Women In Business group a source for ideas, support
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.
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Sarah Thurstenson, founder of Siloam Springs Women in Business, spoke at the group’s second live event on Thursday evening.