great bunch, made up of not only small businesses working in a variety of niches (marketing, commercial photography, employment law – to name just a few!), but also larger organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses and Companies House, and the Intellectual Property Office.

This gave attendees a valuable opportunity to network – there were useful contacts there for everyone, from those just starting their business to established firms looking to move up the ladder. Over time we’ve found that the more diverse the exhibitors, the more the potential worth to SMEs who may, after all, be working in very specific niches.

In addition to the exhibition there were three speed networking sessions. These rapid-fire exchanges were broken up into two minute segments, in which two entrepreneurs had a minute each to explain the nature of their business and decide if they could work together in the future. When the whistle blew everyone moved one place to the right and started the process again. Thirty minutes later and we were exhausted!

The morning speed networking session was followed by a seminar with Brad Burton, a renowned motivational speaker and author of the very frank business books ‘Get Off Your Arse and ‘Get Off Your Arse Too.’ Burton presented a speech on the nature of entrepreneurship and the ways to increase your chances of business success.

Following Burton’s seminar there was a second round of speed networking, followed by an afternoon workshop hosted by Txtlocal, an SMS marketing platform that allows businesses of all sizes to harness the power of text messages to send special offers and other information to local customers.

Brad Burton seminar

Brad Burton’s top tips

  • For a week or two weeks, write down on a scale of 1 – 10 how hard you’ve worked on each day. Chances are you’ll average around a four or a five – this needs to rise if you’re starting your own business
  • The person who succeeds in business is often the one who’s daft enough to stay on their feet – perseverance is often the difference between succeeding and failing. Brad himself failed eight times before succeeding
  • The reality of starting a business can be depressing – no sales, no contacts – but once you realise this you can take steps to make progress
  • Anything that doesn’t make you money is procrastinating – and if you’re not making money, your business is not a business but a hobby
  • Don’t worry about processes until you’ve got sales
  • In business, the difference between you and your competitors will come down to price unless you have a USP – that’s a game changer
  • People pass on referrals because they know, like and trust you
  • A business sale is done in the first two minutes of a conversation; you need two minutes to network, not 1 hour.

The wisdom of Brad Burton:

  • "Corporate rules don’t work in the self-employed world"
  • "If your business is crashing it’s your fault, your responsibility. You’ve got to stick with it"
  • "It’s never too late to change direction"
  • "When networking, sell nothing other than yourself"
  • "Sometimes you have to make decisions for yourself, without listening to the opinions of others"
  • "When networking, never look at anyone with a £ sign over their head (never over estimate any one)"
  • "If I'd listened to people who said my idea wouldn't have worked, they'd have been right."

Insights from Txtlocal workshop

Txtlocal is a mobile messaging platform that uses SMS messages to market to a localised or national customer base.




  • SMS is not spam – if customers opt-in to receive messages from you, there’s no problem, and you have a direct method of marketing that reaches your audience almost instantly
  • Builds relationships – a personal and discrete method of communication
  • Fast and targeted – 97.5 percent of messages are read within five seconds
  • Increases ROI – 66 percent more likely to respond to SMS than email.

Improving internal comms

  • Easier scheduling – staff notes, times of meetings
  • Improve logistics – communicate with delivery staff or sales staff
  • Reduce overheads – replace interview confirmation letters with texts
  • Bulk notices – snow information, announce competition results etc.
  • Employee feedback – quick and easy to receive and collate.

SMS and mobile web

Text messages are not standalone services – they can be integrated with the mobile web easily and effectively, allowing you to build multi-channel campaigns.

  • QR code to SMS – “text YES to 66773 to receive a call back”
  • Personalised link in SMS message to mobile website

SMS messages offer an advantage over mobile websites and applications, both of which are expensive and often unneeded for SMEs. However, combining a QR code with a text message and a call back, or basic landing page, allows SMEs to use a variety of mediums at minimal cost.