YEC Women share their answers for how to find fellow women entrepreneurs to meet. By Natalie MacNeil (Co-Founder, YEC Women)
The following answers are provided by YEC Women. Co-Founded by Natalie MacNeil and Scott Gerber, YEC Women is an initiative of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs from YEC answer the question:
What do female founders need to know before pitching their company to investors for the first time?
Her Campus co-founder and CEO Stephanie Kaplan notes that being a woman is advantageous. "Many women get nervous when pitching to investors because of the statistics about how most funding goes to men. However, women should realize that being female can actually work to their advantage, as many women-led startups have seen huge successes recently - like Gilt Groupe and Rent the Runway - and investors are eager to identify the next female entrepreneurial leaders and back them.
Poshly founder and CEO Doreen Bloch says, "Pitching investors is not for the faint-hearted. Get ready to be persuasive, tough and persistent. If you hear "no" or "maybe" from an investor, press to understand why a particular response is given. Pushing to get into the feedback loop will help you to improve your business, gain mentors and garner respect while navigating the fundraising process.
Writer Thursday Bram ups the ante and recommends giving that chauvinistic relative a ring - "Want to really prepare to pitch as a woman? Go find that relative who has made it clear that you should be home, raising a family, with no other interests. Tell him your idea, and keep calm through what comes next. Some investors want to see how you'll hold up under tough questions, but if you've already calmly faced someone who doesn't believe women need college degrees, there's nothing worse."
Systems engineer Kelly Azevedo advises you to "Go watch episodes of Shark Tank on ABC online and consider how the women pitching their business interact with the "shark" investors. These experts are not any less direct or demanding of female founders. Watch and learn from how the women react to the feedback and inquisition when they're in the hot seat!"
BusinessBeware.Biz co-founder Ashley Bodi reminds women entrepreneurs to familiarize yourself with your number - "It's one thing to be excited and pumped about your idea or business, but if you don't know the numbers then you're in trouble. Knowing your sales figures and projections is not only good for the pitch, but it's also what helps you scale your business as you go. A real businessperson knows their numbers backwards and forwards."
This post was contributed by the The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. Photo credit: Erica Kawamoto Hsu of Kuishimbo About the guest blogger: Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award winning Producer at the digital media company she co-founded, Imaginarius. She passionately works to get more women into business in her role as Co-Founder of YEC Women with Scott Gerber and through her blog, She Takes on the World. Natalie is frequently quoted and interviewed in the media discussing entrepreneurship, personal branding for women, and new media. Follow her on Twitter at @nataliemacneil.