Nic McClanachan, Founder and CEO of Accountability Circle shares her insights on the power of women supporting each other in business, which she has gleaned from 5 years dedicated to facilitating groups of female business owners, and helping them to achieve their goals.
Something magical happens when women support other women in business
That support can literally change the course of a company, it can provide an opportunity that would not have otherwise existed, it can lighten a heavy load, or it might just be the words of support that a woman really needs to hear.
At Accountability Circle I get to witness magic every day, working with female business owners in groups of 8. We meet monthly, sharing our business results, our opportunities, and our challenges. Every year we write our business stories for the next year – what do we want to be able to say this time in 12 months? And then we build our milestones and report back on our progress. We share stories, knowledge, and experiences. And we hold each other to account. It’s the epitome of women supporting women.
Earlier this year one of our members was approached by someone they had been doing business with, to partner on a new idea. She believed she couldn’t execute this idea without them, it was geared to benefit them way more than it would benefit her, and she would end up doing most the work and carrying most of the risk. This member presented the opportunity to the group in detail, she shared her fears and her reservations.
The group asked questions, shared our experiences, and offered our perspectives. It was during this process the member realised the opportunity was actually all hers, and that she had the means and the ability to do it herself. Next year she’s launching this business and every single of one of us will be there cheering her on when she does. Every month when she gives us an update on her progress, she tells us “I never would have done this without you all.”
We learn through others sharing their experience
A few months back I connected two women in two different Accountability Circle groups. One of these women had sold her business in 2020, not only did she pull off a great deal during a global pandemic, but she did it with the complexity of a tricky business partner and after a broker had told her it was an unsellable business. The second member is looking to sell her business, she too has a tricky stakeholder involved and while no-one has officially told her, she knows it will be hard to sell. The two members have since met, shared stories and the second member later told me she learned so much from the first. Now she’s finally got some hope and a clear path moving forward.
We celebrate each other’s success
Just yesterday another member posted in her Accountability Circle WhatsApp group “I just had to share! I’ve been so nervous but now I’m so excited. We launched our new site today and in just one day we’ve had over 80 people sign up as members”. Her cheerleaders were quick to respond, “that’s amazing” “wooo hoooo” “fantastic” “congratulations”. Just knowing that there is always a group of your peers, that understand this roller-coaster ride called business and who are ready to celebrate your small wins, can give you the fuel to keep going.
We hold each other accountable to achieve our goals
But probably my favourites moments are when one Accountability Circle member holds another Accountability Circle member to account. It’s the ultimate gift of support. I remember a few months back one of our members was sharing her quarterly critical milestone update and she said, “I didn’t make any progress on that one, I’ve just been too busy.” Another member interjected “I get that you’ve got a lot on, but you said this was critical to your business. What do you need to change? What can we do to help?”
The questions were asked with kindness and empathy and a desire for her fellow member to achieve her goals. Not surprisingly, the member who was previously not making progress has discovered she needs to make some pretty drastic changes to her business if she wants to achieve what she desires, and she’s started taking action.
Supporting another woman in business comes in many forms
Shout outs, referrals and purchasing from them there are often the most obvious ones. Then there’s the more subtle (and what I call ‘magic’ ways); sharing stories and experiences with each other, asking thought provoking questions, being there to cheer them on with small wins and holding them to account.
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