As a female startup founder, you’re likely to come up against the gender bias and inequality of the corporate environment. Gender bias is especially apparent when women seek venture capital for their startups. The male-dominated venture capital industry is a hurdle that female founders can overcome with strategic financing maneuvers. There are some methods and techniques that can help you acquire funding, establish your company in the current industry networks, find new clients and create a reputation that elicits respect. Here are some tips on how you can obtain financial resources that will promote company growth:
Don’t be surprised if you encounter investment teams that are primarily composed of men. This unbalanced representation of gender can limit the amount of funding received from venture capital firms, as you may be judged in a stereotypical manner. For example, venture capital may only be offered to female founders if the company is associated with something “girl-related.” Furthermore, male investment teams may be biased when considering a female-founded tech startup, given the scarcity of female players in the tech industry. Female entrepreneurs should seek out alternative financing options to get ahead in the male-dominated financing game. Crowdfunding is a method that allows you to be judged by your ideas and product or services, before your gender. It will also reach a larger population, increasing the chance of being funded. Companies must make sure their funds and financial information are protected when they are involved in frequent internet transactions. Make use of an information protection service, like Lifelock, so your company’s financial funding and revenue isn’t compromised. Other cyber protection tools include anti-virus programs, like BitDefender or ESET, and a virtual private network (VPN), like CyberGhost.
Networking within your industry is an incredibly important strategy that helps you gain information about the market, find new resources for growth and establish yourself among the competition. Many companies and agencies are managed by men and saturated with a culture representative of male gender values and norms. While this culture may not be conducive to inclusion, you should still develop relationships within these networks, so other companies will recognize your presence. You should also reach out and network with female entrepreneur communities, as these kinds of groups can provide you with helpful resources, industry information and tips on how you can grow your business. Some of the women-focused networking groups include Crave, Women 2.0, SMARTY, Make Mine a Million $ Business and Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN).
Reputation is everything when you are in the midst of launching your startup. Make sure you start off with an impressive and fresh reputation, so potential investors and clients will be able to identify your extraordinary business potential. The better your reputation, the quicker the word about your company’s value will spread. Gender bias can be countered if your company has a strong, positive standing within the industry. Reputation management agencies are a useful resource for the development or preservation of your company’s reputation. They will help you draw strategic focus to your company’s most attractive and promising qualities, which will bolster your credentials and growth. Visit Forbes’ website for an in-depth article on the importance of reputation and the value of reputation management agencies.