As a woman entrepreneur navigating the competitive business landscape, I’ve come to understand the incredible power of networking in the past few years. Building connections has been instrumental in my journey and in the success of countless other women entrepreneurs. Many people think I’m making connections over coffee whenever I say I want to expand my network.
This is what they think: some hugs, pleasantries, and gossip.
Most think of networking as part of a close-knit group that helps and gets helped in return.
Wish life was as simple as that.
Women often don’t like to admit they need help, as it requires them to be overly communicative.
So, what is the solution?
Doing more networking. Sounds a little off, right?
But, yeah. That’s the truth and what this article is all about.
We shall explore the invaluable role that networking plays in propelling women entrepreneurs forward. From establishing long-term relationships to leveraging short-term connections, we’ll delve into practical strategies, highlight vital statistics, and provide actionable insights for building a solid network.
The Importance of Networking for Businesses
We all have heard how positive word-of-mouth has done wonders for businesses!
We all have talent, but only a few can sell our abilities correctly.
For example, take my case. I have been working as a freelance writer for the past seven years. But it took me years to realize that no one would approach me if they didn’t know about me.
So, what happened? I lost valuable opportunities that were grabbed by someone else.
Moral: Networking is vital to showcase our talents and get the opportunities we deserve.
So, here comes the vital question.
How does networking benefit women entrepreneurs?
How can they leverage their presence through networking?
The Benefits of Networking for Women Entrepreneurs
Networking brings many benefits to women entrepreneurs:
- It enhances visibility and establishes credibility within one’s industry. You can attract new clients, investors, and partnerships by positioning yourself as an expert and thought leader.
- Women entrepreneurs with strong networks generate more revenue than those with limited connections.
- Networking fosters a supportive community that offers valuable advice, resources, and mentorship.
Networking catalyzes growth, enabling women entrepreneurs to expand their reach and tap into new opportunities. For women entrepreneurs, networking fosters a supportive ecosystem that supports them in learning, collaborating, and sharing valuable insights.
According to Forbes, 85% of professionals attribute their career success to networking, emphasizing its undeniable influence. Likewise, Harvard Business Review says that 95% of business professionals consider face-to-face interactions essential for long-term business relationships.
So, the baseline? Entrepreneurs with diverse networks are more innovative and successful in problem-solving.
How to Create a Robust Professional Network
Now that we’ve established how important networking is for women entrepreneurs, let’s move on to the next question: How do we create a robust professional network?
Let’s look at the three strategies below:
1. Focus on Your Relationship Skills
One cornerstone of successful networking is cultivating long-term relationships. Engaging with like-minded individuals, industry leaders, and mentors allows us to form deep connections beyond immediate benefits.
Hone your relationship skills by attending conferences, joining professional organizations, and taking part in industry-specific events. These are some time-tested powerful ways to establish enduring relationships.
Start a professional account on LinkedIn (if you don’t have one) or revamp your LinkedIn profile for maximum impact. Find women thought leaders, role models, mentors, or someone related to your business and connect with them. Often, women entrepreneurs become so busy that they forget to create a solid network base and give back to society.
2. Make Short-Term Connections for Immediate Impact
While long-term relationships are vital, short-term connections can also yield immediate benefits. Brief encounters at networking events, workshops, or online communities can spark collaborations and partnerships or lead to new clients.
Please don’t underestimate the power of a single conversation, as it can open doors and create unexpected opportunities. Again, leveraging online platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter can effectively expand short-term connections.
This is something I vouch for. One thing I did last year was to revive my LinkedIn profile. Though I posted on my page earlier, I couldn’t consistently do it, so I didn’t get many opportunities. So, I slowly started by posting topics relevant to my chosen niches. Though miracles didn’t happen overnight, and my posts were seen only by a handful of people initially, my network expanded in the long run.
Result: I got leads who became my biggest long-term clients.
3. Make Networking a Priority
I know this is difficult for many entrepreneurs. I admit. Networking is tough.
