For social entrepreneurs who are not (yet) making use of the Women on Wings consultancy services but who are a member of the Women on Wings’ community, a new service has been created to give the entrepreneurs the ‘wow experience’ in just a few hours: masterclasses. The Women on Wings’ larger community consists of 120 social entrepreneurs who are still too small or do not have the human resources available to become business partners. On November 9, 2022, participants experienced at first-hand how Women on Wings can support their company to the next level in two interactive masterclasses on the topics of Business Planning and Branding brought by Women on Wings’ experts.
Reason for being
In two sessions of two hours, the participating social entrepreneurs got a flavour of how Women on Wings can support them in their growth. In the morning, expert Johan de Visser explained why it is important to have a proper business strategy if one aims to build a sustainable and successful company and realize social impact. Johan used American leadership expert Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle theory which works around the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ of a company. This session brought very lively and interesting discussions. All participants could describe what they do, and also how, but the starting point is to get that ‘why’. And that turned out to be more difficult for most than they had expected. But ultimately all could pen down their company’s basic reason for being. Johan also explained the benefits of doing a gap analysis to identify one’s strengths and weaknesses, and threats and opportunities, how to create a plan and set targets and priorities for the short and the longer term. Said Johan: “Many entrepreneurs want to realize social impact and they see many opportunities. That may be great, but there is also a risk of losing focus. The concept of SMART action planning can help the entrepreneurs to keep that focus on the business goals.”
Johan gained his 30+ years’ experience in business development and building businesses mostly from working at Albert Heijn Supermarkets, the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands. He has been an expert at Women on Wings since 2021 and has moderated many workshops for business partners.
In the afternoon expert Karen de Loos (see image) took the participants on a branding journey. How to become a powerful, consistent and loved brand that stands out from the crowd? Karen also used Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle theory. According to Sinek ‘people don’t buy what you do but they buy why you do it.’ Companies that recognize their relationship to the world around them and act in its best interest, are the companies that are outperforming in the market today and are creating future-proof brands. But building a brand does not happen overnight. According to the branding pyramid, it takes 7 important steps. Karen used global retailer IKEA as a case study to explain those steps. Adds Karen: “Not only successful global brands were discussed. I visited shopping areas in Delhi and added a few of the local retail as examples which resulted in nice discussions as everybody shared more Indian examples. I gained new insights from that too.”
Karen brings over 30 years of experience in Marketing & Communications, Agencies & Advertisers as well as Media Companies. She has been an expert at Women on Wings since 2010 and has moderated webinars and multiple workshops for business partners.
All participants loved the fact that this was not just a sit and listen day, but they were working on small assignments and participating in discussions. The hours flew and they would have loved to do more assignments and share more experiences. Unanimously they shared being interested in participating in more masterclasses. They also suggested other topics for next masterclasses, like HR and leadership, and time management. Despite the time of these two masterclasses being limited, the participants shared to have gained many new insights from both the experts.
Women on Wings has a few more masterclasses already under construction, like Sales, Finance and HR & Leadership. To reach a larger audience, masterclasses can also be held in online sessions, or in regional on-site sessions. Women on Wings will take the feedback from the participants to create a roll out for the next masterclasses.