Women have fought long and hard to be taken seriously as leaders and business owners. Unfortunately, the work is far from over and many women, such as minorities, have several other hurdles to jump over. We don’t need to look to men as the blueprint in developing a business. It’s time we trust our own instincts and dominate the decade. Partnership and paying it forward are two great ways you can develop your business as a woman.
Partner with other women
A big part of business development is cultivating and maintaining important relationships. We can therefore start doing that with other women. There are a million and one female business owners that you can network and then start working with. However, you’ll still need to put in the work and grow these relationships organically.
Starting these relationships may be the hard part but don’t be afraid to make the first move. Just beginning with a simple “hello” at a conference or networking event will get the ball rolling. Afterward, make small talk. Many people hate small talk but you’ll just need to be great at communicating. For example, instead of asking about the weather or your business right off the bat, you can ask them about their business, their opinion on something or an insightful comment about the conference you’re both attending. If you’re an introvert and have started stress sweating thinking about these interactions don’t worry. All you have to do is practice and start with just one person at a time. If you’re suffering from serious social anxiety, therapy may be your best bet.
If you need help networking, you can check out our 'Sharing Gifts Networking Guide'. FYI, this is great for introverts and others who struggle to network.
How to partner with other women
There are many ways you can partner with other women. I use my business to partner with other women. One of the ways I partner with other female entrepreneurs is by giving them a platform to tell their stories. For example, I invite women to come on my podcast, blog, YouTube channel and share their expertise, experiences, successes, and challenges. In doing so, they would be exposed to my audience and when they market their collaboration, I’m being exposed to their audience. You can employ similar methods that would best suit your business and your business goals. Let’s say most of your audience is on Instagram. You can grow your market and exposure by linking up with another woman who has great engagement with your target market. You can join her virtually for an Instagram Live, pay for a sponsored post, send her your products, the possibilities are endless.
How not to partner with other women
Not pay women what they’re worth
It’s important that you also don’t knock another woman’s hustle. By that, I mean all collaborations won’t be for free and that’s okay. If you do your research and pick the right person you’ll more than likely get a return or your investment and help support another woman. It’s a win-win.
People will know when you’re being disingenuous and just want something from them. Cultivate real partnerships. You don’t have to be their best friend and go everywhere together but try not to just pop up when you want something. I’m sure most of us have a “friend” like that and you probably can’t stand them. Don’t be that to someone else.
There is a difference between learning from someone and stealing their ideas. Don’t steal another woman’s idea and try to pass it off on your own. Even if you have a bigger company, it’s not a good look, please don’t do that. Give credit where credit is due and don’t plagiarize.
Where to find women to partner with
There are a number of places you can find women to partner with such as social media and asking around in your network. In doing research for your business, you’ll definitely come across amazing women you’d want to work with. Reach out.
Pay it forward
As I’ve said, women have had a pretty rough time in the business space but fortunately, many women have found great success. With that said, sometimes, when people break through the glass ceiling, they don’t help anyone else to do the same. We have to link arms and help each other up and so we must pay it forward.
How to pay it forward
The first thing you must do is be aware of your biases. If you think there is a position in your business such as video editor, that is best suited for a man, it’s time to examine why you think that. Women can do anything a man can do. That’s not to say that you should hire a woman who is unqualified but chances are you can find a woman who is.
If you see another female entrepreneur who may not have the reach you have but offer great service or product, reach out. Work with her, work out a budget and offer assistance. You don’t have to help for free but maybe you can work something out with her. On the other hand, if there is a product or service you genuinely love, tell people about it and if you feel so inclined share it on your social media.
Be a mentor
If you’re one of those women who have had great success with your business, it’s a great idea to mentor another woman. There are many places you can find a mentee. Personally, I use SCORE which is a free platform that allows me to mentor someone else. You can also ask around and use social media. Doing something as simple as sending a tweet or publishing an Instagram post looking for mentees can be beneficial. Don’t underestimate the power of mentorship.
We have to work together if we want ourselves and other women to succeed. Partnership and paying it forward are great ways to start.