Tips & Advice

Networking and Mom Entrepeneurs

by Martha Scully

Why is Networking for Mom Entrepreneurs such an important part of doing Business?

Ask any mom entrepreneur today if the old adage “It’s not what you know but who you know” still stands true? – and you will receive a resounding yes. The reason? Because people like to help people they know – and the friendlier the relationship – the more they’ll want to help you out.

From putting you in touch with the right manufacturer or accountant, to dropping your name to a perspective customer – it a sure fire way to ensure the continued success of your business.

When you connect with other mom entrepreneurs, you learn from them as well. Don’t know about franchising, or how to export your product? Start talking to other moms in business on your contact list, and nine times out of ten, one of your contacts will know – and if they don’t – they will know someone who will.

It’s the six degrees of separation rule - the more you increase your network of business associates in the mom world, the more you decrease that gap of separation.

So – how are you going to meet and start growing your contact list for your business? A great way to do it is to join a Networking Group.

Some charge membership fees and are structured monthly meetings, while others may be free and more informal. There are many to choose from – so take the time to investigate each one and choose the one that best suits you and your business goals.

According to Stats Canada, the ranks of self-employed women are on the rise - the number has climbed 18 per cent to 876,600 last year, from 744,800 in 1996. There are currently 821,000 female entrepreneurs in Canada, more than half of which are moms, contributing in excess of $18 billion each year to Canada’s economy.

And as such – there has arisen a real need to provide women – and moms specifically (some of whom have left their careers to raise their children) with the ongoing support for their small business, with a Networking Group.

Many Networking Groups invite expert guest speakers who can provide valuable information for your business. So not only will you be able to make the connections with other women in business, but you learn about various business trends and issues that will also help your business succeed.

The criteria that a good networking group should posses include the ability to network, a forum to discuss current business hurtles, and qualified experts/successful business owners to provide ongoing education.

So what are some of the “ Dos and Don’ts ” when joining a Networking Group?

  • Do take a pocketful of business cards with you to each meeting – you never know who you are going to meet who can help you - or vice versa.
  • Do try to talk to at least five new people each meeting. If it is a good networking group, there will always be new members joining – so make sure you are continually making contacts.
  • Do take notes when someone is speaking! You will not remember everything afterwards, so having some of the key points written down, will help jog your memory the next day.
  • Do participate in group discussions and add to conversations going on in the room. Remember - other women are there to learn from you as well.
  • Do follow up with the contacts you make at the Group – a friendly email the next day after you make a contact is a good way to cement your name in to their mind.
  • Don’t sit back and wait for others to come to you at a networking meeting.
  • Don’t make promises and never follow them up with a new contact. It just makes it awkward when you see them at the next meeting.
  • Don’t “SPAM” all your new contacts with continual newsletters and promotions unless they have expressly said they want it.
  • Don’t bad mouth anyone at meetings – it only leads to the deterioration of the group.
  • Don’t expect to get something for nothing. It’s only when we invest ourselves in the group by sharing our problems and collective knowledge with one another, will we grow and succeed.

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Kelley Scarsbrook is President of Enterprising Moms Network Inc. – a Networking Company specifically for mom entrepreneurs. To learn more about her company visit www.enterprisingmomsnetwork.com.

About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of CanadianNanny.ca. Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.