For the first of our W.I.T. Republic Entrepreneur meetups ‘Ladies Who Launch’, we were excited to be joined by three incredibly experienced female entrepreneurs: Ami Kotecha, Co-Founder and Head of Venture Investments, Leitha Matz, Co-Founder/Head of Product/COO at Zuper GmbH, and Ebere Akadiri, Founder of Rise and Lead & CEO of Ataro Foods.
Taking Risks and Learning From Failure
Ami kicked-off the event by talking about being ‘in the game’ of entrepreneurship, and the worth that people place on risk-taking. Hosting an interactive session, Ami emphasised her points by getting the attendees to participate in the presentation.
After asking attendees to describe in one word what it takes to be an entrepreneur, (answers included: grit, vision, resilience, determination, perseverance, believe), Ami shared the results of a survey which found that the biggest obstacle aspiring entrepreneurs must overcome, is the ability to take risks. Expanding on this, Ami explained that it’s not just the idea of ‘stepping in with both feet’, it’s the whole breadth and depth that we account as risk.
Ami highlights that in some cases loss aversion, and not the ability to take risks is what stops us from becoming entrepreneurs. Loss aversion is when you put more emphasis on a loss relative to a gain, this element of aversion can lead to suboptimal decisions. Ami mentions that it is important to look at risk as a spectrum and to tackle each part of that spectrum, to determine how much of the risk is completely financial, or due to personal ‘risk appetite’ levels. Breadth of skills, exposure and diversity per se are valuable in mitigating risk.
Finishing her presentation, Ami shared a mantra for entrepreneurs looking to ‘join the game’ and reduce risk: OODA; Observe Orient Decide Act (and repeat).
Creating Traction and FOMO
Leitha talked about how to create traction and the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) in early-stage startups. Throughout her presentation Leitha used a meme of a dancing man as an analogy for the process of creating traction; at the start of the meme the man is dancing alone, but by the end he has a full party in swing.
What do they mean when they say ‘Get in touch when you have more traction’:
- Number of active users
- Number of registered users
- Amount of engagement
- Partnerships / clients achieved
- Amount of traffic generated
Leitha mentions two paths for gaining traction; the growth path and the revenue path (or even sometimes both), and the importance of demonstrating your vision as well as your passion for the project to bring people onboard.
Early-stage startups may not have traction but they do have promise:
- Spirit and ambition
Highlighting any press and awards that your startup has won, user testimonials, and any goals that you have beyond profit are great ways to offer confidence and trust to people looking to partner or invest in your business.
To hear Leitha talk about how you can create traction through your users, investment and your team and network, watch the full event video here.
The Pillars of Building a Sustainable Business
The final presentation of the event, given by Founder of Rise & Lead Women and CEO of Ataro Foods, Ebere Akadiri, focused on the 3 pillars for building a sustainable business:
- Pillar 1: Your Vision
“Your vision starts from you.” If you do not feel fulfilled by your business it will not be sustainable and succeed. Before starting your entrepreneurial journey, Ebere emphasises that it is important to clarify; what your purpose of starting is, your core values, what you are offering and who needs it, as well as your strategic objectives.
- Pillar 2: Customer Development
To check that there is a customer need for your product, before you spend your time, money and effort launching the business, market and test it. Create and sell your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
- Pillar 3: Building a Strong Team
“You can’t walk alone for a very long time.” Having a team around you is important when building a sustainable business. Develop a structure and system within your organisation so that when you start to make profit, you can hire people and let it, essentially, run itself.
Ebere also discusses the need for entrepreneurs to develop a leadership mindset. Thinking and understanding your business as a leader allows you to effectively delegate tasks to your employees. Leadership is also about learning your own weaknesses and strengths. The purpose of leadership development is to grow your business, it helps you to hire employees, communicate your vision and manage different types of partnerships.
We’d like to thank everyone who attended the event as well as our brilliant speakers, there were some fantastic insights shared between you all during the presentaions and networking session. Don’t forget to register on our meetup page to stay updated on upcoming events!