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June 14, 2004

Five by Five - Anita Campbell

Our third distinguished participant is Anita Campbell, the founder, president, and chief consultant of Anita Campbell Associates Ltd., a business consulting firm specializing in helping businesses in the technology, retail and varied services sectors grow. Anita is also the co-author of the Small Business Trends weblog, most noted for its "Power Blog Reviews."

Anita's contributions to this week's Five by Five:

When entertaining, choose an entertainment that is not a sporting event, unless you know for sure the woman is a sports fan. One law firm I know invited half a dozen clients to a hands-on crafts class in making metal lanterns at the local museum. Intended to build creativity and encourage easy bonding, it was one of the most memorable client entertainments I have ever experienced. I can't recall a thing about any of the baseball, basketball, or (yawn) football games I've been invited to over the years. But ten years later, I still have the lantern and vivid memories of the experience.

Show visible commitment to women's business in general. For example, volunteer to serve on a Powerlink (an organization dedicated to advancing women's business) advisory panel. Speak at local meetings of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners). And, make sure you have a user-friendly bio in your marketing materials detailing this kind of commitment.

Nominate the woman whose business you are trying to get for a business or community award. Ask her to serve on a charitable board with. Do something such as this to demonstrate that you hold her in high professional regard. Women like to be around lawyers who make them feel intelligent and worthy.

In a professional services business, your best bet for getting business from women, or from anyone for that matter, is referrals. Ask other professionals in adjacent but different fields for referrals. Create referral circles, for instance, with an accountant, a financial advisor, a marketing consultant, and a management consultant. Make sure that you seek out women professionals in creating these circles.

This is something you should always do, but be especially sure you do it when you are entertaining a woman. Be respectful with female support staff at all times. Same goes for female wait staff in restaurants. If you want to get business from women, you need to show sensitivity to women's issue. That's tough to do when you're belittling female support staff or berating a female server in a restaurant.

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