I know something about women entrepreneurs. For the past seven years I have dedicated much of my time coaching, encouraging, teaching and watching them. I have researched the subject deeply, performed my own surveys and even created a development program targeted at women led early stage companies. I have evaluated them, and I have funded a handful. After graduating more than 120 women led companies from the launchpad2x program and talking to hundreds more, I believe I have impacted more than I can count. Surprisingly the learning equation has worked both ways. I have tried to deliver what I have learned and experienced after years of running businesses and working in the tech, security, industrial, service and investment industries. Quite frankly I have learned so much more from sharp, experienced and energetic women entrepreneurs. Here are a few learnings. \
Creating value: Think men have the edge on creating value? It is just the opposite. I’m going to generalize to make this point. Women are more sensitive to the needs of others. They are adept at developing a business that creates value for others or creates values for businesses to increase growth, cut costs or increase their reach or one that hacks their own business models. Often women founders don’t start with a technology or product and see what others will do with it, they will naturally start with a need, a problem or a trend and create a valuable product or service. Take a look at Moozi, La Belle Bump, or CampusTax meeting the needs and new trends of millennials.
Making a choice to win not just be in the game. How many companies get stuck in startup mode? You know the type: the founder that brags about being an entrepreneur because they have an idea and have office space at one of the great tech centers in the Atlanta area. It’s good to be a founder. It’s great to be a launchpad2x CEO aiming for $20M in sales. Women entrepreneurs that transition quickly from a startup mindset to a CEO mindset are increasing their odds of winning. I see it in companies like AR/PR, Blamtastic, CelticTesting and SharWIK. They grew quickly with a play to win CEO mindset
Getting rid of hang ups that deter progress: The biggest deterrence to the success of women CEOs is lack of confidence. It’s odd because women entrepreneurs are often more educated, more prepared and more willing to sacrifice for a win. I have witnessed the shift to a winning mindset after a women CEO has completed the launchpad2x program. We work a lot on self-confidence not because women don’t know what to do. It’s because women think they must be perfect before proceeding with their business. It is a fact that men will go for an opportunity when they think they meet about 50% of the necessary skills or criteria. Women on the other hand will hesitate until they meet 90%. It’s a huge differentiator. Once the realization occurs that women are usually overqualified and don’t have to be perfect, the winning mindset dominates. GroupFood, Golden Source Consulting and Moracle are vivid examples.
I work with these women CEOs. They’re impressive. Their success rates dwarf others. They play to win. Stay tuned for more insights. After all, playing to win is more fun than playing not to lose. It’s more rewarding, too.