All Articles Tagged "female entrepreneurs"
Women operate 30 percent of all businesses in the United States. Yet, of the businesses with annual incomes of $1 million-plus, only 1.8 percent of those are women-run. But as Julia Pimsleur, founder of the Double Digit Academy, writes in Forbes, this trend might begin to reverse as more and more female entrepreneurs are participating in accelerators, incubators, and in workshops such as the Double Digit Academy. Such workshops train attendees to deliver better pitches and attract capital to launch or boost their businesses. These groups have already helped women increase their businesses. According to a American Express OPEN study of women CEOs, the number of women-run businesses with $10 million in annual revenue has already gone up by over 50 percent in the last decade.
But while women are starting businesses at 2:1 ratio compared to men, some small business experts wonder if they will survive past the five-year or 10-year mark. “This depends in part on their ability to raise funds and to take their companies to the next level,” writes Pimsleur. According to Pimsleur, among the biggest obstacles women feel they face in starting new businesses include:
1) A fear of going all in. Women, according to studies are more risk-averse than men. But in the world of entrepreneurship you have to be willing to take chances.
2) Getting start-up money. It is just a fact, that women hare a harder time at attracting investors for their businesses. “Only about 20% of angel investment is made in women-run businesses and 4% of venture capital,” notes Pimsleur. On top of this, women are more reluctant to ask for money.
5) Inability to be confident in their pitches. According to Pimsleur, she tells women who attend her Academy that when they are presenting to investors to “channel your inner Oprah.”
To get you started, do a quick search on MadameNoire Business for “accelerators” and “incubators” to learn about some of the news and organizations in this are, particularly those focused on women and minorities. Also, take a look at AngelList, a site that has all sorts of information for and about startups.
Business Trend in the Making: Is “Conscious Capitalism” The Next Big Thing for Female Business Owners?
Although more women are becoming business owners, the funding is not always forthcoming. According to the information we received on behalf of Startup California, a partnership that supports entrepreneurs and job creation in the region, women only receive “5% of ‘traditional capital’ and less than 3% of venture capital financing.” However, things like crowdfunding, incubator programs, and mentorship could be changing the tide.
Howard Leonhardt is a spokesperson for Startup California, the founder of organizations to help women entrepreneurs, and according to the information we received, a businessman who has sold companies for billions in his own career. He’s also a big supporter of the “conscious capitalism movement,” that could help women in their small business endeavors.
We asked three questions via email and collected the following answers from Leonhardt. Do you think “conscious capitalism” is the next big thing for women small business owners?
MadameNoire: How does the “conscious capitalism” approach benefit women?
Howard Leonhardt: A more holistic “conscious capitalism” approach to business favors inspiring and motivating women to work in, buy from, invest in and collaborate with companies. “Conscious capitalism” means treating people well. Treating employees well and suppliers well. Treating your community well and your environment well. ”Conscious capitalism” means the company has a higher sense of purpose than just net profits. These types of businesses attract and retain the most talented people and thus create the happiest repeat customers which leads to long term sustainability and profitability for investors.
MN: Why would “conscious capitalism” benefit women more than men? And what are some examples of women-owned businesses that have seen success from this approach?
HL: “Conscious capitalism” and crowdfunding help women reach new sources of customers, investors and collaborators. Traditional methods of financing and building companies have been dominated by men. These old ways created the 95:5 gender gap in venture financing. “Conscious capitalism,” local investing and crowdfunding break down these old barriers.
MN: What tips would you have for women to manage successful crowdfunding campaigns?
HL: The word “campaign” describes the process well. Those seeking to raise capital via crowdfunding should follow the best practices of politicians who win elections. You need to reach potential investors and win their hearts, wallets and mind. You need to get out and debate, cajole, corral, beg, influence, inspire and win over your audience. This equates to lots of speeches, hand shakes, networking, blogs and twitter posts and follow-up calls and emails. Help people feel a part of your movement. Get your core supporters to fully buy in and help you. Get influential opinion leaders to endorse you. Have a clear concise video of your company vision that reaches peoples hearts. Tell your story like a good movie trailer. Grab interest. Get news coverage. Make your campaign more than just a capital raise for a company make it an uprising—a cause people can buy into, join up and believe in.
The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College has launched a campaign to learn more and subsequently teach others about women entrepreneurs. An extension of the CWEL’s Story Exchange program, “1,000 Stories” is a global campaign that includes a survey, which will help understand the challenges, goals, and needs of female entrepreneurs.
“This initiative will allow women around the world to learn the stories, challenges and best practices of other women entrepreneurs so that others can benefit from their successes and gain inspiration,” said Candida Brush, chair of the Entrepreneurship Division at Babson College, in a statement about the new project.
According to American Express OPEN, there are 8.3 million female-owned firms in the US, an increase of 50 percent from five years ago. Through these companies, $1.3 trillion in revenue is generated and 7.7 million people are employed. However, according to the Kaufman Foundation, when searching for first-year financing, female entrepreneurs in the US generally receive about 80 percent less capital than male business owners.
