Why 'business showers' are the way forward for female entrepreneurs

Why ‘business showers’ are the way forward for female entrepreneurs

business shower
Most often when we catch a meme, we either agree with the insight or have a laugh, tag someone or share it and then continue on with our day, largely unaffected.

On the contrary, one particular meme drastically altered the course of my new business. One mere meme drop in the internet ocean helped me realise the critical importance of celebrating small wins and building community when starting a new business.

You might have seen it – the “Business Shower” meme. It proposes “Instead of Baby Showers, let’s host Business Showers. When a friend starts a business, we all come together, congratulate them and bring resources for their business”*.

No offence intended nor should be taken to baby showers. Believe me – I’ve had two kids and was “showered” in both Sydney and Melbourne by friends and family with abundant kindness, generosity and wisdom. These events created vivid and happy memories of friendship and provided sincere and expert advice for motherhood.

So the concept of applying this warmth and insight to the equally life changing occasion of starting a new business held massive appeal.

Starting a new business can be lonely. Inviting the right people to surround you at the equally (just less physically) shapeshifting experience of founding is key. Community helps to balance loneliness with a network that will “shower” your challenges, victories and questions with serendipity, insights and encouragement.

Suddenly a meme had become my mission.

Up until this I had been “Chief Legacy Officer” for my clients – organising brands towards proactively crafting individual legacy and prototyping my “Legacy Worksheet” – a process in development to align long term personal legacy with every day to day operational decision.

Instead, for the past two months I’ve been community champion, connection catalyst – building new relationships and connections and confidence. Building towards the first, hopefully annual, combined “NSW Business Shower”.

On Friday 11 October at Parliament House with the Hon. Damien Tudehope, NSW Minister for Finance and Small Business and supported by Nextdoor, we have a moment to get together, to celebrate small wins and to share resources.

The unforeseen benefit of dedicating myself to community for a while has been to transform the direction of my otherwise local consultancy into a product and community of service to a very global territory. In three ways:

  1.   Connecting with the incredible Maxine Sherrin, Director of Spark Festival – Australia’s largest event for startups, innovation and entrepreneurs. The personification of collaboration and community, Maxine introduced me to Nextdoor to collaborate and host the NSW Business Shower together. Nextdoor believe when local business thrives, community thrives. Testament to this credo, my new business is now on a greater growth trajectory.
  2.   Coinciding the Business Shower with NSW Small Business Month. During this and every month I’ve found there is so much support available for new business. For example there are NSW Business Advisers providing the first 1-4 hours professional advice for free. The 2016 mantra of Jobs for NSW that new entities can be “born global” has challenged my assumptions and broadened my market from advising on legacy with just a few CEOs of Australian companies, to building a platform for proactively crafting legacy worldwide. The grants available by Jobs for NSW are one way a new founder could access funding to fast track a product vision into MVP reality.
  3.   Almost as exciting as an invitation to join the smartest and most provocative book club, being introduced to a group of female founders and business owners “coached” by entrepreneur and growth strategist, Paris Cutler. As well as being a great group of guests for the NSW Business Shower, the range of new businesses across legal, wellness, executive support, beauty (and legacy, me) now provides a diverse and powerful collective sounding board for testing new strategies such as growth hacking and sharing winning LinkedIn videos – successfully leading to new clients.

This personal experience of the value and impact of community on new business is globally validated by the Startup Genome Project. According to the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking, Sydney ranks second in the world for connectedness. As seen in other renown business areas such as Silicon Valley, New York, London, Tel Aviv and Singapore, community demonstrates “a culture of founders helping founders, frequent events, and entrepreneurs getting meaningful help from local experts and investors”.

How terrific that Sydney is also that place! We rank a very strong 8/10 for both global and local connectedness — meaning “how much local startups are connected to the global fabric of knowledge, quantified through the number of relationships and local meetings with founders from top global eco- systems”. The local is measured by “a function of how much support startups receive locally (measured as founders-helping-founders, as well as investors and experts helping startups), meaningful local relationships (among founders, inventors, and experts), and collisions (number and density of local tech events)”.

We know that celebrating small wins neurologically rewires your brain towards ongoing success. Actively connecting with community creates a network to share those moments. And every new business milestone, every new connection is a small win that counts.

While my expertise and new entity is in proactively crafting legacy, focusing on celebrating new business day to day has been a revelation. Effectively, the “small win” of organising a very big, combined Business Shower has refocused my new business to look to product and global growth, with the confidence that comes from feeling nurtured and supported by an incredible community at “home”. So, thank you to the hosts for my own baby showers and looking forward to welcoming all guests of the first NSW Business Shower. Tickets are still available here.

There’s great potential to continue the #BusinessShower momentum as we are seeing online and now face to face. This is community building – which is what I’ve found to be the most powerful and important aspect of new business creation. In the spirit of a Business Shower – to any new business owners or relevant organisation in other states, territories or countries, I’d be happy to share resources and insights from creating this event. Please get in touch via www.sarahnelson.com.au/businessshower

*The original source of this meme remains unknown. If the artist is out there, please be in touch so that we can credit your work!

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