Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Let’s start with a little history first.
Catt Fleetwood was just beginning her journey into mortgage lending when she realized that she needed some help. She was new to the industry and had questions. Catt started searching for a group to join where she could learn and receive support and encouragement. After a lot of searching and testing the waters, she didn’t find that group she needed, so naturally she asked herself “What do I do now?”. She decided to start the group she wished she’d found, Raleigh Women in Business. The goal was simple; create a welcoming, judgment-free environment where women can be vulnerable and seek help and support while also offering advice and encouragement to others. In other words, a place for women to come together to support and help each other.
That was September 2014. In the four and a half years since we’ve changed our name to Triangle Women in Business to be more accurate and inclusive to our members, and we’ve grown from a Facebook chat group of strangers into a family of women dedicated to seeing each other succeed. We’ve added networking events, workshops, and classes to help our members on a variety of topics.
Growth Requires Change
As we continue to grow and evolve it’s become increasingly clear that we can’t be totally reliant on Facebook as a platform for our organization. The platform has limitations in what it can do, it favors those who pay for advertising over those who don’t, and is not completely reliable. When TWIB posts a new event, Facebook’s algorithm shows it to less than 5% of members. Our members are missing our content and the benefit it could bring to them.
While we will certainly keep the members-only Facebook group for quick chats and 24/7 advice and encouragement, we will also utilize all the other tools that modern technology affords us. We now have a website which is both a resource for our members and also a portal to engage with the public. Through the website we’ll be able to share information in an easier and more efficient manner. We’ll be able to highlight our members and their businesses, and share content to a wide audience. Events will always be easy to find and registration is simple. When you register for an event, you’ll receive an email reminder, and you can easily save the event to your Outlook or Apple calendars. No more missing events.
For the last four and a half years the entire cost associated with TWIB has been shouldered personally by our founders, and while they’ve been happy to do that as they deeply believe in TWIB and what we do for our local women in business, a paid membership model is necessary to continue that growth as costs increase. We want to provide more opportunities and have the means to reinvest in member development and our charitable partnerships to give back to our communities. Our membership pricing is extremely reasonable and less than that of many organizations while our calendar of educational and personal development opportunities far exceeds many others’.
Our Path Forward Together
Moving to a true membership model also affords us the opportunity to create a stronger more vetted community of serious small business owners and operators. This includes all women who work and/or live in the greater Triangle area (seven counties) who are starting, running, and growing their businesses. We aren’t being exclusive for exclusivity’s sake; we are vetting members to create a stronger organization.
We aren’t going to exclude members based on their place in their professional journey. Need help to get your business off the ground? TWIB is the best place to turn for a lot of real-world advice. Already begun your business but need help with operations that aren’t your favorite thing? We are here with advice and information across a myriad of diverse industries and business types. Have a successful business but want to grow it even more? Our marketing experts can help you refine your ideas and processes to achieve your goals.
Triangle Women in Business’s Goals
Our goals for the future remain simple at their core, while complex in their execution:
1. Continue to be a safe place of encouragement and support for all local women in business to come together
2. Increase educational and personal development opportunities for our members with classes, workshops, lectures, and conferences as well as shared resources.
3. Increase effective networking opportunities for our members so that their networking time and money are spent wisely building connections with mutually beneficial relationships.
4. Increase visibility and exposure for our members both to other members and to the public via our website, social media, events, and TWIB Magazine.
5. Bring our members together and give back to our communities with charitable partnerships.
We encourage all members to submit articles, checklists, worksheets, templates, videos, or other media to be included in TWIB Magazine, and on our various social media platforms including YouTube. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your expertise. It will also allow you to showcase your events. We also encourage members to host events and share their knowledge.
Examples of ways this can benefit our members:
Are you a Real Estate appraiser or inspector? Host a class for our member Realtors. Show your expertise and make connections.
Do you own a boutique? Host a fashion show sale and fundraiser for our members and get them in the door while giving back.
Are you a bookkeeper? Host a lecture on what members should do throughout the year to prepare for tax season and connect with potential clients.
There will be opportunities for all members to build relationships and highlight their expertise with this model. If you have questions about how your particular business can benefit please contact us. We are happy to help you determine the best approach for your business.
A full list of member benefits can be found on the website.
What This Means for Our Current Facebook Members
Current Facebook group members will need to submit an application to join TWIB. This application is important because it is how your information becomes populated in the public Directory on the website.
April 15- May 15 will be a transition period for the group. After May 15 those who choose not to join TWIB will be deactivated from the Facebook group.
New users who seek to join the Facebook group without first joining TWIB will be added on a trial basis for thirty days. If after thirty days they choose not to join TWIB, they will be deactivated from the Facebook group.
After your application is processed, an invoice for your $47 dues will be sent via PayPal. This method ensures you have a valid record to use in recording your business expenses for the IRS. When your invoice is paid, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to create your login credentials to use the Members Only area of the website.
If you’re still here reading, thank you for taking the time. If you have any questions please reach out to us. Also please share our news with your friends and colleagues.
We look forward to continuing down this path together. As always, we rise by lifting each other.
Catt & Laura
Triangle Women in Business Co-Founders,
and the TWIB Advisory Board