Women are encouraged to visit the “1,000 Stories” website, participate in the survey, and share their stories. The results will be published in a final report with recommendations, best practices, and more.
Below is a video that shares some women’s stories and explains more about the project.
Any woman who is a true Sex and The City fan has jealously lusted for Carrie Bradshaw’s amazingly fashionable, eclectic wardrobe (we all got to know and love Mahnolo Blahniks through Carrie’s shoe obsession). But many of the items that Carrie rocked with such stylish flair were surprisingly found in vintage clothing boutiques. If you’re like me, you don’t have the first clue where to start when looking for classic items (I should really be ashamed of this living in New York City) but now it looks like maybe this “vintage gem” search doesn’t have to be so hard with virtual clothing resale store Imperfect Concepts Boutique.
Created by Southern University alum Tasha Robinson, Imperfect Concepts Boutique is an original resale boutique that offers affordable prices for vintage and modern fashion items. Unlike a consignment shop, the items are not provided by patrons in exchange for payment, but instead are carefully discovered and chosen by the Imperfect Concepts team from a variety of sources like vintage stores, thrift shops and estate sales. Robinson decided on the name “Imperfect Concepts” to pay homage to each item’s unique story. Never been interested in vintage fashion? Robinson tells her clients that there are a number of reasons why people should shop in vintage and consignment shops, including being able to find quality designer clothes for great prices, as well as developing your own personal style.
Armed with a degree in public relations and communications, Tasha was always very fashion conscious and displayed an uncanny sense of style. ICB was born out of her own frustration with not being able to receive fair value for her own exclusive pieces, as well as her need to do some major closet clean-up. “I was tired of not getting the full value of my clothes when I took them to consignment shops,” says Robinson. “When the store first started it featured a plethora of my clothing.”
Even with an ingenious idea like Imperfect Concepts Boutique, there are always obstacles and hurdles that come with being a entrepreneur. When Tasha first started her business she had to come to terms with the fact that she was not experienced in being a business owner, and had much to learn about how to handle the operation of a successful company. “When I started ICB there were thousands of resale stores, but not many that were not a part of Ebay. Therefore I had to learn everything on my own,” Tasha recalls. “I overcame this by researching and hiring people who knew what I couldn’t comprehend.”
Today Imperfect Concepts Boutique has over 3,000 monthly readers and a social media presence, most notably on the fashion industry’s virtual bulletin board Pinterest. Tasha has been doing so well that she is able to support herself solely as an entrepreneur, a feat that takes many business owners years to reach. Tasha manages her success by keeping organized objectives. “I have weekly and monthly sales goals that I adhere to,” explains Robinson. “The numbers are checked every quarter to make sure [they] are aligned with the yearly goals.”
Tasha’s advice for those wanting to start their own business? “Research the industry you want to enter intensely. Make sure you are bringing something to the table in your niche market. Wholeheartedly believe in yourself, company, product or service before you ask someone else to. Finally follow your passion. Money isn’t everything if you’re unhappy.” Now that’s a perfect concept.
It’s no secret that women are big on entrepreneurship. But what’s not known is that although women start businesses at a high rate, many of those businesses don’t go above $1 million in revenue. Inc. spoke to a few successful women business owners to get their feedback on why many of their peers are not expanding and accelerating their businesses.
Women need to take more risk
When women think of businesses and entrepreneurship, they consider how that lifestyle will factor into their responsibilities as a mother and wife in the future. Those are serious concerns of course – however, those concerns may hinder how one projects growth and conceives of future development.
“Liz Elting, CEO and founder of global language service provider TransPerfect, advocates another tack: Go for broke when you are young and have nothing to lose. Don’t worry about what your life will be like in 10 years. Dream big and follow your dreams. When your business grows, so do your options for work/life balance.”
Women need to get tougher
Basically, you can’t be too nice. You have to understand that you’re in a business where hiring, firing, and cutting are part of the job. Essentially, women can’t be too scared of being perceived as a Itchbay.
Men need to get over themselves
Men often benefit from networking opportunities that take place in bars or on the golf course. Women are often left out, not only to their own detriment but also to the detriment of the men themselves.
Women need to get over themselves, too
Women also need to network amongst themselves more and also lend a helping hand as mentors to other women entrepreneurs.
Everyone needs to build more flexible businesses
In this day and age, we have more resources at our fingertips to work remotely. With the flexibility that’s being made accessible by technology, we need to think about building companies that foster and complement the new possibilities.
Wrote Geri Stengel: Let’s start firms that don’t follow the same old businesses model; let’s build a model that can accommodate the differing needs of GenY, parents, Type A workers, and those who want to work reduced hours. You can retain and grow talent by being flexible — flexible about taking a year off for family without losing a rung on the career ladder; flexible in working hours; flexible about telecommuting. If we don’t restructure business culture, we’re going to keep losing the talented people we’ve paid money to train.
