Two Types of Businesswomen Network for Business Growth
Businesswomen of every type know that networking can build relationships and grow their companies. But they may not realize how easy networking can be – and how great its benefits.
Most businesswomen realize, academically, that networking is an important tool for business growth. However, networking also can provide crucial opportunities for creating a much-needed support system for women at any level of business ownership. For women of every entrepreneurial type, networking is as important to the business as strategizing, paying bills, and marketing.
A recent study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female entrepreneurs, reveals there are five distinct types of women in business. Based on professional market research of more than 3,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. This article outlines two of the five types and provides important tips about why networking is important to each one, and about how each one can do it effectively.
Tenacity Jane is an entrepreneur with an undeniable passion for her business, and one who tends to be struggling with cash flow. As a result, she's working longer hours, and making less money than she'd like. Nevertheless, Tenacity Jane is bound and determined to make her business a success. At 31% of women in business, Tenacity Janes are the largest group of female entrepreneurs.
This group of business owners is populated with intelligent, articulate women, who, for one reason or another, run businesses that are not financially producing. The good news is that most financially successful business owners have experienced a Tenacity Jane phase at some point. The not-so-good news: they’re not talking about it. So Tenacity Jane often feels alone, like she’s the only woman going through this tough phase.
Why Tenacity Jane should network: First, networking provides excellent learning experiences for Tenacity Jane. She can talk with other business owners – ask questions, get advice, hear stories. Maybe by listening to one of their strategies, Tenacity Jane can come up with one of her own. Second, networking will allow Tenacity Jane to start building a support system of people who can help her reach her goals. Through her networking efforts, she may find professionals who run businesses complementary to hers; she may find assistants or helpers to whom she can dole out some of the less-inspiring business-related tasks such as accounting. Finally, networking allows Tenacity Jane a productive way to get a few hours’ respite from the daily grind, which often overwhelms her.
How Tenacity Jane should network: By attending live networking events or participating in online networking groups with other professionals in her field, Tenacity Jane can begin to create opportunities for forging relationships with other business owners, whether she looks to them as mentors, as friends, or as associates with whom she can work. Although online networking is effective in some cases, it is also essential for Tenacity Jane to meet people live and in person as a refreshing change of pace and a better path to creating real relationships.
Go Jane Go is passionate about her work and provides excellent service, so she has plenty of clients – so much so, she's struggling to keep up with demand. She may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer opportunities as well, because she's eager to make an impact on the world and she often struggles to say no. Because she wants to say yes to so many people, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week. As a result, she may be running herself ragged and feeling guilty about neglecting herself and others who are important to her.
Go Jane Go is typically among the best at what she does. Although she excels at her craft, what truly sets her apart is her commitment to helping others get what they want. She’s so driven to do so that she will sacrifice her own needs in the process. She is well-loved by her clients because of her “can-do” attitude, but she also reports high levels of stress because she often takes on more work than is reasonable. To lighten her load, Go Jane Go could refer potential clients to other high-performance professionals, or hire people to help her – and she can achieve both of these things through networking.
Why Go Jane Go should network: Although Go Jane Go is rewarded for her hard work by the knowledge that she is doing excellent work and making a difference in the lives of many people, she also has the tendency to stretch herself so thin, she can’t get everything done. She is always on the go and allows little time for true rest or relaxation. If Go Jane Go increased her networking efforts, she could pair up with other trustworthy, high-achieving professionals to whom she could pass on work – whether it’s a client’s entire job, or just part of the job to which that partner is better suited. She then could rest assured that the client would receive the high quality of work she would demand of herself, and she would save a little time for herself. Also, by networking with other professionals in her field, Go Jane Go could learn about potential helpers that would meet her high standards. Hiring helpers on others’ referrals would give Go Jane Go peace of mind that she could let go of some tasks and that they’d be completed.
How Go Jane Go should network: Because Go Jane Go often feels pressed for time (or maybe even absolutely squeezed), she probably feels like she doesn’t have time for networking. However, this small time investment will pay off big. The most efficient form of networking is through social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, where Go Jane Go can post tips and updates that would provide her clients and other like-minded professionals (her “friends” and “followers”) with helpful information while keeping her in touch with people to whom she could refer work. However, if Go Jane Go can schedule it in, live networking is exponentially more effective for Go Jane Go because it allows her to meet people in person and build relationships from which she can garner support.
For both Tenacity Jane and Go Jane Go, networking is a crucial form of much-needed support. Although both types of businesswomen have a tendency to feel overwhelmed, this small time investment will undoubtedly pay off in big results.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at www.janeoutofthebox.com