There is a pattern of growth, retraction, and flatness in nearly every business. But if you are stuck and unable to push on to the next milestone, it may not be about suppliers, customers, or the seasonal nature of your product or service. It could be about YOU as the leader of your company. Ask yourself these three questions.
Have you put together the right resources to grow your business?
This is about the "Next," not the rear view mirror. Evaluate the skills of staff and other founders and fill in the gaps. Consider forming an advisory board that has the optimal mix of experience in the right places to guide you to your next level of growth. We'll be talking more about that in the next month or two.
Do you know the critical financial data of your company?
Financial acumen is not always a flagship skill of the entrepreneur, but it is vital to know where you are making money, leaking money, and to deeply know the trends and patterns of the money going out and coming in order to plan strategically.
Do you have the confidence to make this next jump?
There are lots of stories around about the "imposter" syndrome, something some successful people experience. They secretly fear being found out as "not worthy." Men and women can both have this syndrome. That's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about a documented difference in how men and women evaluate opportunities. Women are more risk adverse, holding themselves to unrealistic standards of whether they meet the criteria to take on a new larger partner or project, commit to a growth strategy, or take a measured leap of faith. The irony is that in studies on this topic, women consistently outperformed men who rated themselves more capable. So we are underrating ourselves and often missing out on critical opportunities. Many women who exhibit confidence in many areas of their personal and professional lives don't realize that they are handicapping themselves by being so risk adverse.
How to fix this and even the playing field
The heart of why I formed Launchpad2X is that I saw a lack of women-led startups to invest in and wondered why. So I got to work putting together a program to fill in the knowledge gaps that most entrepreneurs need help with to lead a company—men or women—and then added a component that helps women strengthen their confidence to take the measured risks necessary to grow a company. What we do works. Ninety percent of our graduates are still in business with an average year over year growth of 200 percent. There have been five investment exits. These are impressive stats that reflect that the abysmal 2 percent investment in women-led or founded startups is not about competence. It's about confidence and access and overturning institutional prejudices.
Today we put out our final call for applicants for the 2018 intensive program. Are you ready to make YOUR leap?
We fly high together with the support of women and men from companies who know that a better economy and a better society depends on arming women with the tools they need to grow companies and jobs for everyone.
Apply to the 2018 Launchpad2X Core Program by August 31, 2018. Bernie Dixon most recently served as the Chairman and President of the Atlanta Technology Angels, consistently named as on of the top angel investment networks in the country. Her interest in increasing investment capital for women-managed businesses and her passion for providing women CEOs of emerging businesses with the tools and connections to drive success in their companies led her to develop Launchpad2X, one of the most innovative and successful business boot camps in the U.S. for women leaders.