Slough Chamber of Commerce Awards Saucy Horse Most promising business

Tracy lovingly caresses an award we DIDN'T win...

In all my business dealings – in fact, in most of my dealings full stop, I’ve tried very hard to avoid the dreadful “B'” duo – Boring & Bland. I’ve always tried to think about things differently, and as a result prompt my clients to do the same.
With that in mind, our businesses have never settled back into the cushions of comfort & normality – starting with their Baptisms. We’ve been proud proprietors of the “Happy Fish Group”, “Spanish Siren Promotions” and, latterly, “Saucy Horse Video” & “Saucy Horse Social Media“. The names are different to many of those in their sectors – in fact when we first set up Happy Fish, most design agencies were called Smith & Jones or Sanders, Vere & Crane or even Saatchi & Saatchi – those owners set up businesses using their names, much like solicitors and accountants still do, because that was the norm then. We decided to differentiate ourselves on that basis, which meant we got a lot of interest very early on (and a lot of calls from people enquiring whether we could stock their aquariums 😉 – and that was interest that we used to our advantage, quickly gaining a reputation for being an innovative and inventive place to work. Obviously we had to back up a catchy name with some damn fine creatives – which we did. And that is why we were soon being chosen by MTV, BBC & BSkyB to do lots of great work.
I digress – my point is that my fave star business advice is opined in a much more succinct and pithy way (surprise, surprise… we are talking Nigel Botterill here – Ed) by one of the UK’s most successful small business entrepreneurs – his phrase is “Don’t be Vanilla” and for me, that’s really what it’s all about.
Differentiate your business by being great – at what you sell, do, make – and also how you look after your customers. Lots more about that elsewhere but for now, proof for you of how being anything but Vanilla can make your business stand out…
Back in February we were contacted by the Senior Business Manager for the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce – Slough, East Berkshire region – and asked if we would enter the forthcoming business awards. Nothing unusual there you might say… but we are a new business and we have not embarked on the sort of traditional marketing that may traditionally have been relied on to get businesses out there and visible in the market. The sole reason that they found us was our visibility on the Social Media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, where we ensure we comment, take part, offer advice on a regular basis… and you could well argue that our business name helps us stand out there, although I like to think it’s all about our content 😉
Saucy Horse Video & Social Media Most Promising Business 2011

Saucy Horse Video & Social Media - Most Promising Business 2011 - Runner Up

Cut a long story short – we went along to the swanky gala dinner & awards ceremony, which was really well organised –  had a fab time and met some great local business people. When the results were announced… we were runners up in Most Promising Business 2011 & also runners up in Micro Business 2011. Gives us something to aim for next year!
The great thing about Awards events is not only the PR that comes with them  but also the exposure. There’s no way we would have been able to take advantage of that if we hadn’t put ourselves out there on the social media business platforms with some non-vanilla content in the first place and got ourselves noticed!
And finally, back to the question of Vanilla vs Tutti Frutti, here’ s the summing up of why we didn’t win…
“The judges saw your company as a very strong entrant. The only reason it didn’t win on this occasion was due to its infancy when compared to the other entrants. Nevertheless, in speaking to all of the judges, staff and many people on the night, the one company name they all remember is ‘Saucy Horse’. All judges felt that this is a company to watch so next year could herald some wins!”
Gavin Spencer, Senior Business Manager – Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group
Email received after the awards –
“I’ve just been reading through a press release of the 2011 Slough Chamber Awards and of course with an arresting name like Saucy Horse amongst the finalists, I just had to find out what on earth Saucy Horse was all about so have visited your website, where I found your email address.  Just wanted to say a friendly, local ‘congrats’ on making it all the way to the finals of the Micro Business Award (and I really, really love the company name!!!)”
Angela Hunter-Dobson, Managing Director – 10again
So, what are you doing to make your business stand out from the crowd? If you’re looking for suggestions, subscribe to my blog today and I’ll be feeding you lots of great tips over the next few weeks…