Business tips from female entrepreneurs at our latest networking event

Being a woman in business comes with its challenges. Sharing your experience and learning from your peers can help with navigating difficulties. Our managing director, Siobhan Stirling, hosted the latest Make It Your Business event at The Finance Hub on The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells, with a panel of incredible speakers. Here we sum up the insightful advice from the morning.

Our keynote speaker, Deborah Turner, Federation of Small Businesses’ National Policy Lead for Women in Enterprise, Consultant Chartered Surveyor and much more, learnt the hard way the value of investing in yourself and embracing who you are.

She says: “As a woman of colour, when I first started out working as a surveyor (historically, a majority white, male field), I was constantly trying to blend in, hiding my personality and ended up missing out on promotions. I realised that to be taken seriously, I needed to invest in myself and my personal brand to really achieve success, which meant bringing my femininity and personality to work!”

She emphasised the importance of building a network of people around you who will support you, and nurturing those relationships is vital.

Gemma Farina of GF HR Consulting, set up her HR consulting business after the arrival of her first child, having worked in HR since graduating. She shared that building the right foundations in your business is what’s important:

“My first role was in Grosvenor, which was very much old school when it came to having a strong ethos of honesty and integrity. Recognising people and their values is key to a strong workforce and so a lot of what I want to be doing when I work with companies is not just reacting to situations, but going deeper and trying to solve the issues which are causing problems to arise in the first place.“

Debbie Waite, founder of Stronger Inside and Out life coaching, draws on a lot of her own experiences when speaking with her clients. She worked in training for The Savoy and Claridge’s before moving to leadership and management training at AXA. But it was after having children that Debbie realised she couldn’t do everything:

“I have always been ready to work super hard, and after having children, I was ready to continue working hard, until I began to feel that I was being pushed too far. I was expecting too much of myself, and needed to acknowledge there are only so many hours in a day, so I couldn’t have my corporate job, do CrossFit training on the side and be a mother: something needed to give. I decided to take control of my life. I decided I didn’t want to play the corporate game anymore and realised I could use my experiences to help other women struggling to balance corporate ambition with a happy home life. The only way you can reach your full potential is by focusing on yourself, so that is what I help women to do.”

Claire Passos, founder of Caracol Glamping had a vision from when she was young to set up a glamping site. She eventually decided to take the leap and leave her role in marketing. She shared her experience, saying: “Having a team supporting you helps to make it less isolating, because the commercials of running a business can be hard. My advice would be don’t pretend you have to know or do everything yourself, use experts to guide and assist you if you can.

  • Invest in yourself
  • Being vulnerable can build your resilience
  • Nurture your relationships within your support network

All four of our panellists were incredibly inspiring and we are already looking forward to our next Make it Your Business event in October.

Based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Sharp Minds Communications offers brand development, digital marketing, offline marketing, and public relations to businesses across Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Greater London.

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