If you’re a woman running her own business, you’ll know the importance of making connections with like-minded people. Without connections and a network of our peers around us, we have nobody to build relationships or to share our entrepreneurial journeys with. But while we acknowledge its importance, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to networking. Do you join formal groups or informal ones? Mixed events? Or women only? Large or small? There are so many things to consider. But why exactly should you join a women’s networking group? Here are five reasons:
1. Sharing common challenges
One great reason to join a women’s networking group is the opportunity to share common challenges, and use each other as sources of mutual support. As well as being business-related, these challenges are often about more than that. Running a business is hard in itself, but when you add in balancing that with our broader lives – children, looking after ageing parents and so on – things can get even more difficult. And so knowing that you have the support of people who are walking the same path can be hugely beneficial.
2. More informal
Mixed networking events can bring great benefits to your business, but they can often feel quite ‘corporate’ and formal, which can in turn make them feel rather intimidating. This can be especially true if you’re new to networking, or if you find the process daunting. Instead, women-only events can feel more welcoming, making it feel easier to start those all-important conversations, and even to walk into the room in the first place.
We all know how important it is, as business owners, to keep learning, and fortunately, women’s networking groups often have an emphasis on knowledge-sharing, which is another fundamental part of growing another business. Many events involve a speaker – either a group member or someone who has been specifically invited – and therefore an opportunity to learn something new. Some also offer opportunities for 1-to-1s, either during or after the meeting. So it’s really worth approaching women’s networking events having considered what you want to learn, as well as who you want to meet.
4. Trust and vulnerability
For many, networking can feel like work. Doing it properly takes a lot of prepataion, and when you’re there on the day, it can feel like there is a huge pressure to ‘sell’. But the more supportive, rather than sales-focussed, feel of women-only groups can negate this pressure. Instead, they can feel more empowering than daunting, and therefore attendees are more inclined to show their vulnerability and be honest with each other. In turn, this builds trust, which then leads to the establishment of not just relationships, but ones that last.
5. An opportunity to give back
Another extension of the supportive atmosphere fostered by women’s networking groups is that there is often a greater emphasis on giving back. Women are actively encouraged to support each other and to give back to the group and to the wider community. This can be through anything from charitable activites and opportunities for mutual support, to an expectation that members will refer each other to potential customers.
Networking: the Tabono way
What do you think? If you’re a female small business owner, ave we convinced you to join a women’s networking group?
It’s important to know aswell that Tabono is so much more than a ‘networking group’, and we offer so much more than ‘networking events‘. We are a community. A team. A tribe. A support system. We’re colleagues, supporters and listeners. And we think that our approach is both unique and special.
But whether you decide to try our community or a different one, decision to join a women’s networking group is an important one, and one that can be hugely beneficial for both yourself and your business. And it’s so important to find the group that’s right for you.
There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.Michelle Obama