” When you invest your dollars for products or services in a woman-owned business, you are helping to grow a strong business and a strong woman in that community.”
– Marnie Ochs-Raleigh
Why should we do business with women-owned businesses? For Marnie Ochs-Raleigh it is a way of giving back to the community that really makes a difference. “When you invest your dollars for products or services in a woman-owned business, you are helping to grow a strong business and a strong woman in that community,” she says. “We can all raise each other’s businesses up together.”
Ochs-Raleigh started her professional career in the construction industry. It was tough for women to break in. There was one other woman besides her in her market segment. They bonded, feeling that respect for their work was more hard-earned and that they needed to overcome more challenges than men for the same business.
When Ochs-Raleigh joined the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-MN), she felt like she “was surrounded by a sisterhood of like-minded business people. They got it,” she says. “NAWBO opened up a whole new world.” Today, Ochs-Raleigh owns and operates Evolve Systems, which specializes in web development and merchant processing – another male-dominated industry.
Ochs-Raleigh built much of her clientele through the women’s business organization. “Women offer more of a relationship transaction – working with the client from start to finish,” she says. She has found women business leaders have different styles of communication as well. For example, she says, if there is a health crisis at home to tend to, women are more likely to name what is going on and give each other “more grace.”
“Women understand when you pay it forward,” Ochs-Raleigh says. “There is sometimes a different level of trust. You deliver what you say you will do. And if you don’t – women talk to each other. You have to make good on your word to have a good reputation.”
It’s earning that trust by delivering – rather than for gender reasons – that makes a difference.
She has found mentors to guide her in business processes. Now, in her role of NAWBO chapter president, she says, “I want to be that strong, steady, reliable source to be there for others.”