Slow and steady wins the race
People ask me all the time if women entrepreneurs are better entrepreneurs than their male counterparts. It is actually a ridiculous question but I do see a difference. I actually see the difference with people who seem to have a harder time raising capital. Perhaps it is that experience that makes them committed to succeed at an entirely different level or perhaps that is the type of people I love to back.
I read the obituaries every day. I think I started doing that sometime in my late 20’s. The NYTimes highlights some people I know and others who I have never heard of. Each of them have always led impressive lives.
J. Robert Beyster died this past week. He was one of the largest defense contractors. He had an amazing company philosophy. There was this quote in the obituary that made me put these thoughts into a blog post.
In his 2007 book, “The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company,” Dr. Beyster wrote: “I have found that employees are more patient investors than the public. They are willing to wait longer for returns because they want a good place to work. They allow the company to invest in long-term growth and not just short-term gains.”
Maybe I am patient as an investor but I do believe that companies need to and take time to grow. Capital is certainly needed but I see too many investors expecting returns too soon. Each company is different, each trajectory is different, each culture and each company takes its own path. Growing a solid foundation to grow the company on is important vs just pushing for constant growth without making sure that the blocks are not set in place. I think of building a house of cards. If there isn’t a solid structure at the base the building will never get built. Although some fall apart half way through and others make it to the top.
The importance of a great team, an entrepreneurial visionary and a great group of investors who can sit around a table discussing the future without pushing too quickly can be positive. Sometimes it isn’t but that is why each company is different.
Women are great at building those foundations before moving on to the next level. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but I will take slow and steady any day over unrealistic fly by the pants expectations.