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Networking for female business owners: should I bother?

So you’ve come up with your brilliant new business concept or perhaps have already started and can now officially call yourself a female entrepreneur or business owner. Now comes an all-important next step: networking.

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

While the thought of stepping into a room full of strangers might fill you with dread, you are absolutely not alone. There is no doubt other women will not only share your fears, they will typically share your queries and ideas too. Whether it’s a fear of failure, imposter syndrome, financial concerns or a brilliant idea you’re unsure how to execute, networking is often a safe and nurturing way to talk and listen. Meeting and supporting other female business owners is invaluable. You’ll make contacts, even friends, trusted ‘colleagues’ you can turn to for advice, and in turn offer your own support and encouragement. It’s a great opportunity to meet women who can help in areas you need, whether that’s a potential partner or mentor. And let’s be honest: running your own business can be a lonely experience. Having regular contact with like-minded women who get it is invaluable. Networking also helps you find role models in areas that might seem insurmountable, like the work-life balance.
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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.

How to find a professional network

Whether you live in a large city or regional Australia there are networking opportunities you’ll be able to make use of. From our sister site Enterprising Women to dedicated organisations such as Business Chicks, Tech Ready Women, Future Women and Chief Executive Women who offer conferences, workshops and gatherings, to online forums and communities run by LinkedIn and others, all provide an opportunity to connect and share ideas, resources, advice and that all-important support.
As women in business, managing our energy effectively is essential for success and overall well-being. By implementing the above strategies, you will be on your way to not only protecting but elevating your personal energy.

Jessica Ritchie

Jessica Ritchie is the founder of Transformational Brand Lab, an award-winning Brand & Marketing Expert, Speaker, Business Mentor, and a six-time international award-winning best-selling author. Over the course of 17 years, she has collaborated with Australia’s leading brands, assisting organisations, leaders, and teams in making their mark in the world, sparking change, and igniting their true potential. Her expertise and guidance empower individuals and businesses to leave the legacy they deserve, personally and professionally.

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