By Helena Murphy (Raising Partners)
1/ Pitching female-focused products to men: If you find yourself trying to secure investment for a female-specific product, to an all-male investor pool, focus on the figures. Give them the bottom line – potential market share, opportunity and margins. Women tend to be much more informed and clear on the detail about the figures involved than men. This is an advantage and should boost your confidence. It will help you illustrate that you know what you are talking about so investors feel confident in you.
This is how Trinny Woodall did it…
“A great example of a woman who raised funding well is Trinny Woodall for her beauty brand Trinny London. Trinny recognised that she was pitching a female-focused product to a room full of men so, instead of pitching the benefits of her make-up and how they solve the pain points of women, (which the men in the room may not understand) she pitched purely the numbers, the margins, the market and the size of the opportunity. Even though Trinny knew that women would love her brand, she knew that what the people in that room were looking for, and what was most important to them, were the numbers.”
2/ Back yourself first: If you want others to back you with their cold hard cash, you need to back yourself, your business, and your abilities. Women can often be less confident than men and be more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome. If you feel like you fall into this category, start slowly and practice your pitch – family and friends is a good place to start. Men tend to ask for more money and provide more optimistic forecasts as to what their business will achieve. A confident attitude is persuasive but be sure to accompany it with accurate figures that you know inside out.
Women tend to be much more informed and clear on the detail about the figures involved than men
3/ Think about the amount: It’s important you ask for the right amount of money. Women tend to ask for less than they actually need but this will cause problems in the long term. It’s almost as bad as not going after investment at all.
4/ Knowledge is power: Become knowledgeable about the industry, and then help one another by passing on information and advice to other female-founders. We need to create our own networks to do this. Start to create and develop your own network of people who can help you, whom you can bounce ideas off, and who can put you in touch with other good contacts. The old boys network is still alive and kicking, you need to have something like that to support you too. Good advice is invaluable.
5/ Female mentors: Find other women who have secured funding and don’t be afraid to ask them how they did it. If you don’t know where to find investors, or what they are looking for, then find someone who does and ask them.