Tineke Rensen, founder of the Powerful Business Women’s Network, is an author, public speaker and business mentor for international business women.
She works with businesswomen who are already successful but want to scale up or grow internationally. With 29 years of experience as an entrepreneur, Tineke specialises on the financial mindset and what women need to do to close the gender gap.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I have been a businesswoman since 1990. I started on my own with five kayaks and build an outdoor and survival business in 22 years as the only female business owner in this industry in my country, the Netherlands.
I sold this business and started studying how women do business.
I am now a business mentor for female business owners with nearly 30 years of business experience of my own.
I am also the founder of the Powerful Business Women’s Network. I founded this network because it is a network that I missed. A network for serious businesswomen with a minimum of 100.000+ turnover. This is not much but it is a way of detecting the ones that can sell and market and have the ability to scale up their business.
In this network we pitch, masterminding had quality speakers and do business together.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Haha, no not really. And when I did, things went into a different direction. I must say that my career was the dream of all my fellow students. I studied sports and many of them wanted to become a ski-teacher and work abroad and travel. I was the only one that did, and also created my business around it
I now have big goals, but don’t plan anymore. I believe in allowing things to happen and be at the right place at the right time. Some call this luck – I call this the law of attraction.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
So much, being very young was difficult in the beginning…I was 25 when I started. I had no clue. Getting my 2 kids in combination with running a business has been and still is a challenge, although they are 14 and 18. Being the only female industry was only a challenge because most of the time I felt as if my business was not good enough compared to that of the men. I now realise that this is a women’s thing to compare and make you look worse compared to others.
Employing a team was not an easy task for me. I also had no experience with this, because I hardly had any team experience in former jobs, as I started in business so early.
Having teams in 5 different locations in 4 countries at the same time was not easy, but with the right people it worked brilliantly.
I think the biggest challenge I ever faced was myself. Not having enough faith in my abilities and always believing that I did not study to become a business owner and therefore had not a big clue what I was doing.
But it went very well. Nothing bad ever happened because I was always capable of solving everything that occurred. I was very good in solving challenges and problems. I always created a new system around it so it could not happen again.
I believe my biggest challenge was me seeing potential problems and dangers ahead all the time. So, my mind was never at ease.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Building a SME business with no experience at all and with no examples at all.
Operating in 4 countries at the same time with a team of 25 people. And everything went smooth. I am very proud of that.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Never giving up, always finding a way to solve issues and always trying to improve.
And I knew everybody in the industry. I was no harm to anyone, because I was a woman and I believe I benefited a lot from that. The men shared their business secrets with me easily.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I love mentoring. I am constantly mentoring businesswomen. It is what I love doing the most.
It is so good to see and find out how much a woman can benefit from all my knowledge and experience.
I am a fierce advocate for women having bigger businesses. Because then the atmosphere in the business arena will change. Therefore, I only work with serious businesswomen who are ready to scale up to the next level. Whatever that level will be.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?
That people will acknowledge that in business men and women don’t have equal chances. It is a belief that is widely spread. Women have a different way of doing business and to become successful in business we have to adapt a lot to the masculine business world.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Don’t worry so much, it will always work out fine. You have so much knowledge and flexibility to solve every issue that you will encounter. In business and in personal life.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
What I hope to achieve is a thriving community of my PBW network, that will be operational in many cities and countries in the world. Where businesswomen make changes in the world, because their businesses grow big, so that femininity will totally be accepted in the business world. And that showing emotions is not weak but strong. And that the amount of money is not the most accepted parameter for the success of a business.