Business networking for women comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, just like women themselves. One size does not fit all. Depending on the type of business you have and the services/products you offer, different sorts of business networking might be better suited to you than others. In this first blog of 2021, I’m going to outline some of the biggest benefits of having a membership in a business networking group for women.
Some networking groups offer a pay-as-you-go approach which is usually a low payment per meeting with no annual subscription. Other such as The Athena Network are membership based with an annual subscription which can be split into an up-front payment and a monthly subscription. Let’s explore the advantages of the membership style of business networking.
- Strong commitment to the network
Making an annual subscription payment to be a member of a group shows a commitment to that group. You are demonstrating that you are serious about networking. This approach enables you and the other business owners to support each other because you know that you will see each other multiple times throughout the year, be able to learn about each other’s business and therefore be able to provide support for each other in the form of practical business skills and emotional support if things get tough. If you want to become a topflight golfer, you have to join a club – you can’t rely on dropping by the local pitch and putt every so often.
- Relationship building and trust
Business is all about trust. People buy from people but not from people they don’t trust. That’s why one of the best forms of marketing is word-of-mouth. When someone YOU trust gives you a recommendation, you are much more likely to trust that it will be a good recommendation. When you sign up to a membership for business networking, you tap into a world where you can nurture powerful relationships with the other members. If you rely on drop-in networking where you are likely to see different people each week or month, then it can be much harder to build solid relationships and for you to trust each other.
- Leveraging others’ knowledge and experience
The world of commerce can be bewildering for new business owners. You’ve started a business because you are great at doing the thing you do, but you quickly find that you must be good at all the other activities that are involved with business, such as marketing for new clients, closing the sale, dealing with the paperwork, finance and legals. The list is significant. Business networking groups can help you to gain invaluable insight into how to run your business, benefiting from the collective knowledge, skills and experience of perhaps 20 other business owners. It’s like having a ready-made team for your company. This particular benefit should not be underestimated – I’ve used the services of many of my networking members in my own business and having those trusted resources takes away some of the concern about outsourcing. In addition, if you are REALLY lucky, like me, you’ll have someone in your group that bakes amazing cakes. Who doesn’t need cake in their life, after all?
- Strategic Alliances
This is where the magic of membership really comes into its own. I’ve seen the most wonderful collaborations happen and sometimes between the most unlikely of partnerships. There are the obvious alliances such as the cake maker, photographer and the event planner who can work together to create a wedding package for example. But think a little more laterally and you can come up with lots of ways to create something unique by joining forces with someone else in your group. It’s exciting to watch the relationships form and when we have a new member joining the network, I can’t wait to see how they will fit into the team.
How can you find the best business networking for women?
Well, you’ve landed on this blog because you searched for ‘business networking for women’ or you might have seen this blog on social media or had it sent to you by someone in the network who thinks YOU could be our next member, so that tells me you are already interested.
If you’d like to see if the Athena Network is the right business network for you, I’d love to hear from you. There are 6 groups in my region with a wide variety of business owners in each, so if your discipline clashes in one group, there will likely be another group you can join. We do operate a one member per discipline per group policy so you can lock out your competition, which is another benefit you won’t get from the pay-as-you-go flavour of networking.
Get in touch for a quick chat to find out more and get your business off to a flying start in 2021.
Until next time