Guess what – I feel like shouting – it is not the Gender!
I read it over and over again, and, as a woman investor, I feel trapped: It is not the gender, it is unpreparedness.
For women out there making a mark, it has never been the gender, it is the execution. It is no different than for anybody else. It boils down to consistently working to grow and improve one’s ideas. And well, to give the benefit of doubt, there MIGHT be some learned behaviors that might influence entrepreneurs that MIGHT be more relevant to women (oh where are you Norris Krueger and Michael Frese?), I put my unacademic head and create a completely subjective list of behaviors that would make me, as an investor, not to consider a woman a good candidate for being funded.
1. Think Small.
Oh dear, there is nothing inspiring about thinking small. Be (or become) a high-impact entrepreneur. That means: Find a problem that impacts a lot of people and solve that problem. Put the destination before the journey so you can get there, align interests, and recruit talent. Stay away from local or small goals to create your business model. Think BIG.
2. Manage by Intuition
Thinking artsy? think again. Define what Data you need to know if you are getting closer or further from your goals, or if you need to modify them. That means: Create KPI (key performance indicators) that are aligned with the goal of your organization, and establish key milestones that help you focus and feel accomplished. Stay away from unsubstantiated information that might as well be a paradigm waiting to be broken. Manage by DATA.
3. Get the Work Done
Boy (I mean girl) that is a hard one. Work ON the business, not IN the business. That means: make your job redundant continuously, learn the basics enough to supervise early on, but quickly hire talent and move to think strategically. Every minute used on doing the work is a minute wasted to think strategically. Stay away from repetitive tasks, use technology or outsource it. Work on Design and Strategy.
4. Use your Network
Shake out the boy’s club or the men’s club. Nurture relationships, there is everything right about professional and personal connections. That means: be (or become) a reputable expert in your field, deliver value in your conversations, help and ask for help, and be grateful. It is not what you do but who you are. Stay away from feeling sorry that you are not remembered or recognized, be useful. Become Known.
5. Pursue Reinforcement
Rejection does not measure your value. Keep your inner voice as more important than other’s opinion of you. That means: accept feedback and listen very attentively when someone tells you something you don’t want to hear, then filter inappropriate from relevant feedback, and then decided if you accept that feedback. Stay away from making quick judgments without asking enough questions or having data, and accept that no everybody agrees with you. Rejection does not define you, it is an opinion about an idea. Use “What do you mean?.” It is a wonderful question. Be irreverent.
6. Seek Compassion
A pat in the back does not help you move forward. Yes, failing sucks, and crying can be an option, but retrain yourself to step up. The opposite of success is not failure, it is inaction. That means: shift from victim to hero, life does not happen to you, you happen to life. Trust your capacity to solve challenges. Stay away from (other’s) fear from (your) success. Find the relevant support to help you overcome your challenges instead. Trust yourself.
Last, remember that business events are not life events. Dream, dare, do, as Whitney Johnson would say.