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.
Ah, that’s where that quote came from!Do you find yourself attending funerals that you otherwise wouldn’t as a result of reading the obituaries?
only attend funerals of people I know.
Dear Joanne, Just a note to wish you a wonderful 2015 and thank you for your insightful posts plus your impressive 45 investments. The startup world needs more Gotham Gals!Your fan,Ella
Thanks Ella. A happy and a healthy to you too
This may be off but here goes.Most women entrepreneurs I know–and I know a number–are building businesses that are not disrupting the tech infrastructure, change the game for the planet companies. Generally.Many are brand smart, shopping and nutritional savvy, wellness brilliant as a consumer poise.And it is just harder to raise money against a pure brand play that is in many ways tied to a standard distribution paradigm that the big honking multiple risks of changing the transportation industry for example.Raise they do but it is a different ballgame and one that I think is crying out for more infrastructure from an investment perspective that places like Circle Play but more is needed.
plenty of men doing nothing to not disrupt the tech infrastructure, either. You’d be surprised how much less male investors believe women who want to change the status quo, they don’t trust them somehow as much as they do men.
that is the root of the problem.
The Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus communication style usually put women airing concerns, and men wanting to solve them quickly while the women wanted to be heard more than anything. In context with your post that aligns with women having the patience to sit with problems longer and mulch on them, and men often impatient with that strategy, wanting more action and results. While a slight style generalization, does this ring true with your experience?
Yep. It rings loud and clear
Great post, Joanne.I regularly remind myself of a quote I encountered on Twitter some time back – ‘It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.’
Such a timely post for me and I enjoyed the comments as well. I have been struggling with getting my new business going and often wonder if it’s taking too long. I have to keep reminding myself to keep moving and that timing is everything. Happy New Year, Joanne!
Been to that dark side of the moon. I promise you one thing. If you dont feel you are ready to give up – then it is not the time to give in. Trust the spirit that inspired you to start in the first place to be wise enough to tell you if it time to move on. Trust yourself. Good luck!
In our case, I am founder/ CEO of an ad:tech firm that got minimal angel funding. That meant I could create our venture according to what I knew was right and not what VC believed I should do.Did it take us longer? Yup.Is our final solution much much better because of the time we took as we didnt go down the quick MVP road? Yup.Did the fact that VCs who dont really understand the business of marketing not push us down roads that are now blowing up other ad:tech startups? Yup.Best yet – we are still very much master of our own destiny. That’s a win in my book even if Facebook may not buy us for $1B…. tomorrow.