Networking for female business owners: should I bother?
Why culture is important now more than ever
Networking typically involves meeting a group of like-minded professionals and sharing ideas and contacts. It’s a chance to bounce suggestions off one another and build connections you can call on further down the track.
Networking is particularly valuable for female entrepreneurs because, while men often have the confidence and self-belief to go it alone, women tend to benefit from the support and encouragement that comes from sharing and discussing with a group of like-minded people.
The good news is Australian female founders were involved in 23% of deals last year, up from 18% from 2022. But let’s face it: while the number of female entrepreneurs in Australia might be expanding it remains a new and emerging field and we’re still writing the handbook! So let’s do it together.
Benefits of networking for women entrepreneurs
Improve your visibility and credibility in the industry
Being part of a community like this not only empowers you and helps you support like-minded women, it will expand your own network. Who knows what career, partnership opportunities or introductions may transpire?
Business strategist Michelle Broadbent encourages women to make the most of their network, no matter where they find it.
“Use your network – the barista in the coffee shop, the mum at the school gate. My business has come from the most random places,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to ask people for advice and help.”
Putting yourself out there also lets others know who you are and what your business offers, creating opportunities to attract new clients, investors or partners and positioning you to become a leader in your industry.
Networking fosters a supportive community
Female entrepreneurs are a supportive group, and you may be surprised how eager women are to help and connect you with like-minded women. As relationships and trust build, an expanding and nurturing community will build too, often leading to collaboration, partnerships and at the least the sharing of key tools and strategies.
And possibly most importantly: connecting with other women through networking helps you identify and collaborate with women who can advocate for not only your business but female businesswomen and gender equity in general, and that’s never a bad thing.
Quick tips for Networking
Quick tips for networking
First impressions make an impact. Look people in the eye, stand up straight, make sure your nametag is displayed clearly and wear appropriate attire.
Ask questions and be a good listener
Be confident when it comes to asking questions, but give others space to speak and make sure you’re a supportive listener
Have your pitch ready
The so-called ‘elevator pitch’ is very powerful, to know in 30 seconds you can tell someone why they should care about you and your business and what you offer that others don’t
Expand your online presence
Make sure your profile is up to date and regularly make connections online. Be sure all digital images (including social media) are professional and presentable.
Stay in touch
Networking doesn’t end with the event. Follow ups and check-ins will ensure you stay connected.