For you. For me. For everyone.
Networking doesn’t end at ‘I-got-my-desired-project-so-no-more-random-connection-requests.’
In fact, the Women in the Workplace report by McKinsey rightly summarizes this:
Women get less access to senior leaders than men do. Yet employees who interact regularly with senior leaders are more likely to ask for and receive promotions, stay at their companies, and aspire to be leaders.”
So, please don’t stop if you’ve achieved whatever you desire. Shed any awkwardness and find a common ground to speak.
For instance, if you send a connection request to someone on LinkedIn, you may attach a message saying that you read their article at XXX and would like to know more about them. You can start commenting on their posts with valuable suggestions and follow up with a connection request.
This is just an example.
It is not just ‘small talk’.
These messages are quite the contrary: They convey that you’re interested in making deep, meaningful conversations, which can lead to creating impactful relationships.
Some Additional Strategies for Effective Networking
Successful networking requires a strategic approach.
- First, define your goals and target audience to focus your efforts. Short-tail keywords like “women entrepreneurs’ networking” and “networking strategies” can guide your online presence.
- Second, be genuine and authentic in your interactions. Engage in meaningful conversations, actively listen, and offer support.
- Third, leverage the power of social media platforms to expand your network. Long-tail keywords like “online networking for women entrepreneurs” can boost your digital presence and attract relevant connections.
As said above, another key strategy for effective networking is attending industry-specific conferences and events. These gatherings provide a platform to connect with industry leaders, gain insights into emerging trends, and establish valuable relationships.
Utilize long-tail keywords like “industry-specific networking events” to find relevant opportunities in your field. Additionally, consider joining professional organizations and associations to expand your network and access industry resources and support.
As women entrepreneurs, the power of networking cannot be overstated. We unlock a world of possibilities by proactively building connections, nurturing relationships, and engaging with our professional communities. Embrace networking opportunities, harness your peers’ support, and watch your entrepreneurial journey flourish.
Networking is not just a buzzword, but a powerful tool for women entrepreneurs. We can amplify our visibility, establish credibility, and access new opportunities by actively building and nurturing long-term and short-term connections.
So, embrace networking with confidence, authenticity, and a growth mindset. Use face-to-face interactions, online platforms, and industry events to expand your network and cultivate meaningful relationships.
Now is the time to unleash the power of networking on your entrepreneurial journey. Seize every opportunity, connect with like-minded individuals, and watch your network expand and flourish. Remember, success in business is not achieved alone; it is nurtured through the relationships we build and the support we receive.
Women in the Workplace 2022. (2022, October 18). Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/women-in-the-workplace
Harvard Business Review. (2016, April). Managing Across Distance in Today’s Economic Climate: The Value of Face-to-Face Communication. hbr.org. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/resources/pdfs/comm/british-airways/hbras_ba_report_web.pdf
Ovcharenko, D. (2021, March 23). Council Post: Networking In Times Of Social Restrictions. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/03/23/networking-in-times-of-social-restrictions/
Rithima Punit says
I could agree more with the profound impact networking has on women entrepreneurs. The Women Inspiring Network is a shining example of how connections can fuel success. By fostering a supportive community, it empowers women to share experiences, exchange valuable insights, and create opportunities. Through networking, women entrepreneurs can amplify their voices, access mentorship, and forge partnerships that unlock their true potential. Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape.
Gayathri Gopalan says
Absolutely! I couldn’t agree more with your inspiring words about the Women Inspiring Network and the power of networking for women entrepreneurs. It’s incredible to witness how connections and support can truly fuel success. By fostering a community where women can share experiences, exchange insights, and create opportunities, we empower each other to reach new heights. Networking provides a platform to amplify our voices, access valuable mentorship, and forge partnerships that unlock our true potential. Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape where women thrive and make a lasting impact. Thank you for highlighting the importance of networking and the inspiring work of the Women Inspiring Network!