3 Resolutions for Female Founders to Succeed in the New Year
It’s a brand new year, and naturally, you’ve probably come up wit a few New Year’s resolutions: keeping your email inbox at zero, getting to the gym more often, finishing at least one book, or finally going dairy-free.
But have you set any New Year’s resolutions for yourself and your business? If not, here are a few resolutions to help female founders succeed in the new year with advice from entrepreneurs and investors featured on Project Entrepreneur.
1. Remember Your “Why”
Keeping the reason why you started your business at the forefront of your decision-making this year is a great resolution for female founders to make. For one, knowing why you started is an important part of figuring out where you want your company to go in the New Year and beyond. Knowing your “why” is the first step in building out a roadmap for your business, which is a good task to accomplish in the first few weeks of the year if you don’t already have one.
Jennifer Willey, Chief Business Officer of Independa, recently shared some advice on how to create a business roadmap: “Where exactly do you want your business to be this year or in three years? Who are your customers that you need to get? Come up with a very specific plan, like you do when you put in where you’re going in Google Maps, that tells you exactly where you’re going, and then pinpoint every single step that you need to take to get there.”
Your “why” is also the core of your brand’s story, which is a key part of creating (and marketing) an authentic brand. “Storytelling is a way for investors and consumers to find meaning in your product, brand, company. HUGE! If you don’t have a story or a ‘why’ you did it, it’s not impossible but it’s a lot harder to get the word out,” says Kara Goldin, Founder and CEO of hint, inc., the company behind hint® water.
2. Get Out There and Pay Attention to What Works (and What Doesn’t)
Have a great idea for your business that you want to bring to life this year? Get started now! Don’t wait for the perfect moment, or you many never get going at all. PE Alum DeShuna Spencer, Founder & CEO of streaming service kweliTV, shared this motivating advice with Project Entrepreneur: “There’s this quote by one of the founders of LinkedIn: if you’re not embarrassed by your first MVP (Minimum Viable Product), you started too late. My biggest advice is to not wait until everything is perfect to launch. If people like the idea, they will ride the journey with you as you tweak and improve your product.”
Angela Lee, Associate Dean & Chief Innovation Officer at Columbia Business School & Founder of 37 Angels, encourages female founders to be okay with experimenting and trying new things, rather than aiming to bring a perfect product to market. “Let go of the fear to go into the market with your product. Even if you get certain aspects of your product wrong, you still have a huge market that hasn’t seen it yet.”
Rent the Runway Co-Founder & CEO Jenn Hyman has similar advice. “Don’t expect to get to your goal in a straight line. Have the expectation that whatever your business idea is, it’s likely going to fail. It’s what you do from there that is most important,” says Hyman. “Ask yourself, ‘What elements of [my] business or product failed?’ and ‘How do [I] make sure [I am] testing different variables on what failed in order to make it successful?’”
3. Listen to Your Customers
If you aren’t already collecting customer feedback or actively asking your customers what they want from you and your company, the new year is a great time to get started. Shan-Lyn Ma, Founder & CEO of Zola, keeps her site relevant by paying attention to what her users are doing and the brands they are excited about.
For example, when customers were pulling items they wanted from a company that wasn’t listed on Zola, Ma used those data to try and create a partnership with that brand. She also advocates offering online surveys to people who signed up for your product but ultimately did not end up using it. “Asking the question ‘Why did you not use us?’ can be extremely valuable,” says Ma.
Lee agrees. “Ask for customer feedback. Some questions to ask your customers are: Why did you pick my company? What did my product or service replace? Often the answers will be quite surprising.”