In a business climate where collaboration is key, a group of local business-savvy women have found social rewards behind a unqie brand of business networking.
Since May, women from Minnetonka businesses have been trading services within the Business Girls Network.
The Network consists of lawyers, a home stager, a website optimizer, a graphic designer and home jewelry salespeople, among women of other trades. There are five chapters of Business Girls Network throughout the state, with 18 women belonging to the Minnetonka group—and they continue to recruit.
“Our group is only five months old and, at the end of last meeting, I felt like I was just hanging out with a bunch of friends,” said Amanda Bloomgren, one of the group’s leaders.
Unlike other networking groups that allow one person from any given trade, Business Girls Network operates differently.
“If we have two people doing similar services, we actually like that because nobody does the same thing,” Bloomgren said.
The women meet every fourth Wednesday of the month at the . Thanksgiving pushed the next meeting to Nov. 30. Newbies are encouraged to stop by and check out the scene for a $15 visitor fee. At the meeting, you can expect discussion, appetizers and a cocktail or two. Another feature of the meeting is the “Atta Girl”—a pat on the back for recognizing good work.
The concept has already worked well for Bloomgren, a lawyer at Bloomgren Hanson Legal, in Minnetonka. She needed work done on a logo for letterheads, so she and partner, Katie Hanson, teamed up with a graphic designer within the network, Mallissa Misemer of 1st Fish Designs. Misemer needed legal business work, so they swapped services.
“But the cool thing from it is that it has become more than that,” Bloomgren said. “We’ve been able to continue that relationship.”
Bloomgren and Hanson promote their new teammate by providing referrals. In return, she plugs the law firm on her website.
Jacklyn Christian, an entrepreneur and business owner from Elk River, founded the Business Girls Network one night in October 2010.
“She realized that women have a real difficulty asking for their needs in a business context,” said Bloomgren. “She wanted to put together a group where women could share and support one another and ask for help with respect to their businesses.”