By Rhonda Campbell
You’ve considered it for a long time. As you sit at your desk in a busy office, working for a demanding employer, thoughts about launching your own business fill your head. But for you it doesn’t stop there. Akin to America’s first self-made woman millionaire, Madam C. J. Walker, you’re ready to get a start by giving yourself a start.
It’s an exciting concept, but not so fast. Managing a successful business is no cakewalk. Make sure you ask yourself the following questions before you launch a new business, taking on the challenges (and awesome rewards) of being an entrepreneur.
Make Sure You’re Prepared to Launch a New Business
By asking yourself the following seven questions you can find out how ready you are to take on the responsibilities business ownership brings. You can also measure your appetite to stay the course should the terrain get rocky for a few weeks, months or years.
How much do I know about the business I’m opening? (Surprisingly some people open businesses like restaurants without having any prior experience working in the industry.) If your knowledge of the business is minimal, consider taking a few courses at a community college or through a professional association that’s affiliated with the industry you want to open your business in. Also make sure that you research local, state and federal laws and policies applicable to the business.
Is there a demand for the products and services I’m going to sell? If there isn’t a large national or international demand for the products or services your business will offer make sure there’s sufficient local demand for you to realize sustainable profits.
Sex is a bigger deal than we all like to admit. Often our day to day handling of the big “S” doesn’t quite match up with society’s prim ideals and values. Whether you think it’s the way things should be or not, the horizontal mambo, or at least the glorification of it, is a thriving part of every institution known to man.
But is there something wrong when a woman takes this basic, widely known aspect of humanity and uses it to her advantage? If a woman is in charge of her sexuality, it seems she has a God given right to use it at her disposal.
“Play your strengths,” is generally accepted as a great strategy to get ahead in life. Why shouldn’t that apply to sex? Isn’t a woman using her “body capital” to get a head (get it?) the epitome of female empowerment?
On one hand, our hyper sexualized culture leads to episodes like the 14-year old caught Getting Her Jaws Worked on camera and thinking it’s all good. On the flip side, a well positioned display of sex at the right time, with the right guy, has launched some women’s dreams, inspiring every other woman to follow her own.
I’m sure you have an answer. In fact, it’s very likely your thoughts on the matter have limited you from using your own vagina power in your quest for success. But this list of modern day temptresses are thinking different than most. And they don’t give a dam what anyone else thinks.
By Andrea Williams
At age 19, when most people are fresh out of high school and just beginning to enjoy their “adult” freedoms, Natischa Harvey was already making significant strides on a well-constructed path that was sure to lead to her dream life. She was married to her high school sweetheart, who happened to be a professional athlete, and she was studying to become an attorney at Clark Atlanta University. Needless to say, people close to her were completely shocked when she decided to take a job at Bakers during her sophomore year.
They questioned her sanity while she juggled her $6/hour evening shifts at the retail shoe store with her demanding political science classes during the day. But Natischa had a plan. There was a definite method behind the perceived madness, and the end result was Fever Shoes – a $1.5 million-and-growing brand that has firmly established Mrs. Harvey as a true contender in the highly competitive designer shoe industry.
It is widely understood that the road to entrepreneurial success is treacherous at best, and Natischa was faced with a major obstacle before she could even begin. Though Natischa had been designing shoes since the 10th grade, her mother dissuaded her from such lofty pursuits and instead encouraged her to pursue a safe and reliable career. So, when Natischa felt like she could no longer suppress her high-fashion fantasies, she knew she would have to gain her mother’s blessings first.
“My mother always knew that I loved fashion and designing shoes, but she felt it was too risky as a career choice,” she said. “Studying political science and becoming a lawyer was safe to her because she knew I would always have an income, and she needed that level of security and comfort. But I wanted to open a boutique, so I had a talk with her. My mother told me that if that was what I wanted to do, I needed to go out and do it full force or not at all – no half-stepping.”
Armed with her mother’s well wishes and cash from a stock investment that was initially intended to pay for her college tuition, Natischa opened her first boutique in 2004. She calls her time at Bakers a “paid internship” that gave her the hands-on experience and confidence she needed to strike out on her own.
“I definitely believe you have to crawl before you can walk,” she said. “So I decided to work at Bakers, and my manager helped me learn pretty much everything about how to manage a store, from counting inventory to managing employees. I was in college, and I definitely think college prepares you for a lot of things, but I knew that if I wanted to own a boutique I had to learn how to run one.”
(Black Web 2.0) — What can you say about Necole Bitchie? One could simply take the easy way out and just write her off as a black gossip blogger — albeit a possible $20 million dollar gossip blogger. Necole Bitchie is a brand, a personality, but most importantly she’s an entrepreneur with some serious tech savvy. Aside from the flagship property NecoleBitchie.com, there’s BitchieTV.
If you think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are the only ones running the field of technology, please delete that foul thought pronto! Fortunately, there are some fabulous entrepreneurial madames who have taken the Internet by its reins and you can now learn about them…