"WBE Certification with WBCS will offer the support, insight, and the ability to partner with other women to obtain opportunities not available without the certification. My business has added a new revenue stream with our WBE Certification that has shown an increase of 30% in the year since we were certified."
Andrea Tsakanikas, President of Austin-based Crewfacilities.com, has been a certified WBE for under one year. In her short time as a member of the Women's Business Council- Southwest, Andrea has taken full advantage of the network. She is a frequent volunteer at Austin events, an Austin Committee member, and has attended events in both Austin and the DFW area.
How has WBCS membership benefitted your business?
As a female business owner, I have experienced many challenges working in a male-dominated industry. Joining WBCS has offered me many opportunities to meet, network, partner, and strategize with other women-owned businesses to assist us in growing our organizations and successfully gaining traction in areas where it initially may not have been available to us.
What is your favorite WBCS event and why?
My favorite so far is Power to Potential. In all the years I have been in business I have found my particular business model requires a very long sales cycle to be introduced to decision makers in large corporations. Being a WBCS Member and attending the corporate roundtables at the Power to Potential offered us as WBEs the opportunity to not only determine what services and products the corporate members are buying, but the process to follow to present our solutions or products they are seeking. This greatly shortens my standard sales cycle and allows the potential corporate client to vet and qualify us and take it to the next step of an introduction to the specific buyer of your product or services within their organization. This process, in general, could take several years to research and obtain even the first meeting. In addition, the event offered educational break-out sessions and networking opportunities all in one day.
What is the best reason for another WBE to get certified?
WBE Certification with WBCS will offer the support, insight, and the ability to partner with other women to obtain opportunities not available without the certification. My business has added a new revenue stream with our WBE Certification that has shown an increase of 30% in the year since we were certified. Initially, I thought we were solely obtaining a WBE Certification, but with WBCS, surprisingly I found that had many opportunities to network, research projects, and find partnerships that I never had before. It may sound cliché, but the power and strength of women partnering and supporting each other offers the ability for us to grow our businesses with other like-minded ladies who are experiencing the same challenges, roadblocks, and issues we all experience as business owners.
What is one thing you wish you knew about WBCS before joining?
That in lieu of applying for my WBE Certification through my local city municipality, I could have just applied to WBCS because of all the membership benefits it offers and that would have been a much better first step for me.
How have you made the most of your WBENC certification in your first year of membership?
I try to attend every single event even though I split my time between my office in Austin and my office in South Florida. I actually try to plan out my calendar around the WBENC events. Additionally, I also want to continue to volunteer at the events and stay involved in the Austin Committee.
How has WBCS helped you connect to other WBEs for mutually beneficial partnerships/business deals?
I would say in three ways:
First, a corporate sustaining member met with me at their office in regards to my services. And he gave me a very important piece of advice which is already showing to be true. Spend lots of time at these events networking with other WBEs. Those relationships are valuable.
Secondly, from the beginning, I luckily had a fantastic WBCS board member, Patti Winstanley, who worked with me as an Ambassador when I joined. She took my hand and introduced me to several potential corporate clients. As well as other WBEs that we would want to get to know personally and professionally to forge new friendships and partnerships.
And also, as a new Member, the first event I attended was the Women’s Entrepreneur Exchange in Austin. The panel, made up of experienced WBCS WBE Members, gave me two great pieces of advice that I took away and followed. That you may attend an event and not know anyone, or not be the most social person, but to always walk up to another attendee and chat about anything, even as simple as shoe shopping. You don’t have to expect yourself to work an entire room or know everyone, there will always be members that will happily introduce you to others. And that is exactly what I experience at every event I attend, lots of introductions!