Below are some of the great discussions and questions that were talked about at the meeting on April 8th, including the individual notes from the small group break out sessions.
The topic was passing entrepreneurial resource referrals effectively to women business owners. We discussed the value of building relationships by passing effective resources and recommendations on how to ensure that you set both the business owner and the resource partner up for success. Research has shown that 85% of women business owners will go to trusted advisers or colleagues for resources and referrals. What that means for business owners and networking leaders is that YOU are a key factor in ensuring that women business owners get the resources they need to build a business. For economic developers and resource partners, it also means that in order to increase the diverse flow of qualified candidates to your program these trusted advisers and colleagues need to understand clearly what you do. The biggest challenges that we discovered through our conversations:
- Programs and resources often speak a different language even when programs feel they are being clear. Women business owners struggle to understand how the resources are relevant to them.
- Business owners do not always know what resources they need. We need to ask questions to start to uncover what resources they really need.
What is keeping you from making money?
What keeps you up at night?
What is your biggest challenge?
- Having an understanding of the business life cycle and common challenges that business owners face empowers everyone to really ask the hard questions and encourage women business owners to greater levels of success. Instead of recommending another marketing solution, we can ask women if they have considered procurement or looking at their financial statements to really get a grasp on more options!
- Whether you are a networking leader, a business banker or a business owner working with a client you can build trust and value by passing someone a resource that helps them build their business.
- Phoenix has many FREE or low cost resources to help entrepreneurs build businesses. Many people are unaware of these resources or are confused by the number or options and how to really apply them.
- Did you know that the City of Phoenix is currently looking for contractors (that they pay) to work with business owners (for free) on business services like marketing, accounting and operations? It is called MTA, check it out.
- The challenge of finding effective resources is especially acute for diverse business owners who are often over sold to and they feel excluded from resources because of past negative experiences. Encourage women to seek out these resources and set them up for success by discussing how you think it could benefit their business and explaining clear first steps in accessing those resources.
Communication Best Practices for Empowered PhXX Resources Referrals:
- Set expectations with business owners on price.
- Understand the resource, its mission and its niche so you can send qualified candidates.
- Send an email introducing the business owner to a specific contact who can help them versus “going to the website.”
- Give more than one resource and let the business owner know that it may require some hard work to find the right fit for their business but to KEEP GOING!
- In your email introduction give context for both parties on why you are introducing them.
- Respond to all emails within 48 hours.
Feel free to post your comments and ideas! Once we gather everyone’s feedback we will be developing a standard memorandum of understanding for Empowered PhXX stakeholders to sign, setting the standard in Phoenix. Eventually, we would like to put a formal mechanism in place to track this process. Until we find funding, we are asking that people track the referrals they are getting through the relationships they strengthen at Empowered PhXX and its repercussions. Also, please CC Kristin on any emails so she can start capturing success stories and if needed, we can help address referrals that are not successful.
We have started to refine our resources list. We are including businesses and online resources in this list as well but currently we are really looking to develop a robust list of all the free entrepreneur programs and resources. If you haven’t filled in your program, please do!
Based on the feedback from people at this meeting we will be holding an in-depth training to review the entrepreneurial resources available in Phoenix and how they can be used to develop Phoenix businesses. Registration is now open.
OUR goal is to increase the flow of qualified female business owners to participate in these resources, strengthening both the program and the business, moving us closer to our mission of strengthening our future by achieving 50/50 in the entrepreneurship.