By Katie Flanagan, Event Coordinator, Mimeo
Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Inc. Magazine’s Women’s Summit in New York. As implied by its name, this event is designed to bring women together to network and share new ideas for their businesses. It was incredibly impactful to hear from so many successful women both on the stage and in the audience. Since many of Mimeo’s customers are woman-owned small businesses, I wanted to share some of the takeaways with our readers.
Passion, Passion, Passion
You created your business for a reason. I met women with amazing ideas, ranging from starting a company to educate on skin and facial care to selling merchandise to capture summer year-round. On stage, we heard from speakers like the founder of Carol’s Daughter, who grew a line of body butter from a flea market stand to a multi-million-dollar business, to the inventor of the socket ball to the woman who created LearnVest to help educate Americans on everyday finance. The thing everyone had in common was an intense passion for whatever it was they did. And, the speakers told us, the key to success is riding that passion through the hard times so that you emerge stronger on the other side.
Relationships Are As Important As Money
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve probably asked for money from somebody, whether they were family or friends, a bank, or an investor like a venture capitalist or angel investor. An entire panel devoted to this topic made it clear how conflicted the business community is on getting investors. The two things everyone agreed on: you need to talk about investments constantly so that if you find yourself in need of that money, you already have relationships established; and the relationship with your investor is more important than the money. Several speakers told stories of how accepting money from the wrong investor held their business back instead of helping it grow.
Moral of the story: hold out until you find an investor who believes in you and your vision before accepting someone else’s money.
Perception Is More Important than Reality
Impostor syndrome is rampant among successful women, and the speakers at the Inc Women’s Summit were no different. In the complimentary Inc magazine all attendees received, Barbara Corcoran’s cover story began with her declaring that hers is a “false fame.” Her amazing keynote speech (interrupted twice by fire alarms) was littered with stories about how she made her empire simply by self-aggrandizing, from the way she answered the phones to letting the press think she worked with celebrities simply by telling them about the apartment someone else had just sold to Valentino.
The lesson is that to succeed, you don’t need to worry about the reality. You simply need to keep your eye on the ball, act like you have it all, and maybe one day you’ll be the keynote speaker of the Inc. Women’s Summit.
What’s been your biggest challenge as a woman entrepreneur?