by Joy Smith
More than a decade ago, it was rare to see women entering the business world and embarking upon the challenging entrepreneurial journey.
However, times have changed and presently women are at the helm of reputed businesses across the globe. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, America has nearly 12 million women-owned businesses, employing nine million people and generating a revenue of $1.7 trillion.
In fact, numerous ambitious women are starting to assert themselves in fields like STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), banking, healthcare, and fashion and beauty.
One of the most prominent examples is the representation of women in the cannabis industry. Statistics reveal that over 36 percent of all executive-level positions in the industry are held by women who are passionate about marketing organically-grown hemp CBD oil to the masses.
If you are passionate about being your own boss, the effective tips shared in this post will help you launch and scale your venture, allowing you to realize your career goals.
1. Be Prepared to Impress Venture Capitalists
The uncomfortable truth about entrepreneurship is that it has always been male-dominated. This can be particularly challenging when raising capital for your enterprise as venture capitalist firms tend to hold women entrepreneurs to a higher standard in comparison to their male peers.
Though the scenario is slowly changing in favor of women, presently 94 percent of the decision-makers at venture capitalist firms are men. Further, merely three percent of all the venture capital in the U.S. is being directed to women-led firms. Thus, with men controlling the vast majority of capital, women may find it tough to impress venture capitalists and find funding options for their startups.
Venture capitalists expect to invest in compelling business ideas that have a huge market opportunity, thereby promising them a lucrative return on investment. Moreover, they are looking for dedicated, passionate, and coachable entrepreneurs who are not afraid to take risks.
Before cold-calling for capital, it is wise to research venture capitalists who would want to invest in your idea. Connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter and introduce yourself to them. Join business hubs, incubators, and accelerators that can connect you to venture capitalists and help you enhance your reputation in the industry.
Does the venture capitalist follow some industry influencer? If you are able to make an impression on the person who influences your prospective VC, you can easily impress the latter.
2. Look for Mentors
An effective mentor who is experienced in your field can help you launch and scale your venture, propelling your startup toward success. Above all, experienced women mentors can help you respond to blatant gender bias.
Make sure you have multiple mentors so each of them can offer advice based on their individual expertise and enable you to overcome the practical and emotional challenges faced by aspiring female entrepreneurs.
Join professional women’s networking groups like Women in Business Network (WIBN) and Meetup which support women-owned ventures and connect you to industry influencers and prospective mentors. Online mentorship networks like Find a Mentor are dedicated to pairing budding startup founders with potential mentors.
If you still find it challenging to come across a worthy business mentor, surround yourself with a value-adding board of advisors, who can guide you with the major business decisions and lead you to prospective customers and investors.
Furthermore, it is important to give back the knowledge you acquire. Remember the challenges you faced and volunteer to help other budding women entrepreneurs navigate the entrepreneurial path by mentoring them.
3. Learn to Respond to Condescension
During your entrepreneurial journey, you will be often spoken to like a secretary, even though you run the show. Although times are changing, the chances of you meeting a chauvinistic client, investor, or competitor who believes in outdated gender norms is quite high.
As a startup founder, you are in a client-facing role; hence, you cannot afford to feel humiliated or abandon your stakeholders for their biased attitude. Instead, learn to respond to arrogance in a way that asserts your professionalism.
Likewise, you will come across people who will underestimate your professional abilities and chances of making it big in the industry. Instead of feeling bogged down, put in maximum effort to prove the crowd wrong. The idea of creating a successful startup in a world full of baseless gender-based assumptions is a completely entrepreneurial thing to do.
4. Remember: The Key Entrepreneurial Traits Aren’t Male or Female
We have often read articles or heard industry influencers say that men are better at negotiating and leadership, whereas women excel at communication and listening. Though several such entrepreneurial traits have been labeled as male-or-female-oriented, they actually belong to both genders and are critical to entrepreneurial success.
Identify the common entrepreneurial traits relevant to your industry and work towards developing them. For instance, if your business requires you to meet vendors and negotiate the cost of materials, you should develop the art of negotiating in order to network and strike a profitable deal.
Women entrepreneurs across the globe are overcoming the challenges of starting a new business and proving that their skills can build a profitable venture in the male-dominated business world. If you aspire to catch up with the changing tide of women’s entrepreneurship, use the tips shared in this post to navigate the entrepreneurial path and scale your business to success.
Joy Smith is a speaker, mentor, entrepreneur, mother of four, and grandmother of six. After trying a number of poor-quality CBD products, she teamed up with her family to develop an organically grown, full-spectrum hemp oil to help people who suffer from a wide array of ailments. Visit Joy’s website to learn more about Joy Organics.