Did you know that women-owned businesses account for about 40% of all privately-held businesses in the US and employ more than 13 milllion people?
These are just a few of the facts fueling the development of a new documentary. The film, She Means Business, will focus on the triumphs, experiences, and insights of women entrepreneurs. Though still in its fundraising stage, it’s already garnering media attention.
Earlier this week, Forbes.com published a piece about the documentary, and we’ve re-posted it here. Near the end of it are four key behaviors to embrace to success as an entrepreneur. After you’ve read through them, tell us: which behavior will you work on first?
She Means Business - The New Momentum and Success of Women Entrepreneurs
by Kathy Caprino, Contributor
Successful entrepreneur Jackie Baptist and independent film producer Elizabeth Dell announced this week their upcoming new documentary film She Means Business dedicated to shedding important light on the major triumphs, experiences and insights of women entrepreneurs today. The film, which is in the fundraising stage via Kickstarter, explores the key challenges female entrepreneurs face and offers education, inspiration and information to help women overcome these challenges and move forward with their entrepreneurial ventures with greater success.
Stewarded by top advisors including Sonja Hoel Perkins of Menlo Ventures and Broadway Angels, Jeanne Sullivan of Starvest Partners, Judy Robinett of Illuminate Ventures and Grow America, Joy Marcus of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Janet Hanson, CEO of 85 Broads and successful entrepreneurs and filmmakers Jacqueline Baptist and Elizabeth Dell, respectively, She Means Business has already garnered attention from leading movers and shakers in the world of entrepreneurial women, and various large media outlets. It counts among its supporters Tim Draper, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Paul Holland, Foundation Capital, Monica Smiley, Publisher/CEO of Enterprising Women, Marsha Firestone, Founder and President of Women Presidents’ Organization and many others.
I had the honor of speaking with the Executive Producer Baptist and top advisor for the film Judy Robinett about their goals and visions for the film as well as the current landscape for women entrepreneurs. The idea for the documentary was spurred by a critical need to address the disproportionately low representation of women entrepreneurs in popular media. Baptist explained, “Women entrepreneurs face more challenges that their male counterparts in their journeys towards business success, particularly with regard to raising capital. This is in spite of women-owned businesses accounting for approximately 40% of all privately-held business in the USA, employing more than 13 million people and generating $1.9 trillion USD in sales as of 2008.”
Baptist continues, “Our documentary will be a major step in addressing this inequality by raising the stature of women in business and making their voices heard, a very important move for our economy and our country at this time. Speaking from experience as one who has funded many women entrepreneurs, women are achieving fantastic business success today, success we wouldn’t have dreamed of fifty years ago. They are hard working, determined and highly successful.”
Judy Robinett, a key advisor to the film, former CEO, and start-up consultant to new businesses, shared her views that this film will serve as a “lightning rod” for women the world over who, while making enormous inroads in entrepreneurial success still struggle with two key dimensions: 1) successfully navigating the financial ecosystem to get funding, and 2) stepping up with confidence, perseverance and full-out commitment to achieving their entrepreneurial visions. Judy believes the time is now for the nation and other highly successful women to do something big to support the entrepreneurial women’s movement. This film will do its part by providing a blueprint for women who are committed to starting their businesses, and provides the inspiration, education and a road-map for moving forward successfully.
Judy shared that while there are many organizations today that support entrepreneurial women’s growth, the ship is “rudderless.” Entrepreneurial women are certainly networking, connecting and learning from each other, but not at the “power level” they need to be. Instead of networking with individuals and organizations that can provide the high-level sponsorship and support they need, women are spinning their wheels networking with women at their own level of knowledge and skill. Further, entrepreneurial women today have not generally had access to strong and well-founded guidance that comes from tremendously successful entrepreneurs who’ve already navigated through the challenges and can pave the way for millions more women to do the same. She Means Business attempts to bridge that gap.
As a seasoned investor and advisor to start-ups, Judy shared her view that women need to embrace four key behaviors in order to achieve greater success in the entrepreneurial world. These four behaviors are:
1) Accepting and moving forward from failure – Understanding that failure is an essential part of the process, Judy shares that the most successful entrepreneurial ventures typically fail three times before hitting success. Unfortunately, women, unlike men, tend to internalize “failure” and struggle with recovering quickly and moving on effectively. They haven’t understood that failure is an inherent and holistic part of the success, and give up too soon.
2) Powering up with more self-confidence – Generally speaking, women, unlike men, think they need self-esteem before they launch their successful business. On the contrary, they need to learn that self-esteem is not a prerequisite for successful entrepreneurship but comes from doing, failing, and doing again.
3) Asking for what they need and want – Women often hold themselves back from asking for what they need and want, or they apologize for it. To create a successful entrepreneurial venture, you must access the courage and fortitude necessary to step up and ask for what you need, and have the confidence and staying power to claim it.
4) Understanding that it’s all about relationships, connection and strategy – These are the three key pillars for financial success in your own business. Without these three, it’s extremely challenging to succeed at the level you need to, and failure is far more likely.
For both Judy and Jackie, it has been inspirational and exciting to observe the groundswell of women leaders and entrepreneurs emerging in very recent years. Twenty years ago, there were very few women starting business. Now, as more role models emerge, along with greater access to billions of dollars of funding, a new energy is building that will support a true entrepreneurial movement for women in America for years to come.
Are you ready and committed to do what it takes to launch and succeed in your own business? The time is NOW.
For more information about She Means Business and to contribute, visit http://www.shemeansbusiness.org .
Readers, tell us: which of the 4 behaviors will you embrace first?