Women In Busi­ness group a source for ideas, sup­port

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Janelle Jessen Staff Writer jjessen@nwadg.com ■

A group of lo­cal busi­ness women are join­ing forces to sup­port each other and share ideas.

Sarah Thursten­son, a lo­cal Web de­signer, founded Siloam Springs Women in Busi­ness as a Face­book group a few months ago. Since then, the group has grown to in­clude 84 mem­bers and held its sec­ond live event Thurs­day evening.

The aim of the group is to en­cour­age mem­bers to sup­port each other and pro­mote the shar­ing of ideas, Thursten­son said. Face­book group mem­bers give each other en­cour­age­ment and dis­cuss top­ics such as net­work­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing op­tions, so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing tips and self-care.

In or­der to join the closed

I wanted women to know each other and sup­port each other.

Face­book group, women must live in Siloam Springs and own their own busi­ness. Some of the mem­bers op­er­ate busi­nesses with brick-and-mor­tar store­fronts while oth­ers work out of their homes as free­lancers or in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tants. Some work full-time in their own busi­nesses while oth­ers have a job and op­er­ate their busi­nesses on the side.

Thursten­son said she started the group be­cause she re­al­ized that many of the lo­cal women in busi­ness might be ac­quain­tances, but many didn’t re­ally know each other. There are al­ready sev­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions in Siloam Springs that do a great job of sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­nesses, but Thursen­son was in­ter­ested in an or­ga­ni­za­tion specif­i­cally fo­cused on sup­port­ing women in busi­ness, sim­i­lar to some of the women’s net­work­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions on the I-49 cor­ri­dor, she said. How­ever, she rec­og­nized that Siloam Springs has its own cul­ture and she wanted a place where busi­ness own­ers could dis­cuss what works for Siloam Springs specif­i­cally.

“I wanted women to know each other and sup­port each other,” Thursten­son said.

Sarah Thursten­son Graphic de­signer and founder of Siloam Springs Women In Busi­ness

The group of women got to­gether on Thurs­day in the meet­ing room of the re­cently opened busi­ness, Cap­tured by Mary Cre­ative, lo­cated on Broad­way Street and owned by Mary Kim. Do­minique Seitz, a min­istry team leader for DaySpring Cards and the owner of a life coach­ing busi­ness called De­sign­ing the Jour­ney, spoke about cause mar­ket­ing at the event.

Seitz ex­plained that cause mar­ket­ing is when a for profit busi­ness gets in­volved with a non­profit to pro­mote a cause and make a dif­fer­ence. Cause mar­ket­ing can in­clude do­nat­ing money or ser­vices, or just help­ing raise aware­ness.

“It’s just about how can you use the re­sources you have to help some­one else make a dif­fer­ence,” Seitz said.

Busi­nesses of all sizes can get in­volved in cause mar­ket­ing, whether they have one em­ployee or thou­sands, Seitz said.

“It doesn’t mat­ter your size, you can make a dif­fer­ence, it doesn’t mat­ter the amount or if you give any money at all, you can make a dif­fer­ence,” she said.

Seitz en­cour­aged busi­ness own­ers to be in­ten­tional about which cause to sup­port and to set a bud­get. Once busi­nesses be­gin giv­ing, they will likely get ap­proached by other causes in need of money. Be­ing in­ten­tional and set­ting a bud­get will help own­ers set bound­aries, she said.

There is an art to say­ing no, and you can say no,” Seitz said.

Mar­ket­ing also needs to be ben­e­fi­cial for all par­ties. It’s okay to ex­pect some­thing in re­turn, Seitz said. For ex­am­ple, a non­profit may agree to put a busi­ness’s logo on a T-shirt or their web­site to thank them for their do­na­tion.

Giv­ing to a lo­cal cause can im­prove a busi­ness’s rep­u­ta­tion in the com­mu­nity and help busi­nesses con­nect with the com­mu­nity on a per­sonal level, she said.

Seitz en­cour­aged busi­ness own­ers to be au­then­tic when choos­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tion to work with and find a cause they truly be­lieve in. Even if work­ing with a cer­tain cause opens the door to mak­ing a lot of money, it isn’t worth it if it’s not some­thing the busi­ness own­ers be­lieve in, she said.

“Do not chase the money, it will bite you ev­ery time,” Seitz said.

Seitz cau­tioned busi­ness own­ers about spread­ing them­selves too thin. She also re­minded them to be aware that some causes are very po­lar­iz­ing.

“Ask your­self, do you want your busi­ness as­so­ci­ated with those causes?” Seitz said. “I’m not say­ing to steer clear — just be aware, be mind­ful, do your home­work.”

Af­ter Seitz spoke, the women held a round ta­ble dis­cus­sion and shared what kinds of cause re­lated mar­ket­ing had worked for their busi­nesses.

Many busi­ness own­ers, but women in par­tic­u­lar, want to find a way to make a dif­fer­ence, Thursten­son said. Women also do busi­ness dif­fer­ently, and thrive on shar­ing and en­cour­ag­ing each other, she said. Be­ing part of a group, in­stead of on their own, makes it eas­ier to do just that, she said.

Janelle Jessen/Siloam Sun­day

Carolyn RobinVon, ownHr of WhH CafH on Broad­way, in­Wro­ducHd hHrVHlf aW WhH 6iloam 6SringV WomHn in BuVinHVV grouS on ThurV­day HvHn­ing. ThH grouS hHard a SrHVHnWaWion abouW cauVH markHWing from Do­miniquH 6HiWz and WhHn Hn­gagHd in a round-WablH diVcuVVion.

Janelle Jessen/Siloam Sun­day

Sarah Thursten­son, founder of Siloam Springs Women in Busi­ness, spoke at the group’s sec­ond live event on Thurs­day evening.

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