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Small Business Saturday

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

We're supporting small businesses this winter with a Virtual Christmas Market, and for those businesses who we think offer something extra special we've sent them our new Q & A, hastily scribbled on the back of a (quite big actually) pandemic postcard. This week we are proud to share one from the UK founder and director of the Small Business Saturday Campaign herself, Michelle Ovens. Michelle works closely in advising both government and the private sector on small business policy and engagement. She is also the founder of Small Business Britain, the UK’s leading champion of small businesses and chair of the Small Business Charter.

Nine questions hastily scribbled on the back of a pandemic postcard with Michelle Ovens

1. What has 2020 taught you so far?

I think we have all realised how quickly and unexpectedly things can change – 2020 has been a major lesson in how to handle the things life can throw at you. It has really brought home to me how important it is to be open to the world around us changing. Adaptability is vital. Small businesses have come out fighting and ‘pivoting’ and shown us just how entrepreneurial they can be. That has been truly incredible to witness.

2. What is the best small business ‘oxygen mask’ piece of advice you could share?

This year has been very rocky, and many small businesses have grappled with a whole range of challenges, often with a lot of personal pressures on them too and not much of a rest. My main piece of advice when you feel like you are struggling would be to reach out and ask for help. There are fantastic communities and support networks out there. Whether you need new skills, a mentor to run ideas by, or just someone to talk to when you are feeling low, there are always solutions out there and people to help and support you if you look for them.

3. When is the last time you laughed out loud and why?

I honestly laugh out loud every day. I’m a big believer in finding the positives and humour in situations, even when things look bleak. I am really lucky to be surrounded by a lot of funny people - my husband, my daughter, my team and of course all the amazing small businesses I talk to and work with every day! However hard things are, there are always things to smile about.

4. What (& where) would be your dream meal?

I make it a mission to support small businesses as much as I can and have a fantastic little black book of great independent restaurants that I’ve chalked up over the years. Right now, I’m supporting my local pub, which does a fantastic takeaway fish and chips that has become something our household looks forward to a lot on Friday nights.

5. How do you think 2020 will be remembered?

This year has been so seismic on so many fronts across the globe, with the pandemic and the reignition of a major civil rights movement. It will surely go down in history as a huge catalyst for change; accelerating our reliance on digital technology, changing the way we interrogate history and shaking up industries and the way we work. Despite these major global events, each of us will have had a very personal experience of 2020 that we won’t forget, so it will also trigger a lot of unique memories for people for a long time I’m sure.

6. If your business life story was going to be played in a film of your life, who would play you and what would the film be called?

This is a hard one! I’d call it ‘Great and Small’, a comedy drama about the amazing UK small business community. I imagine it might have a Richard Curtis feel, so I’d love a fabulous British actress like Olivia Coleman to play me.

7. Sum up your business style in five words or less

Informal, passionate, direct and focused on people and our mission to support small businesses.

8. What’s the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen in your life?

My daughter Holly

9. What’s the first thing you will do when we come out of this pandemic?

Go to Rome, it’s my favourite place in the world. I was meant to run a marathon there earlier this year, so I want to get back out there in the crowd, with lots of hugs at the end! I’ve been running most days in lockdown to get me through.

Michelle was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2015 for Services to Enterprise. Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which celebrates small business success and encourages consumers to 'shop local' and to support businesses in their communities. In its eighth year Small Business Saturday is the UK's most successful small business campaign, which last year saw an estimated £800m spent with small businesses across the UK on Small Business Saturday.

This year, with the impact of Covid-19 and another lockdown, Small Business Saturday’s mission has never been more important.

If you would like a chance to be featured in our Virtual Christmas Market or want to nominate a small business who you think our members would love, then just fill out the simple form and we'll get back to you!

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