WHAT BUSINESS WOMEN WANT
How to face challenges in business and turn them into your favor, without being stressed
By Tineke Rensen, Founder, Powerful Business Women’s Network
This week I was traveling to Zürich in Switzerland to celebrate six months since we launched "Powerful Business Women's Network” in Switzerland. I live in the Netherlands and my plan was to spend only one day in Zurich and fly back after the celebrations.
Zürich is a beautiful, vibrant city and being surrounded by mountains, makes it the perfect destination for our Powerful Business Women Club.
Through a set of external circumstances, involving my local representative’s lifestyle changes, as she is expecting a baby, I had to book another flight and extend my stay, rent a car, and here I am, driving in a city I hardly know! At first, I had to put in balance my previous commitments, carefully handpicked meetings, and find a way to keep everything going as planned! It is 2018 after all, and I could jump on Skype calls instead!
Would you see this as a disaster or an opportunity?
I chose to see it as an opportunity. I traveled to Zürich with no idea how to approach this change of plan, but I knew that I would do somehow to fix it. Our members, regardless the location, deserve good quality meetings and I am going to do whatever takes to deliver my original promise to them. While I did not see myself travelling up and down to Zürich, this is exactly what I am doing now, as my clients’ experience matters the most.
They were very excited to know that I am not giving up on them due to a change of circumstances!
There are a few things that are important when you face a challenging situation like this. And, I should add that reality is totally different from what every business book, every business guru and every known business strategy tells you. Also, it is very much the opposite of what most business women usually do. Women like to be totally prepared and in control!
I went to Zürich with no plan. Here I am, sharing with you my own experience, to help you understand that you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to show up!
How do you face challenges in business and turn them into your favor, without being stressed?
• An unlimited trust in yourself and in the new circumstances that are created outside your control, even if you don't know yet what it will happen. Give the Universe the possibility of stepping in. Or you could call it: Set yourself up for better things to happen.
• Have an open mind.
• Give yourself time to think instead of trying to ‘fix it’ immediately.
• Give yourself a chance to craft a better strategy instead of making plans immediately.
• DO NOT worry and stress about it. Take a deep breath and relax. All is well!
The days before I left home, I decided 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 there is always a solution for everything. I accepted that it is ok not knowing what would come or what the solution would be. The only thing I had decided was to plan a flight already for the next month and give myself a month to find out whatever needed to happen next.
The day before I left for Zürich, suddenly, I got a few new invitations from local people, who live in Zürich. One of them seemed like a potential member, so I made an appointment to meet with her. We never met before and I, yes, I had to travel an hour to go and see her.
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.
When I left home to the airport in Amsterdam, looking forward to this adventure I decided to be ready for whatever would come my way.
The outcome? I made two appointments in four days, I found few possible new venues for our monthly meetings, and the unlimited believe that I would somehow turned a bad situation to my advantage, better than I could imagine!
During our meeting, I focused on what every single woman pitched, and I heard what our women want. Listening is more important than speaking. One person is working with big corporate organizations. I know these organizations all have their diversity goals and are looking for ways to match these goals. Could one of their goals be to sponsor a female business network?
I wasted no time and asked my new connection if she would have time for a meeting in the next coming days and we agreed to meet. I also told her the purpose of the meeting: I needed help finding potential sponsors, locations, and members. (At the time I thought it was very blunt of me, but I know the value of time, and I had to make the most of my time in Zürich).
We’ve met next morning. To my surprise this busy woman had an hour for me, the very next day! She came prepared and she had given it a thought to my proposal overnight, thanks to being clear on the purpose of the meeting. I don’t really like when people want to ‘have coffee”. Who cares about drinking another coffee? How many coffees can you actually drink? When I am asked to meet for ‘coffee’ I know somebody wants to pick my brain or sell me their services. In my opinion it is best to be honest and share your intentions with potential clients from the very beginning. I think my new friend appreciated my honesty, even I had seen this woman only once before. She was very happy to help and gave me three very interesting connections. One investor with his own venue and two female networkers with a large network in Zürich and London.
When your purpose is clear, everything is aligned; there is no coincidence that we also have a chapter in London. I tried to connect with them, without success so far. It is the last month of 2018 when I write my column, and a lot of people already left for the celebration season and that is all good, I will get in touch again in January.
I also thought that it will be a good idea to meet a few members from our Zürich Chapter. I always feel that knowing your clients is very important, could give me the chance to ask for feedback and learn their wish list, serve them better.
One of the members invited me to a BNI business networking meeting on Friday morning.
Yes, I had to wake up at 5.30 am but I decided to join anyway, even I had not planned for it and I knew it will be another challenge (which for me always translate in to opportunity). Thanks to the time when I was a ski-teacher, I speak German, and 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. It had a fabulous result, too! I build up my courage and I asked for possible free rooms for our meetings, for sponsors, and for keynote speakers- all in 40 seconds!
Working extra time with the Zürich Chapter, definitely exceeded my expectations! Each one of them proved to be generous and helpful business people who are very supportive, they helped me, a total stranger. I am very grateful for supporting my vision with such class and generosity, at every single step of the way!
If you want to know what business women want, get in touch!
I am just a click away!