Friday, March 24, 2017

Courageous conversations

If there is one thing I have learned over the 14 years of running Company of Women it is that it doesn’t matter what business you are in, the challenges are the same.  Typically they are finding customers/clients, cash flow and relationship/HR issues and staying positive.

But when we start out, we don’t know that. 

We think we are the only ones struggling with finding any customers, never mind the ideal customer.   We believe we are alone as we try to make the business viable with sufficient money in the bank to pay the bills when they come in.  And we definitely think we are the only one to suffer from self-doubt, to question why we thought this business was such a great idea.

That’s one of the reasons it’s good to belong to a group of entrepreneurial women, like Company of Women, where it’s safe to admit to these problems.  And this week in Barrie, we actually gave each woman at the meeting ten minutes to air her “dirty laundry” so we could brainstorm together on how to solve the particular challenge she was facing.

My hope is that as we went around the room that women started to feel better as they heard from others.  We certainly came up with plenty of ideas as there was real wisdom in the room.   For us more seasoned entrepreneurs, we’ve been there… in fact, truth is, we may still be there but on a different level, because as your business evolves, so do the issues you face.

The challenges ranged from finding customers – a big one – to having difficult conversations to getting ready for a new and first baby and how that might impact the business.

What I loved was the other women were listening intently, putting forward their best suggestions and no one was being judged because of the challenges she faced.

And that is what it is all about.  It is about being there for each other, being willing to be vulnerable and upfront about what is happening in your business and your life, because when you do, you quickly learn that you are not alone when you own.

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