January has been an exciting month for women-owned business enterprises (WBE)! Here on the home front, InfoMart has reestablished its certification with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) in one of many 2016 efforts to offer our experienced leadership as a resource to other WBEs and women entrepreneurs. We look forward to building strong relationships with other industry leaders that will encourage coordinated efforts in promoting women leadership.
However, WBEs still face significant challenges:
In the legal arena, several new congressional bills have been introduced that will, hopefully, help even the playing field and allow WBEs to succeed. The proposed bills seek to amend the Small Business Act to improve small business opportunities to land federal contracts; delay acceptance of subcontracting plans if small businesses haven’t received maximum practicable opportunity to compete; and reauthorize the SBA’s Women’s Business Center program and fund training.
Legal changes can be helpful, but it’s ultimately up to us as business leaders to instigate improvement and be the vehicle for change. We have a vast network of women leaders and a multitude of resources both online and within individual states and communities at our disposal. Even if all you have is an idea for a business you’d like to start, there are many resources available to help you reach your goal and help all of us reach success.
A quick Google search of “Networking for Women” results in a mess of articles about how difficult it is for women to network and how to network more effectively. Fortunately, when you’re on a computer or device you use often, Google knows your geographical area and will also provide links to local networking groups as well as online networking groups.
By now, we all know how crucial social media is to effective networking. Social media platforms can help you connect with and keep up to date with other women entrepreneurs. Features like Linkedin’s “ways to keep in touch” (found at the top right corner of your home page) will tell you when a connection is about to celebrate a work anniversary or has changed positions or companies.
Research shows that women are more likely to use Facebook than men. Although the platform doesn’t tell you about your network’s professional landmarks, it’s highly effective in notifying users of local events and upcoming birthdays. You can send a birthday message just to let a colleague know you’re thinking of her, which can help keep you and your business at the top of her mind.
Twitter is a great social media platform for finding out what matters to your network at any given moment. The speed of updates can by dizzying, which is why engaging with your contacts on this medium means so much. It takes less than 5 minutes to reply to a contact’s post, and the fact that you chose her to engage from hundreds or thousands of others can help you stand out.
Another great way to network with other women business leaders is to get involved. There are plenty of groups and committees dedicated to advancing women leadership in business on local, state, and federal levels. Use Google to find a group near you, or sign up for free national news and updates on women’s economic issues from the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
2016 is sure to be an exciting year for women in business. We’ve already increased our business ownership by 30% since 2007, so let’s keep up the trend and empower one another to succeed.
Don’t rely on second-rate companies to conduct background checks for you. Contact InfoMart to learn more about our intensive and thorough process, and to get started today.