While talking to someone recently about Networking Women, it occurred to me that we’ve never actually put together any sort of “mission statement” explaining what we are about. There are so many different kinds of networking organisations around that I thought it was time to define what Networking Women stands for.
Networking Women is a vibrant and friendly organisation that seeks above all else to be a supportive environment for everyone that attends. We hope that rather than thinking “What’s in it for me?” our members will be asking themselves “What can I bring to this?” Of course, Networking Women is a platform for all of us to do business but we also want it to be an environment where we can all support each other, whether we are just starting our own businesses or are more experienced. For example, the more established business owners among us can help by offering a mentoring approach to other members. We have started to forge links within the local community, by working with schools to enable their Business Studies students to experience networking first hand.
We have deliberately set out to make Networking Women as accessible to business women as possible. For that reason we don’t charge a membership fee and we understand that women with children have specific needs when it comes to the timing of events. Networking Women is an ever-evolving organisation and in time we will add to our ‘menu’ of networking events to give even more women the opportunity to benefit. We keep our costs as low as possible by not spending money on venue hire, and that means we can offer incredible workshops at a fraction of their usual cost. For example, our recent workshop on Social Media with Jane van Velsen from The Right Writer was only £45. Jane normally charges £850 a day for training but luckily for us she understands our philosophy and saw it as a chance to “give something back”, as well, of course, as recognising the potential to use the platform to grow her own business.
Most people understand that networking is not just about what you can get out of it. Networking Women is about building long-lasting, strong relationships with other women; through those relationships comes support and a sense of loyalty. I may not need your services today but I will come to you when I am looking for an accountant/a treatment/ a copywriter/ a holiday etc. Why will I come to you? Because we’ve eaten a few breakfasts together, because we’ve known each other for some time, because we’ve built up a supportive relationship, because I understand what you do, because I like you and because I am loyal to you.
Networking Women is not about walking out of every meeting with a new client. It is about meeting likeminded women. It is about making new friends. It is about supporting someone else who may be struggling, in business or in life. And finally, Networking Women is about creating a safe place for women to do business…