Last week was a bit of rush for me as we held our first free talk. Anyway, that’s done till the next monthly talk comes up in September. (Just in case you want to attend, do sign up! I promise it’s fun and educational.)
The next day, I rushed off to my WomenBizSense lunch to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. This time, it was held at Strada Restaurant on Pulau Tikus. I don’t mind the venue though parking is a hassle especially if we’re talking about Pulau Tikus traffic on a Friday afternoon, lunch hour no less!
WomenBizSense is now 3 years old.
Last Friday, I was truly grateful that so many friends turned up to help us celebrate this third birthday of ours. Most of them were regular attendees of our networking events; all of them businesswomen in their own right.
All busy but all took time to come share this achievement with us. Us as in me and Jo. Jo had the idea to start this group many years ago and when she told me, I said, why not?
The ‘why not’ was also painted with rebellion. Sometimes that’s me. If I don’t like something that I see out there, I’d rather start my own or do something on my own. I’d seen many business groups but none resonated with me. Some rules were plain silly anyway. Instead of griping, I thought, let’s see what we can do about it. And yup, WomenBizSense was born.
But running a women’s only networking group does have its setback sometimes. As we’re a group that meets once a month, relationships may not be as strong as what we envision. And we don’t have membership dues so some women do take us for granted – they attend once or twice and disappear for a year or so. They drop in whenever they like at events. And women always put family first so we work around nitty-gritties like school, kids, holidays and festivities.
And Jo and I cannot be running this group forever. At some point, we need others to pitch in. And of course, grow the group so we can do better things and bring more benefits to the group of women entrepreneurs in Penang.
Right now we’re not publicising ourselves enough. It’s just within the group of 40 or so ladies but that’s certainly not enough. And yes, it’s a voluntary role because we started it out of pure need. We needed a group for women entrepreneurs who are just starting out, who want to get genuine referrals, who want to become friends and at the same time do business with each other.
But realizing these teething problems is one good way of moving forward.
I realize that Jo and I cannot do this on our limited resources if we want to reach out to more women who run small businesses in Penang.
Starting next month, we’re electing a group of committee members to help us out – to plan activities which are more social and recreational in nature. The funny thing with women is, if we’re not comfortable with each other, we cannot refer or send business to each other. Or does this also happen with men? (Men, if you run businesses, I’d love to hear your point of view.)
One day, our dream for WomenBizSense is that there’s a chapter in every city across Malaysia. That’s what one member said to us during our sharing session after lunch was over and done with.
Again, I think, why not? All things are possible.
I’m glad we’ve turned 3. We’re just beginning at WomenBizSense!