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  • Writer's pictureUana Coccoloni

Cracking the Code: Networking Tips for Female Entrepreneurs & Founders

As a business owner, you already know that building a network is as crucial as that first cup of coffee in the morning. But in a world inundated with digital connections, we need to embrace the power of good ol' face-to-face networking. And I’m not talking about handing out business cards at some lame “networking” event in the ballroom at the local Marriott. I’m talking about building relationships that will increase your knowledge and help grow your business. Let’s take your networking up a notch for real results.

The Lost Art of Cold Calling

Let’s get the toughest one out of the way. The phrase “cold call” probably conjures up images of a sweaty salesman calling your elderly parents, pitching them on the idea of aluminum siding for the home they sold 10 years ago. In a world dominated by tweets and likes, the art of a good old-fashioned phone call can be your secret weapon. Imagine your potential client only gets pitched two times on a particular day. The first pitch comes in some cut-and-paste email replete with the Mailchimp logo below the signature line. But the second pitch is your warm, confident voice on the other end of a phone line. It's personal, it's real, and it cuts through the digital noise. So, pick up that phone – it might just be your next big breakthrough on the other end.

Pro Tip: If you’ve never made a “cold call,” remember that you have all the power in this exchange. You know when you’re calling, who you’re calling, and why you’re calling, so take all the time you need to prepare your pitch. Then call, pitch, and then most importantly, LISTEN!!!

Tap into the Power of Female Connections

Building a business can feel like the loneliest job in the world. While friends and former colleagues are talking 401ks and planning vacations, you’re on hold with your supplier, who’s been screwing up. And remember that “networking event” at the Marriott I mentioned? How often have you been the only woman in that room? It’s time to flip the script on that “the only and the lonely” narrative. It’s time to connect with your fellow female entrepreneurs. That’s right. You’re not alone. I’m not alone. We’re out there. We’re everywhere. Seek out and build relationships with other women in business and not just in your industry! You know that woman who owns your yoga studio? Ask if she’d like to get coffee sometime. Then, invite the woman who owns the food truck you love to join you. Share experiences, insights, and even a good laugh – because who else would understand the unique challenges and triumphs of being a woman in business? When we support each other, incredible things happen. And trust me, if you’ve never sat at a table full of women who get shit done and cheer each other on, then you’re missing out on one of the best experiences in life. The power of female connections is a force to be reckoned with. It’s time to tap into that power.

Tend To Your Garden

Now, I’m not a gardener. Actually, I’m the complete opposite of a gardener. Plants in my house play dead when I walk by, so I don’t try to kill them twice. I digress. I’m going to try this gardening metaphor. Building a business is like growing a garden. It takes time, care, and a lot of cultivation. Similarly, networking requires time, care, and a lot of cultivation. You can’t rush growth or force the development of a relationship. Don’t feel the need to pitch yourself or your business with every interaction. Let the relationship grow naturally and organically. With your network contacts, it's about planting seeds, watering them, and watching them bloom over time. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Sometimes, it's about planting the seeds for future collaborations. And don’t expect every seed you plant to grow into something beautiful. Some relationships wilt and die on the vine. And that’s fine. (I think I really stuck the landing on that garden metaphor.)

Networking in Strange Places

My husband works in entertainment, so I often find myself in a room full of people looking for an agent, trying to pitch their script, or wondering if I am someone super powerful since they have no idea who I am. At some point during these parties, all the non-entertainment people tend to find one another. And you know what? They’ve been a gold mine for networking – chance encounters, casual conversations, or unexpected events lead to beneficial relationships. So, be open to networking in unconventional settings. At networking events like the one at the Marriott I mentioned (yes, the one I keep referencing was that bad), everyone is in “networking” mode. Which makes it easy to have pleasant engagements that many times lead to nothing. But when you’re outside of your industry or in an unusual setting, things can get interesting. Try to attend events not just in your niche but be willing to explore diverse forums. Whether it's a pottery class, a cooking workshop, or a hiking club – broaden your horizons. Networking isn't confined to boardrooms; it's everywhere.

Final Thoughts

Networking isn't just about business cards and handshakes. It's about gaining relationships that will support you through the highs and lows of your entrepreneurial journey. And you, in turn, can support others through their ups and downs. Embrace the power of in-person connections, dial fearlessly, build relationships patiently, connect with your fellow female entrepreneurs, and be open to unexpected opportunities. Remember, the most successful businesses aren't built in isolation but on the foundation of meaningful connections.

Start now! Start with me! Feel free to reach out to me directly to join my network or invite me to join yours. Let’s help each other build something special.

Until next week – Stay Dope!



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