Unless you have discovered that you are absolutely perfect at absolutely everything, then I suspect we shall be in full agreement that the only way to as much success as possible is to rope in other class acts and hope a lot of good stuff rubs off.
One of the interesting things about recession is that it forces us to do things differently; I was speaking with a commercial property lawyer last week who said that she has definitely seen things improve through 2012 and one of the key things she has been aware of is that people have been doing things differently. That many of her significant clients have come together into groups or consortia and pooled money, contacts and expertise as they have been unable to get the ‘usual’ funding from banks or equity partners. And that she has seen people being more creative about schemes and ways round situations that wouldn’t have been there in the boom days – that their response is to gang up and bash the problem into oblivion.
Most of us women, of course, will likely be reading this and saying “well, so what? What dough-brain didn’t realise that collaboration was A Good Thing anyway?” But (braving the stereotypes – or collapsing into them) it is generally valid to say that women have a tendency to be more naturally collaborative than do very many men in the business world. Ever since the Sirens banded together to make their voices better heard women have generally always kind of got that. We are competitive, for sure, but often not to the exclusion of the collaboration gene, but rather in communication with it.
Being sensible, we rely on others to advocate for us and there are times when we wait for the right project to come along on which we can work with people we just want to work with. We did this recently, with the launch of the Independent Women Breakthrough 100 http://www.independentwomen.co.uk/iw/news/breakthrough-100.html
Not only did this give us the opportunity to match our brand and company ethos with a fantastic charity in Scotland, but it also enabled us to collaborate with dozens of fabulous women across the country. We’ll raise money for this critical charity (at least £100,000 by June 2013), we’ll have some fun, test ourselves a bit and also start doing business with one another more. As we said at the launch event, we’ve all been ticked off at the behaviours of some organisations over the past 5 years; if you can’t beat them and you don’t want to join them, just don’t give them any new business! We aim to refer within the group where we can and support one another’s businesses to claim stellar growth as we (hopefully) start to lift our heads out of recession.
The IWB100 community is growing by the day (we are over halfway to the 100 sign ups) and we are working with hugely supportive partners such as Branding Boutique, Hotel Indigo, Adam & Co and the Scotsman for starters. Then there are the stories of what everyone is going to do to raise the cash…. some women are clearly more bonkers than others… But they’ll all get the support they need and one thing is for sure – we’ll do it together and we’ll celebrate together when we’ve done it.