Mathews: The advantages of women working with other women

  • Paula Mathews Courtesy photo—

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 9:52AM

Over the years, I’ve come to understand why many women prefer working with women in the business world. When I first started my business, it was important to establish a network and almost 50 percent of my available time was spent meeting people and establishing relationships with many of them. Some of these relationships go back over a decade and I now have several trusted professional women (and men) who give me honest information and are strong advocates for me. It works both ways. The advantages of working with women are many.

It is sometimes difficult for women to promote themselves. It goes against what they’ve been taught. Professional marketing women under-stand this and can create marvelous campaigns. I had a team of three women who created my first website. I provided the facts & figures while they took professional photographs, created clear & concise text, and designed some clean pages. They were able to portray me and my business in a way that I couldn’t.

When someone starts a professional services business, such as a Safety consultant or a bookkeeper, it’s sometimes difficult to know what to charge. Women are much more apt to share information with other women. If you can get input from three businesses who operate in your field, you’ll have a good guideline to start with. Once past your initial stage, when do you change your prices? A good friend of mine taught me to raise my prices every time I got too busy. He told me that my business would slow down for a short time, but that when new clients came on, the business would be more profitable. That proved to be a sound strategy, but needs to be balanced against how strong the economy is. I raised my rates at one point and then had to knock them back down because the economy was too soft at that time to accommodate an increase.

Women are more forthcoming in offering advice and help. When you have women you can trust to be honest with you when you ask for their opinion, you have gold. I’m a member of a Master Maven group. We formed this 4-person group last fall and participate in a Zoom meeting on the first Thursday of each month. Each person gets 10 minutes to talk about her progress towards last month’s goal, high notes, low notes, tips or techniques, and present challenges/requests for help. One person each month gets 25 minutes, with more time to address her current challenges. It’s a safe place to vent and share. Start a group of your own.

When asked, these women will be honest when giving fashion advice. For those of us who are challenged in that area, it’s nice to have women in your corner that you can ask if this color goes with this, or if these shoes go with the earrings, or if the jacket will work with the dress.

Last, but certainly not least, these women advocates will become your sisters. My mother said that no matter what kind of man I had in my life, I needed to keep my girlfriends close. Some of these women that you bring into your life will become walking partners or will become a dinner companion that you see once a month. Maybe they will become kayaking or gym buddies or bridge partners. Whatever they become, these women will be an important part of your life. Go find them.

Paula Mathews, formerly of HR Compliance 101, LLC, has joined forces with Michelle Gray and HR Synergy, LLC out of Bedford, NH. With over 35 years of experience in the Human Resource and Safety field, Paula continues to support her clients with the additional resources of HR Synergy, LLC and expertise of Michelle Gray. Website is www.hrsynergyllc.com and you can call Paula at 603-261-2402, x3 or e-mail paula.mathews@hrsynergyllc.com.