Tips for Cultivating a Supportive Network of Women

By Kimberley Borgens


The life of a business owner can be challenging – especially if you are operating in a male-dominated industry. But I can tell you that the most powerful allies that will keep you going are the connections, collaborations, and unwavering devotion that come from having a supportive network of women at your side.

All women need a strong and supportive female network. I’ve seen the ups, the downs, and everything in between – and trust me, building a tribe that’s got your back can make all the difference. Today, we’ll dive into the heart of what it truly means to thrive in a world that sometimes doesn’t play fair.

We’re not just talking business here; we’re talking about creating a sisterhood of support, encouragement, and growth. Because in the world of business, success is sweeter when it’s shared.

Breaking Barriers and Shattering Stereotypes

Along my journey, I’ve worn the hat of a CEO at Delta Protective Services. I also proudly coach the incredible minds at Be a Legacy, where we build a supportive network of women business owners. In more than three decades in a male-dominated industry, I’ve seen it all – the victories, the setbacks, and the moments that make you question why you’re doing what you’re doing.

But here’s the deal – those years weren’t just about climbing the corporate ladder. They were about breaking barriers, shattering stereotypes, and learning some hard-hitting lessons along the way. And now, armed with a backpack full of experience, I’m here to share the gems with you.

Lessons from the Queen Bee

As the Queen of accountability and the self-proclaimed Queen Bee of the hive society (yes, we’re embracing the royal vibes here), my journey has been a rollercoaster of challenges and triumphs. I’ve encountered those who thought they were smarter or better, but guess what? I’ve proven I belong.

So, whether you’re a seasoned professional looking for fresh insights or a budding entrepreneur gearing up for the ride, rest assured, you’re in good company. My credentials? Well, they’re not just about titles; they’re about resilience, adaptability, and a genuine love for seeing others succeed.

Get ready to navigate the business world with me. I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt (and even a tiara). Get ready because we’re about to turn those challenges into stepping stones. Your journey, your success – let’s make it extraordinary!

Breaking Free from the Scarcity Mindset

Let’s dive into a topic that’s no stranger to the business battleground – the scarcity mindset. Now, I get it. In some corners of the world, scarcity is a harsh reality, but today, we’re talking about a different kind – the one that sneaks into our minds, convincing us there’s not enough success, clients, or ideas to go around.

Revealing the scarcity mindset

Imagine you’re in a race, but the track is endless, and the finish line keeps moving. That’s what the scarcity mindset feels like. It’s this illusion that whispers, “If she wins, I lose,” or “There’s not enough room for all of us at the top.” Well, guess what? That’s a limiting belief, a myth that’s holding you back.

In the grand scheme of business, scarcity is just smoke and mirrors. It’s time to clear the air and realize that success isn’t a limited resource. Imagine Coca-Cola thinking, “If Pepsi sells more, we’re doomed.” Nope! They both thrive because they’ve embraced the concept of collaboration over competition.

Exploring all of life’s opportunities

Here’s what you need to know. You’re not competing in a Hunger Games arena. You’re navigating a vast ocean of opportunities. There’s room for your brilliance, unique ideas, and success. But breaking free from the scarcity mindset takes conscious effort.

So, how do we do it? We recognize it when it creeps in and kick it to the curb. We understand that success is abundant, and there’s enough for everyone. It’s about staying one step ahead of the competition, not shoving others out of the way.

As we embrace our possibilities, remember that you’re not navigating scarcity but moving towards abundance. Let’s rewrite the script because success is not a finite resource. It’s an ever-expanding universe waiting for you to explore.

Collaboration and Competition – The Real Magic of Business

Now, let’s talk about a game-changer – collaboration versus competition. It’s a topic close to my heart because, after three decades in the business, I’ve learned that the real magic happens when we work together rather than against each other.

The partnership of collaboration and competition

Collaboration is about working hand-in-hand to create something remarkable. It’s not about the race to the finish line but the journey we share. On the flip side, competition often gets a bad rap, but it’s not the enemy. It’s about pushing each other to be better, not tearing someone down to make ourselves look superior.

