I have had the pleasure of belonging to several womens business groups. One, I have spoken of earlier is the Women’s Economic Forum. This is a business women’s networking group.
I have also been involved in a few informal women’s business owner groups. In these groups, business owners meet together (usually 3-6 women) about every 3 weeks, to discuss current business situations. I have found these groups to be extemely supportive and insightful. Each person in attendance is given a chance to speak about anything in their business they wish. We only discuss business at our meetings, generally held in a local restaurant. It can involve any aspect of our business, recent accomplishments, requests for advice, hiring staff, advertising, etc, etc. The great thing is, you are able to gain immediate assistance for something that is occurring in your business at that moment. Every time I leave one of these meetings, I am pumped! It is so great, as sole proprietors, to be able to bounce ideas off of others who have experience in being a business owner. These groups are not difficult to start. Simply choose a few women (6 seems to be a great number) that you think you could learn from. Invite them to be part of the group. Ensure that everyone agrees that anything discussed at the meetings must be held in the strictest confidence. It is important that those you invite, commit to spending the time to be there on a regular basis, and are willing to freely share their expertise. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak.
To add a little fun, we have one extra meeting a year right before Christmas which is an informal Christmas party atmosphere. Everyone brings a small Christmas gift to share with the other women in the group.
Having such a group is a smart business decision. I wish you luck and lots of brainstorming with your fellow business owners!