Just as it is for men in the business world, for women in business, life is just as hard and some would say somewhat harder. I’ve launched a new business venture and know exactly how hard it is to get a small business enterprise off the ground.
I’m a passionate believer in business networking because my business has grown as a result, in fact I’ve seen so much power in word of mouth marketing that I know run my own business networking clubs in the area where I live.
Exclusive women only business networking groups are becoming more and more common but does it really make sense? After all the basis of business networking is that you want to convey your business services to fellow networking partners so that they can refer clients to you, so why would you want to cut your audience in half (potentially less than half) by restricting it just to women?
The fact is that many women feel more comfortable in an all woman environment and actually get to trust other networking partners much quicker. There’s evidence to suggest that women network better than men because women focus more on the relationship building whereas men will focus on the end result of getting the referral. Having both networking partners in line is surely bound to deliver a faster and more powerful result.
Whether it’s politically correct or not to say so, it’s clear that in some business circles, women are still perceived to be less than equal. I think that there are countless examples of great women in business to demonstrate that this perception is a completely outdated position and gradually it is dying but not before time. So again when it comes to feeling comfortable when networking, clubs exclusive to women meet the need.
Many women running small businesses also have to juggle family life and therefore feel an affinity with other women in the same situation. It may help build rapport or it may simply just help understand the challenges but whatever the reason it helps get to that point in the relationship where you know, like and trust the other person and so are ready to start giving and receiving referrals.
Many traditional networking groups have been established over decades and probably don’t fit in with family life in terms of the meeting times. Women’s networking clubs understand this point and ensure that the meeting times are at a time of day that isn’t going to conflict with the school run. This may be the difference between being able network or not.
So it’s not really about cutting your audience in half, there’s clear reasons why all women networking clubs work well but by nature of the fact that half the business population is excluded, womens business networking clubs should be regarded as complementary to the networking concept as a whole and not a substitute.
So why aren’t there all male business networking clubs?….come on, that would be sexist!