I am constantly working to help women business owners speak up for what they want and need. I was speaking to some business owners recently who shared how they control a great deal of spending within their industry. They also mentioned that most of these male customers had failed to realize how much of the market for these products and services was now controlled by women.

When women are in positions of power in procurement, we have a different vantage point regarding how the vendor landscape takes shape. It is simply not enough to scan the marketplace looking for the best deal. We need to take steps to create partnerships, mentor women businesses, and make sure we create an environment where women-owned businesses can provide products and services that are top-tier.

This doesn’t happen by sitting back and waiting. We must speak up. We must support other women. We must help highlight the needs of women-owned businesses. 

There are a lot of organizations that can do this, but it is our obligation as women to assist in that effort. 

  • Continually highlight how much spend comes from women-owned businesses. If you are a key vendor within a particular industry – make sure you seek a position of power within that industry association.
  • Talk about the successes of women-owned businesses – including leading-edge solutions and outcomes. Share the metrics compiled and published by the organizations that track these dimensions. Use your platform to highlight women-owned businesses.
  • Refer another woman-owned business or strike up a partnership to go after a bigger opportunity.
  • When you feel the need to reject participation in the male-dominated social offerings, begin to suggest things that might be a better fit with a more diverse group of vendors – women and men.
  • And when you think you are getting a BS answer on why you didn’t win new business, challenge the message and the messenger. Ask for details and what would have made a difference for your business.

We must work to make a difference and gain ground in the pursuit of more business and representation. What can you do to foster an environment of acceptance and accomplishment in this arena – for yourself and others? I’d love to hear your thoughts…