Young Female Entrepreneurs' Advice on Securing Funding
As I mentioned before, the world better be prepared, because there is a new, fearless breed of young female entrepreneurs taking over.
These ladies are making their dreams a reality by putting their ideas out there, rallying for support, and most importantly, not taking "no" for an answer. When it comes to getting funding, these female business owners know how to make it happen, despite their age.
I would say that most people never even try to get their idea off the ground because of money (or lack thereof). It is extremely scary not knowing if your product/service will be a financial success.
Unless you were born with a trust fund, it is almost impossible to start a business without some kind of outside help. Whether you are just asking your parents for money to get your amazing, life-changing invention off the ground, or taking your pitch to the most powerful VCs in Silicon Valley, there are certain things you can do to be more convincing.
The young female entrepreneurs that I spoke with were able to gain pretty impressive amounts of funding. Here is some of the advice that they shared:
Listen to feedback. If you are asking people for money, they naturally might have a few concerns that they need addressed before forking over the cash. As an entrepreneur, you live and breathe your brand, so it can sometimes be hard to see the flaws. Make sure that you always listen to feedback, and take it into consideration. However, you also have to know which parts of your idea are set in stone. It can be detrimental if you change your business too much based off suggestions.
Melissa Thompson, CEO and Founder of TalkSession, said that when she walks into a potential investor meeting, she is "confident, but still open-minded to new perspectives an investor might bring."
Don't let rejection stop you. The reality is, as an entrepreneur, you will hear "no" a lot more than you ever hear "yes." If you accept this reality from the beginning, rejection will be easier to swallow. ZappRX CEO Zoe Barry's advice on dealing with the naysayers? "Visualize success -- if you believe you can do it, you will do it. I never said 'if' I raise money, I always said 'when' I raise money. It was never a question of 'if' for me." She has raised $1 million in funding.
Change your mindset. Thompson from TalkSession said it best, "Often as entrepreneurs, we feel like David going up against Goliath. But really, investors need good entrepreneurs just as much as we need good investors." She adds, "A meeting between investors and founders should not feel like the investor interviewing the founder, as much it is should be akin to professional dating."
Sometimes we forget that, as a business owner, we are not at the mercy of our customers, investors, clients, etc. They need our products/services too!
Let your confidence and passion speak for you. With Bono as one of her investors, Shop-Hers founder Jaclyn Shanfeld has learned a thing or two about wooing potential investors. She said, "Don't try and 'sell' them anything. Speak from the heart and speak with conviction. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but truly impassioned entrepreneurs that can execute are rare."
TalkSession's Thompson added, "I feel confident because I approach investors with pure intentions and a well-researched approach, a leadership style that shows decisiveness and ability to achieve milestones, a clear execution plan, a solid group of champions and experts with skills that supplement mine."
Related: Here Is How to Get a VC's Attention