From hiring top-tier university interns to engaging in local business events, fifteen dynamic women entrepreneurs, including CEOs and founders, share their most effective strategies for cultivating a robust support network. These leaders reveal the diverse approaches that have contributed to their success, offering a wealth of insights for fellow entrepreneurs. Discover the full spectrum of advice in our comprehensive guide to building empowering connections.
- Hire Top-Tier University Interns
- Join Women’s Business Clubs
- Leverage Mastermind Groups and Past Contacts
- Network via Facebook Groups
- Connect in Group Coaching Programs
- Share Personal Resilience Stories
- Cultivate Reciprocal Support Networks
- Practice Generous Networking
- Host Networking Events
- Communicate with Close Friends and Family
- Reach Out to Aspiring Entrepreneurs
- Form Deep Personal Connections
- Build a Women-Led Community
- Utilize Online Networking Platforms
- Engage in Local Business Events
Hire Top-Tier University Interns
One of the most effective strategies I use is to hire interns from nearby universities. By selecting senior graduates, I can learn a lot from them and also receive up-to-date information on studies and effective techniques. These interns are often some of the most intelligent individuals around. For this purpose, I make use of the Vanderbilt Hire-a-Dore program, which allows me to hire top-GPA interns at an affordable cost.
CEO, TN Nursery
Join Women’s Business Clubs
Joining a women-only business club was a game-changer for me. It provided a platform where I could engage with fashion, tech, and startup events, which were pivotal in expanding my knowledge and network.
Actively reaching out for guidance on social media led me to find a mentor, who has been instrumental in refining my approach to networking. Embracing the spirit of sorority, I’ve found that today’s landscape is less about competition and more about mutual support among women. The strategy here is relentless networking and pitching your business tirelessly.
Sharing leads and contacts, rather than hoarding them, fosters a community of reciprocity and support, fueling not just individual success but collective growth. This inclusive approach has been crucial to my entrepreneurial journey, proving that when one of us succeeds, it elevates us all.
CEO, Slava Communication SL
Leverage Mastermind Groups and Past Contacts
As a solopreneur, I have really had to work hard to find a supportive network and community of women. Part of that process has been continuing to develop relationships with women that I have worked with at previous organizations.
However, the other pivotal choice was joining a mastermind for women—a group coaching program that allowed me to make connections and feel supported, while also giving me access to support from a coach when I had specific questions. The combination of one-on-one help, along with the validation and pooled resources of a group, has helped me take risks and grow as an entrepreneur much faster than I would have done on my own.
Clinical Psychologist and Executive Coach, Dr. Anne Welsh
Network via Facebook Groups
Leveraging social media, particularly through active participation in relevant Facebook groups, has been a highly effective strategy for building a supportive network as a woman entrepreneur. These online communities have been extremely helpful in connecting with like-minded women in business. By engaging in conversations, sharing insights, and offering support, not only has my network expanded, but meaningful connections have also been fostered.
Facebook groups provide a platform where women entrepreneurs can exchange ideas, seek advice, and celebrate successes. This sense of community has contributed significantly to success by offering diverse perspectives, valuable knowledge, and a strong support system.
Through these connections, insights into different business strategies have been gained, lessons from the experiences of others have been learned, and even collaboration opportunities have been discovered.
Business Owner, Jemma Wiltshire Design
Connect in Group Coaching Programs
Joining group coaching programs for women entrepreneurs has been my top strategy.
These programs naturally bring together women who share similar goals and challenges. Through group activities and sessions, I’ve connected with incredible women worldwide and built relationships that remain strong well after the coaching programs have ended.
Having a support system of women who understand the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and can offer practical advice has been a game-changer for my business. These connections are like a safety net, especially during challenging times. When things get tough, they not only offer encouragement to persevere and stay focused but also bring fresh perspectives and ideas to uplift my business.
Share Personal Resilience Stories
One of the most impactful strategies I’ve employed to build a supportive network as a woman entrepreneur is drawing on my personal journey of survival and resilience after a life-altering accident.
Having been hit by a 120-ton trolley while chasing my dog, I underwent 12 surgeries, had 16 metal plates implanted in my jaw and face, along with 42 screws and “chicken wire” holding my eye socket together. Despite the physical and emotional toll, I emerged among the fortunate 30% who come out of such accidents unscathed.
When engaging with mentors, collaborators, or fellow entrepreneurs, I recount my story authentically, highlighting not just the challenges but also the determination that fueled my recovery. By embracing vulnerability and authenticity, I’ve found that people resonate with the human aspect of my journey, fostering deeper connections and a supportive entrepreneurial community.
Founder/CEO, Civility Partners
Cultivate Reciprocal Support Networks
Every entrepreneur strives to put their full set of skills, experiences, and education to work as they build their business while anticipating roadblocks. The value for every entrepreneur to have a supportive network cannot be overstated. Women entrepreneurs know this to be true. In general, women have strong communication skills and have exercised their socialization talent from a young age.
One of my most effective strategies has been to understand that the effort, resources, and often the treasure of time I devote to supporting others first has paid off in countless ways. I have received their support gladly in return. Together, my supportive network has gifted me with honesty, trusted guidance, and, when necessary, highly valued criticism as I maneuver down the road toward business success.
