How to face challenges for businesswomen and turn them into your favor
At some point, I was travelling to Zürich in Switzerland. One of my businesses is a businesswomen’s network and I live in the Netherlands.
The network is for international businesswomen and one chapter is stationed in the beautiful city, Zürich, which is surrounded by mountains.
I was only going to stay one night to attend the meeting because of the half years existence celebration, but something happened what changed my mind. I booked another flight and extended my accommodation and rented a car because I was going to stay for 4 days. I had a few Skype meetings planned during those days and I could do those anywhere.
Just 4 days when I left to Zürich I heard that my local representative of the “Powerful Business Women’s Network” in had to stop because she is pregnant and things became to busy for her. I hardly knew anybody in Zürich, that’s why I work with local representatives.
Would you see this as a disaster or an opportunity?
I chose to see it as an opportunity. I travelled to Zürich with no idea how to approach this, but I knew that I would somehow fix it and travel up and down to Zürich if needed. Because the members deserved good quality meetings.
There are a few things that are important when you face a challenging situation like this. And it is totally different from what every business book, every business guru and every business strategist tells you.
And it is also very much the opposite of what most businesswomen usually do.
Women like to be totally prepared and in control!
I went to Zürich with no plan.
What does a business woman need to do or have?
• An unlimited trust in yourself and in the circumstances that will occur. Even if you don’t know yet what will happen. (I call that giving the Universe the possibility of stepping in. Or you could also call it: Set yourself up for great coincidences to happen)
• An open mind.
• Stay away from trying to fix it immediately
• Stay away from making plans immediately.
• Definitely NOT worry and stress about it. You have to be able to relax about it.
The days before I left, I tried not to worry about it and just did the things I had to do at that time.
I went to bed early because I knew I needed my energy for anything that would come up unexpectedly.
I stayed focused on the idea that a solution would appear. Not knowing what would come and what the solution would be.
The only thing I had decided was to already plan a flight for the next month and give myself a month to find out whatever needed to happen.
Find Potential member
The day before I left for Zürich, all of a sudden I got a few new Facebook invitations from people in Zürich. One of them seemed like a potential member, so I made an appointment to meet with her. We never met before.
I remembered there was another businesswoman from Zürich who had reached out to me on social media before, but I did not see at the time why we would meet, but now it could become useful to get to know each other, so I made an appointment with her too. We also never met before.
So with 2 appointments in 4 days and some locations, I wanted to scout for possible monthly meetings, and the unlimited believe that I would somehow fix this I left home to the airport in Amsterdam, looking forward to this challenge and opportunity and be ready for whatever would come my way.
Businesswomen need to stay focused and dare to ask
I was very focused during the monthly meeting of our network in Zürich. All the women always pitch and I heard that one person had a lot of connections in big corporate organizations. I know these organizations all have their diversity goals and are looking for ways to match these goals. And one goal could be to sponsor a female business network.
During the networking time, I asked her if she would have time for a meeting in the next coming days and she had. I also told her about the purpose of the meeting. That I needed help finding potential sponsors, locations, and members. (At the time I thought it was very blunt of me but I had not much time in Zürich).
The next day we already met in the morning. What a coincidence that this busy woman had an hour for me the next day! She came prepared and had given it a thought, thanks to my ask and being clear on the purpose of the meeting. I had only seen her once before. She was very happy to help and gave me 3 very interesting connections. One investor with his own location and 2 female networkers with a large network in Zürich and also in London. (And it is not a coincidence that we also have a chapter in London). I tried to get hold of them but they did not have time shortly.
Client binding leads to new ideas for businesswomen
I had also come up with the idea to meet a few of my Zürich members. I wanted to get to know them, ask them how the meetings were and what they would like to add. This was very helpful and they gave me some new ideas. One of the members invited me to a BNI business networking meeting on Friday morning.
I had to wake up at 5.30 but I decided to do that because I had not planned it and it was a good opportunity. I speak German very well due to my times as a ski-teacher in my early years.
For the first time, I had to pitch in German. That was a challenge but I tried not to worry too much. It went well. And It had a fabulous result. I asked for possible free rooms for our meetings, for sponsors, and for keynote speakers. And know this has to be done in only 40 seconds!
It appeared to be a very productive chapter. Very generous and helpful businesswomen who are very supportive. Also towards me, a total stranger.
The result of the meeting was:
• One room sponsored by a big organization who works with women and who wants to expand to the Netherlands. We will be in touch about this, because I, of course, have connections in the Netherlands.
• One invitation for dinner to discuss to have a meeting with my women at his location.
• I walked up to an insurance company and asked if they would be interested to host a meeting and they were.
The last evening I was invited to one of my Zürich members’ house. She appears to have a very, very large business women’s network in Switzerland and she just did not have the time yet to invite her network to our former meetings.
We discussed her approach to promote my women’s network to her network.
The last meeting was on Saturday morning with the woman I got to know form FB just 2 days prior to my trip. She wants to become a new member and might even be interested to run the chapter after a while. And I could also connect her to a possible investor in Switzerland and someone who can help her expand to China. And I know very few people in Switzerland still.
Looking back is what all businesswomen should do
Looking back at this trip and writing this column waiting for my flight, the results are remarkable. I left with two meetings and no plan.
And I come back with
• Lots of invitations (5 minimum) to have free meetings at various locations because they are interested to get to know the high-end businesswomen of my network.
• A new member, who might even be able to run the chapter in the near future.
• Somebody who will actively promote the network to her connections
• 2 possible keynote speakers who I can invite for free.
• Two female networkers I still have to talk to them but who could possibly send new businesswomen to get to know our network in Zürich and London.
• An invitation to go to another BNI chapter, close to Zürich to promote my network over there, with all the new possibility’s that has in store for me.
• I had 9 meetings in total!
Did I know all of this would happen?
No! Not at all!
But I did know things WOULD happen. Because I left my house with the expectation that things would happen that would serve me and the members.
When you are businesswomen and you want to know more about Tineke
Tineke Rensen is in business for 29 years. She built an international Outdoor and Survival business from scratch and sold this after 22 years.
Tineke was a national whitewater kayaking champion.She now is one of the most all-round business accelerators you can find. There are very few topics she cannot help you within your business. Many people find it hard to believe when they hear this. How much do you think you know about a topic if you live it day and night for 28 years?
She works with female business owners to grow to their full business potential. She uses her own system the “Blueprint for a Successful Business Makeover”.She is a women’s business coach.
Download the free report of the thoughrow study: How Women do Business”
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Tineke is the CEO of Powerful Business Academy, which is situated in The Netherlands.