Last week I had the pleasure of helping to organize a fantastic networking event for the Women’s Business Network here in Ottawa. The event brought together entrepreneurs who have been managing their businesses, and we discussed the idea of when it is time to delegate responsibilities, and how can we plan to afford that growth and change.

Bringing together an exerienced panel, we had an opportunity to hear from three impressive business leaders: Frances Mannarino of BMO, Leslie Kirk of Kirk Law Office, and Valeri Hall Little of intandem. The focus of the event was “Let Go As Your Baby Grows

wbn panel

It was part of my role to ask these women whose stories of success are so inspiring to participate on the panel. During the event, it was so satisfying to see how they were part of the crowd, listening and laughing along with others, hearing as well as sharing ideas.

The panellists were so warm and giving to the group last week, and as I watched them interacting with one another, I was struck by their humility. Humility, as I see it, is to recognize that we are no more or less important than others, and that we can accept our place and be of service to our community – however you define community in your life.

It is also to not make a drastic fuss out of our moments of fame – as exemplified by these women who were so warm and unaffected during the panel discussion and the question and answer period afterward.

Toward the end of the panel discussion, I challenged the women to share a moment of feedback in their businesses, where things could have been handled differently, or gone better. Valeri gave us an answer just before the session ran out of time, and it was an answer which struck many women in that room.

I asked “What was your biggest feedback moment?”

And Valeri answered as follows:

“My business that I have right now is my second business. I had a business before, but it was web consulting. I did web feasibility testing and project management of websites and whatnot. I did that for many years and it was very successful. Like you measure success in terms of clients … and I was meeting my financial goals, and everything was going really well.

But I never thought of it as my business. I had retainer clients and I churned out the work, and it was all very good, and I was burning out and I didn’t even know I was burning out. I just stopped loving it. It really got to be a chore. And I didn’t want to do it anymore. So I wound it down.

But I often think about my web consulting business, and I think about it sadly because I wonder – if I had taken the time to think about it as my business and injected some of that into it and had some of the great systems that I’ve heard from my co-panellists today, you know really injected the business plan and the marketing, got some delegation and enabled myself to innovate my business. Would it have survived? Would I still be doing it?

What did I learn from that? I learned that I need to think of it as my business and not just the extension of myself. My business was me, and it should never have been just me. I should have learned to delegate the stuff I hated around the chores, so that I could focus on what I love and innovate. I love innovating, we’re all entrepreneurs, we’re creative. We love to create product and services and ways we can help our clients. That’s what we do, it’s our passion. And I lost that in my web stuff.

I feel like I learned a lot from that experience, and I brought that into my new business.”

Business Women

There are some thought provoking takeaways in that idea to extend the business beyond your sense of self. And there were many, many more stimulating ones across the evening. Thank you so much to our panellists and to the women who gathered and shared their enthusiasm. These are the moments that make the planning of such an event so worthwhile.

Till next week,