This is the third in a series of small business stories talking entrepreneurship, marketing & technology –with ideas and insights to help your business grow
Today I had the pleasure of talking to the leader of She Business, Monica Brewer, whose vision is to build a community of like-minded, consciously aware women who want to effect change in the world – and do it together.
There’s an old African proverb ‘if you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go further go together.
Never more true than in business. The reality is we grow further when we connect and are supported by the right people and communities behind us – people who lift us higher than we do alone. Why? Because we need to share ideas, be inspired, learn from other’s experiences, be able to workshop challenges and have someone to hold us accountable.
She Business is a unique business community designed specifically to help women in business.
One of the biggest challenges she sees is that ;
“ too many women don’t value how great they really are and consequently don’t ask for what they truly want”
How can a community like She Business help? It’s invaluable to tackle those feelings of isolation when you’re running your own business. It provides an empowering and safe place for women to show up as they are. ‘What I love is you get an openness and willingness to show up – vulnerabilities and all which is much less so in mixed groups. It gives the support and education business owners need across all aspects of their business. But maybe more importantly we work together to help people BE the best possible version of themselves they can be.
As Monica said,
“ In She Business we’ve got your back”.
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one” Jane Howard
Unlike many online led ‘communities’ Monica’s vision is immensely human centric. She is creating a community of real depth and meaning in the connections they make.
We are more digitally connected to individuals than ever before but business owners feel more disconnected. Why is that? The reality is we are wired to connect and for many of us running small businesses, largely on our own, it’s the human interaction that can make the greatest difference.
There are 6 core principles driving Monica’s approach to building the She Business community.
– People first. Any community is about its human members. She Business is there to focus entirely on its members and our most important job is to give them the inspiration, education & support they need to realise their dreams and goals. We meet monthly in small groups of likeminded women. It’s such a supportive environment and gives everyone a real sense of accountability and achievement
– Collaboration not competition. We have amazing talents and unique gifts within our community. We want to showcase what everyone can offer and create ways we can collaborate with each other.
Our attitude is one of abundance.
Sure, we may in theory, compete in similar markets but that type of competitive fear inhibits your growth. So much better to learn from each other, openly share what we’re doing and apply those ideas into your own business. And what we often find is someone you may see as a competitor becomes your best business partner.
– Learning culture. She Business also provides an online educational program that takes people through every aspect of running a business, step by step, delivered through its membership site. It’s an invaluable support to the face to face conversations. The difference for us is that we help people apply what they learn through the mentoring and coaching that’s all part of their membership
– Mentor led. She Business has an amazing team of world class Mentors and Coaches who lead & facilitate the forums. In fact, members get access to over 8 hours of coaching and mentoring every month. That investment of time, energy and expertise makes a real difference to assisting the growth of our members
– Spirit of generosity.
The currency of the community is relationships.
We believe the best relationships are open, honest and generous. The level of generosity within our community is quite extraordinary – both in the giving and receiving
– Leadership. When someone starts a business, the focus is more on what type of business & how to get paying customers through the door. Less time is spent on looking at what type of leader do I need to be to achieve their goals.
She Business is there to help people focus on who they are BEING as much as what they DO.
Leadership can be learnt and that’s where She Business comes in, helping women transform themselves into extraordinary leaders.
I was curious to learn how technology helps in managing such a human centric community such as She Business. “Technology has been a challenge and at the same time is a critical dependency for our future growth as well as smooth running of the community” It will enable us to reach a wider audience and we see She Business moving into other markets in the future whether it’s the US, UK or Asia”
One of the difficult technology pieces is working out how to use it to deliver the best possible experience for our members.
We want to make the technology about the people. We are starting with the user experience and putting the technology in place to deliver that experience. Like our community, the technology needs to be human centric too.
What are the most important influences on your tech choices?
– Ease of Engagement. We want to digitally engage with our members through social media, email and our website. Engagement needs to be seamless and easy so members can engage as often as they want, through the channel they prefer and get a fast response.
– Integration of offline with online. How we manage & integrate multiple points of contact – whether it’s the website, social media, mobile or our face to face forums. The online experience builds on what we offer offline.
– Personalisation. Our vision is to give members a much more customised and contextual experience. Whether it’s about their learning style & goals, or their preferred mode of communication. The areas they are interested in or the specific business challenges they need help with. The tech can enable us to deliver that level of personalisation easily and effortlessly
– Analytics. We want feedback. We want to know what’s working well for our members – and where we can improve. The technology provides us with that critical data. Without it we can’t measure what we are doing
– Business Systems. On a practical level, to be able to run and grow effectively the technology needs to integrate with our CRM, analytics, support staff (some of which are overseas), financial management and so on.
And she has also has a Microsoft Surface which enables her to run this amazing community from anywhere she needs to be.
One last tip for anyone else wanting to build a community.
” Find the greatness in others and let them shine. When we show up in that space the world sings”
If you’re interested in finding out more, and being part of an awesome culture and community of women, come join She Business for one of their She Business Visitor Experience sessions. Meet some of their members and walk away reinvigorated with a practical action plan to grow your business.
Sarah Denby -Jones is a Business Mentor & Strategic advisor for impact driven entrepreneurs. She’s also a Microsoft SMB Ambassador helping small businesses understand how technology can help them market more effectively.