Tag Archives: women to women

Sharing, Learning and Growing

23 May

Close your eyes and imagine that it is three years from today. You are walking in the door of your business. What do you see and hear? What are people doing? What does your business look like?

The women sitting in front of me are business owners  from various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is an eclectic group with a variety of business ventures ranging from textiles and chocolates to biotech benefiting the salmon industry.

Participants from Latin America - Listening to Your Business - FastTrac

They are here as part of the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (“WEAmericas”), an initiative that leverages public-private partnerships to increase women’s economic participation and addresses key barriers women face when starting and growing small and medium enterprises.

My role is to facilitate  Kauffman FastTrac’s Listening to Your Business  – a three-year visioning workshop. A hush settles over the lively group as they open their eyes and start writing what they envision in the near future. Time flies as we talk about the importance of establishing an intentional internal planning process through setting special goals and establishing success strategies. They begin to share resources to reach their business goals.

Sharing Challenges

During the workshop, each woman introduced herself and shared her biggest challenges. They roughly fell into the following four buckets: 1) Growth; 2) Marketing; 3 )Finances and 4) Transitions. The visioning exercise helped them to focus more clearly on the steps to move past the barriers to see the desired success. Michele Markey, Vice President of FastTrac says, “This type of activity is often hard for entrepreneurs because they end up spending most of their time with their heads down to get the business started and keep it going.”

Learning

The biggest “AHA” moment was the need to take the time to find strategic solutions to the different challenges presenting themselves in each stage of the growth of their business.  As they created a chart of their goals, management style, planning characteristics and red flags they were able to pinpoint specific ways to move ahead. For some, it was realizing that they needed to delegate more in order to step back from the day-to-day operations to gain the perspective in a larger context.

Growing

My life was enriched by this opportunity to meet these talented women and to help them advance their entrepreneurial aspirations. Their action plans and future strategic focus will have a positive impact on their own business endeavors and on the economy of their nations. Many spoke of returning to encourage other women to become entrepreneurs. By sharing what they learned, they will network more effectively and grow as they give to back to others.

What challenges do you face as an entrepreneur? What are you learning? In what areas do you need to grow?

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to book her as a speaker or want one-on-one coaching.

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Why should I spend time networking?

1 Dec

I had the privilege of meeting a fantastic group of women today who are part of the Orchid women-to-women networking group. This is a very warm faith-based networking group that meets several times of month. By joining this networking group I gain the following benefits (ROI) from networking:

  1. Relationships. One of the things that this networking group does well is give time for those attending to get to know the people at our tables. One of the fallacies about networking is that it is enough to pass out  your business cards. The key is to connect and be memorable. I feel confident that the ones that I connected with today will become friends as I follow-up with them.
  2. Opportunities to learn. Another favorable component was a speaker who provided timely information on SEO and Social Media. I gained helpful information that will help me immediately. It makes me want to go back.
  3. Informal network. It takes time and effort to build a strong network that will benefit you whether you are looking for a job or building a business.  It’s also easy to get so busy that we neglect this process. Be willing to give and share your expertise with others. This will build your credibility and move you toward continued success.

Solid networking takes time but the Return on Investment is well worth the effort. Make joining a networking group one of the key steps in your strategy to build your business. There are many different groups out there. If you live in the Dallas area, I recommend you check out Orchid.

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