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Patricia Handschiegel

Patricia Handschiegel

Posted: October 12, 2010 05:45 PM

I suspect there have always been secret meetings and clandestine relationships among forces in business. The "Old Boy's Club" didn't get its name from having just one member, of course. People bond and create relationships with their colleagues, fellow CEOs, investors, etc. We get to know who is who at work. It evolves to grabbing lunches, drinks, hanging together at the holiday and industry parties.

For Jenna, Sayeh, Meghan and myself, and many of the other women in the city, that's the scene here as well. We work together, we play together. Business is talked over brunch, lunches, drinks, manicure/pedicures and shopping excursions. It's like a New Girls Club -- swap out the old guys with cigars, add in a group of fun, fearless female founders and executives working at the top in business.

I'm not sure when we started more officially meeting on a regular basis, but every few weeks or so we grab brunch, dinner or drinks, and talk about our projects. We all hang out individually all the time, but there's nothing like getting together as a bunch. Meghan as you may know from reading NPG is a TV personality, author and expert with a media brand. Jenna's a health and fitness expert. Sayeh's the youngest in the group, with an online boutique that she's working to expand. And then there's me -- I'm a serial media and internet entrepreneur. I build and sell internet and media projects. I sold my first (Stylediary) in 2007, and am about to launch my next big thing.

As we chatted over wine and snacks at the rooftop restaurant of the Hotel Angelino, I realized one thing: Everybody was in a place of working to take their work to the next stage.

It got me wondering, can business owners still take their companies to the next notch in the plan in what's said to be one of the worst economies in history? And, more importantly, how?

It's something that women like the four of us, and many more beyond us, are doing today despite the market. One has an innovative marketing plan that works around the congestion in the media, which has made even the most seasoned publicists struggle with securing articles on clients. Another has put together a unique and unexpected approach to combat the saturation in her industry. A third is exploring financing options for future projects.

Nobody's letting the economy dictate what's possible. As we noshed on dinner and wine, I couldn't help but feel inspired.

And as always, there's value in the collective mind. Meghan gave Sayeh two solid ideas, while I was able to share some insight on some areas of Jenna's future plans. Sayeh had nothing but encouragement as I told about my current projects. And, Jenna reminded everybody that the number #1 sales tool was a belief in yourself and what you're offering.

One by one as we left dinner that night, all I could think was this: If life hands you lemons, don't just make lemonade. You expand that into a lemonade empire. Partner with a lemon grower, and expand the brand across continents.

That's the way the women founders and executives I've met and know are approaching growing business in the down market: They aim for the sky no matter what the weather conditions may be.