Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hey Wild Women Bloggers, This One's For You

The W Magical List of Women Bloggers

A hat tip to Carolyn D. Townes, an Associate from the W List, for turning me on to the place. So if you are a woman blogger and are not featured, get on it, because they want to keep the conversation rockin'!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Women Build Businesses Their Way

Women build businesses their way. What about you. Is that what you do too? Read more here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Female Fever

Women. The Mega Niche. The under-served market of all markets. And so on. Just consider the fact that women, who comprise just over 50% of the US population, make over 80% of the consumer purchasing decisions (and in case you're wondering, consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of US GNP). Consulting firm A.T. Kearney estimates that women determine 80 percent of consumption, purchase 60 percent of all cars and own 40 percent of all stocks. No wonder some companies have female fever these days. Oh, and there are more numbers and insights galore on Trendsight, Rethink Pink, Marketing To Women Online and BlogHer. But hey, we were going to focus on examples, so here goes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Does Nagging Help As An Entrepreneur?

In this woman's biz it does!
Here is how Marla Cilley, better known by her nom de guerre, FlyLady, runs her business. Every morning she rolls out of bed and starts nagging. She sends a first e-mail to her 400,000 subscribers at about 7AM, reminding them to get up and get dressed. Throughout the day she'll send about 10 more e-mails from her Brevard, N.C., home, nagging them to polish their sinks or plan a healthy dinner. She'll also pen an essay or two on topics ranging from the evils of perfectionism to the importance of self-love. Her office administrator will send a few more e-mails, giving subscribers tidying tips. By the time Cilley's last e-mail -- "Please go to bed!" -- goes out at 10PM, her flock has received about 15 messages.

Last year sales hit $4 million.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Founders at Work

Lately I've been re-reading Founders at Work and absolutely loving it even more the second time around because it vividly tells the stories of startups' early days from Gmail (Paul Buchheit) to Research in Motion (Mike Lazaridis) to Flickr where cofounder Caterina Fake (pictured) talks about what it was like for her when she got started and in particular, some of the challenges she had to deal with as a female entrepreneur -- like this one.
Livingston: What kinds of challenges have you faced as a female technology startup founder?

Fake: There is a lot of institutionalized sexism working against women in business and I think that people aren't even aware that it's there. One example happened when we went down to Silicon Valley to meet with a venture capital fir. After the meeting, the VC spoke to someone associated with our company and said to him, "Tell Stewart not to bring his wife to VC meetings." Which was shocking to me, and Stewart was furious about this as well. He let everybody know. "Caterina is not 'my wife.' She is instrumental o the success of this company. Her contributions have been equal to mine."

It takes a lot of nerve for women to face up this assumption -- and the assumption is everywhere, even in some of the most surprising places -- that they don't measure up, that they're not good or tough enough. Twice as much will be expected of them. I hear this from women again and again in business: they have to be twice as prepared as men.

This happens to me all the time: I go to meetings and I've stayed up late preparing my presentation and I've got all my papers in order and know exactly what I'll be talking about and I come to the meeting and a bunch of guys show up and say, "Hey, so what's this meeting about?" They haven't done any of the preparation or work.

Livingston: Do women bring any advantages to a startup?

Fake: I was talking to another entrepreneur, Judy MacDonald Johnston, and she said that women are much more passionate about their businesses. They're doing it less for the money and more because they love it. There's something about that that really rings true to me. Women are able to put their hearts and souls ito it in a way that many men cannot -- or rather, are not known for doing.
Do you agree or disagree with Caterina's remarks?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

No Ceiling For Women, Glass or Otherwise?

Female entrepreneurs thrive.
There has never been a better time to be a woman with the entrepreneurial bug. Businesses owned by women are the fastest-growing sector of new ventures in the United States. Nearly half of all privately held firms in 2004 were at least 50 percent owned by women, according to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners. Between 1997 and 2004, the number of businesses owned by women grew by almost 20 percent, compared with only a 9 percent increase overall.

But are men and women who are trying to build their own businesses playing the same game? According to several recent studies, the deck is often stacked against female entrepreneurs: Compared with men, women tend to start their ventures with fewer resources, less reliable suppliers, and substantially less early-stage venture funding—a critical financial nudge that helps many businesses survive.

Still, there are other avenues to entrepreneurial success, and women seem to be finding them. In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Venturing, two business school professors, John Becker-Blease, of Washington State University, and Jeffrey Sohl, of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, examine how successful women are at getting access to "angel capital," the free-flowing private-equity money that can often make or break a struggling business. In their study,"Do Women-Owned Businesses Have Equal Access to Angel Capital?," the authors use annual survey data from more than 100 angel investing organizations between 2000 and 2004 to compare how businesses owned by men and women fared in their pursuit of investment dollars.
Read more here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Best Little Whorehouse in Chicago

Two sisters started a business. Here is a story of the city’s most exclusive brothel—and the reformers who shut it down. People claim the sisters -- Ada and Minna Everleigh -- “... were ingenious in how they learned to present themselves.” I guess one would say they were quite entrepreneurial for their time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Looking For Funding?

Try this new site, The Funded, for entrepreneurs and see what people say about their experience working with VCs.

Check out its media coverage.
Must be a need in the marketplace.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Inside Every Woman

I have not read this book yet but I noticed it hit the WSJ best seller list over the weekend. That's the only reason how it caught my attention. FYI.
It is, however, aimed at women because of the unique and documented bonds between and among women, not to mention the financial power of 6.7 million business owners and $1.2 billion in revenues. Her practical idea? That five promises together ignite 10 different strengths, from passion to female fusion; each strength is accompanied by actions to take, steps to consider, the "promise" connection, plenty of quotes, and a more-than-appropriate case history. The last strength, female fusion, is in reality a structured workshop to hold with 10 powerful women to help further life and work goals. New Age? For sure. But definitely a time and a place to venture into and explore.
Inc. Top 10 Entrepreneur Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD is the founder and president of Vickie Milazzo Institute, the oldest and largest legal nurse consultant certification company. She pioneered the legal nurse consulting profession in 1982.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Are You a Parent Thinking About Becoming an Entrepreneur?

Then you should read The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business. My colleague, Julie Lenzer Kirk, sent me a copy for review and I went through it last night from beginning to end. What a great summer read, especially for parents who are contemplating becoming or are already duo-entrepreneurs. Of all the lessons in life, kids undoubtedly teach us the most. And Julie does a great job pointing that out and making the connection between entrepreneurship and parenting. Find out how to have it all and enjoy the ride.

Be sure to check out Julie's blog and NY Times clip.