So, let’s debunk a myth here. Business isn’t a win-lose situation. It’s not about making someone else lose for you to win. No, it’s about finding ways to work together with businesses, industries, and individuals who complement what you do.

Think about it – Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Two giants in a similar arena, yet they thrive side by side. Why? Because they understand the power of collaboration within the realm of competition. It’s not about trying to wipe each other off the map; it’s about each finding their unique edge.

When collaboration gives you a competitive edge

So, here’s my advice: shift your mindset from “I must win over here and make them lose over there” to “How can we work together to outshine the rest?” Collaboration is the secret sauce to getting that edge over the competition.

Now, let’s be clear: maintaining a competitive edge is essential. It’s organizing a team effort where everyone plays a role, and each element contributes to the overall achievement. Your business functions like a team, and there’s space for others to participate without overshadowing your contributions.

In a world that sometimes feels individualistic, let’s foster a culture of collaboration. It’s not solely about achieving success; it’s about redefining how we perceive and attain it. So, my friend, let’s advocate for collaboration, appreciate diversity, and collectively reshape our understanding of success. Ultimately, the true triumph is when we all progress together.

Practical Steps for Building Collaboration

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – practical steps for building collaboration. I’m not about just talking the talk; I’m all about walking the walk, and I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to help you create the collaborative, supportive network you need!

Networking Events

First off, let’s hit those networking events. I’m talking about conferences, seminars, and gatherings where like-minded individuals are itching to connect. Instead of going with the goal of simply handing out business cards, make sure you are forging genuine connections. Remember, it’s not a competition; it’s a chance to find your collaboration tribe.

Online Platforms

Now, let’s talk online platforms. Dive into professional networks like LinkedIn. It’s not just a digital resume; it’s a playground for collaboration. Join relevant groups, share your insights, and be part of the conversation. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. So, let’s spread some knowledge and care in those virtual spaces.

Mentoring

Next on the list – mentoring opportunities. Whether you’re the mentor or the mentee, seek those relationships. Get involved in Small Business Development Centers, become a score advisor, and be the helping hand someone else needs. Collaboration isn’t just about businesses; it’s about supporting each other’s growth.

Collaborative Projects

And don’t forget collaborative projects. Engage in initiatives that align with your goals and values. It’s not about reinventing the wheel but making it spin a little smoother. Whether it’s a local community effort or a global project, your knowledge and experience are gold. Share them generously.

Workshops and Training

Now, workshops and trainings – both attending and hosting. Enhance your skills and create opportunities for interaction. Ever heard of my brown bag series? It’s a lunchtime event where I share nuggets of wisdom – you bring your lunch, I bring the training. Hosting your own workshops doesn’t have to break the bank, but it sure builds connections and collaborations.

Social Media

Social media engagement is a game-changer. It’s not just about posting; it’s about actively engaging. Share your insights, participate in discussions, and connect with professionals in your space. The virtual world is a vast collaboration playground; don’t just stand on the sidelines – jump in!

Support Networks

And let’s not forget the power of support networks. Create a community for women in business. Share experiences and advice, and foster that sense of camaraderie. Masterminds and women’s networks are like secret weapons for collaboration and growth.

Volunteer

Lastly, volunteer opportunities. Actively seek chances to contribute to causes related to your industry. It’s not just about giving back; it’s about meeting people who share your passion. You never know where the next collaboration spark might ignite.

These are not just steps; they’re your ticket to a collaboration-rich journey. It’s time to take these practical actions, build connections, and let the spirit of collaboration elevate your success. Ready to roll up your sleeves? Let’s turn these ideas into collaborative masterpieces!

Elevate Together, Rise Together

As we move forward, let’s remember the strength that lies in unity. The business world can be brutal, and the path to success may have its twists and turns, but here’s the secret – when women support each other, incredible things happen. Building connections takes time, and that’s not just okay; it’s beautiful. 

Remember, you’re not alone on this path. The support network we’re creating and the collaborations we’re forging are the foundation of our empowerment. Together, we elevate, and together, we rise.

Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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