Co-Founder, Heirloom Video Books
Practice Generous Networking
The best and most effective strategy that I use and love is going out of my way to do the unscalable, meet new people, and give as much as I can.
With every networking opportunity I have, I make sure to ask, “How can I support you?” I do this because I believe that the only way upward and onward is by building a stronger foundation through these deep networks that we work so hard to create.
I have had so many people on my journey who have gone out of their way to support me by doing introductions, leading me to specific resources, or providing feedback. And the best way I can perpetuate these supportive efforts is by paying it forward to other entrepreneurs.
It’s been instrumental in my success simply because it’s catapulted my learning pace and ability to pivot or edit quickly with the high-value feedback I’ve received. Ultimately, we are all in this together, so I lean into that mentality and do my best to support others the way I’ve been supported in my journey.
Founder, PDS Lab
Host Networking Events
An effective strategy for women to build a supportive network as an entrepreneur is to utilize their natural gift of hosting and nurturing.
Don’t feel ashamed to gather as many business cards at networking events and then host your own party. If you are successful, chances are you have some extroverted qualities and can thrive in a crowded room. You can decide to make your events business or casual, but by the end, every guest should know who you are.
As you begin to meet a diverse group of people, target the ones with whom you have the most thoughtful conversations and make a new best friend. It’s rare to find a 21st-century man or woman who doesn’t want other women to succeed, so don’t let that fear stop you.
While it can take a while to build relationships, the ones you decide to invest in will help you professionally and personally in ways you could never have thought of. It is in those ways that have contributed to my success.
Leadership Strategist, Deliberate Directions
Communicate with Close Friends and Family
I talk regularly with family and friends about the struggles I’m going through as an entrepreneur. It helps to get stuff off your chest and see how others you care about view the situation.
Since it’s become normal to share my struggles with the people close to me, they are used to listening to me and boosting me up when I need it most. I’ve seen entrepreneurs try to hold their pain inside and not talk about it for extended periods until they totally burn out. It’s essential to let out those feelings from time to time.
As much as I share my struggles, it’s also been just as important to be there for the people around me and to hear them out when they need it. All around, this has been the best strategy for building a supportive network around me.
Co-Founder, Scott & Yanling Media Inc.
Reach Out to Aspiring Entrepreneurs
While it can feel intimidating, and perhaps a little awkward, to network with other people, having a close support network can make all the difference to your business’s success. Not only can you find trusted advisors, but you can also gain valuable referrals and connections that are often much higher quality since they come from people who know you and what you have to offer.
One of my most effective strategies for building my network is to get genuinely curious about other people. Start looking around at women who are doing things you aspire to do, or who approach business in a way that speaks to you, and reach out to them. A simple email sharing that you admire their work and would love a chance to connect can go a long way.
You don’t need to ask upfront for referrals or advice. Start by connecting human to human, and those perks of a good professional network will follow.
Online Business Strategist and Educator, Michelle Pontvert
Form Deep Personal Connections
Establishing strong one-on-one connections with fellow women business leaders has been a successful networking strategy for me as a woman entrepreneur, rather than relying solely on large networking events.
For instance, after meeting an inspiring founder at a conference, I made an effort to continue the conversation over coffee. Those genuine personal connections provide the deepest support through shared experiences.
I also prioritize opening doors for other women entrepreneurs in my network. Last year, I connected a new entrepreneur with an executive who gave her valuable feedback on her product concept. Supporting each other amplifies our collective success.
Building individual relationships takes more effort than attending organized networking events, but it has enabled me to form a tight-knit community essential for a woman entrepreneur. These bonds transcend professional advancement and make the journey more rewarding.
Mona Kirstein, Ph.D.
Digital Strategist, Holistic Coach and Consultant, The Wholehearted Path
Build a Women-Led Community
Join or create a women’s entrepreneurship community. If you can’t find one to join, then create one! Be genuine and authentic; listen and ask questions when you meet other entrepreneurs.
Be willing to learn and teach. I have made a conscious effort to build my team with other strong women in the legal industry, and as a result, my firm is a successful women-led business. We support each other and play on each other’s strengths to help the firm as a whole be successful.
Founder and Managing Attorney, Blood Law PLLC
Utilize Online Networking Platforms
I’m a member of the online networking platform FairyGodBoss.com, and although it does offer the possibility to search for job listings, I use it specifically for the community and advice features.
Connecting with like-minded women really makes me feel less isolated, as I work remotely as a solo entrepreneur. I find it so reassuring to have these connections on hand with whom I can ask questions, learn, become unstuck, and get ideas from without having to take time out of my day to attend an in-person event. I wouldn’t be so confident going it alone without such a safety net of support.
Founder, Personal and Professional Growth, katharinegallagher.com
Engage in Local Business Events
As a woman entrepreneur in the real estate and property management industry, one effective strategy I’ve employed is actively participating in local business and networking events. Connecting with like-minded professionals has not only expanded my support network but has also opened doors to valuable partnerships and collaborations.
Additionally, I’ve created accountability groups of like-minded entrepreneurs that have allowed us to not only share our experiences but also our resources and community connections with each other. Connecting with the local SCORE chapter has also been instrumental for guidance on items in which I may not be a subject matter expert during this entrepreneurial journey.
These networks and community resources have been instrumental in sharing insights, providing mentorship, and creating opportunities that have significantly contributed to my success.
CEO, Legacy Rose Company, LLC