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Superstar Female Founders Share Ten Lessons To Boost Your Business

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Wide Awake: A Day For Female Founders.JBC

“Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” It may be only five words, but it sums up the wisdom and inspiration offered by a sorority of superstar female founders to a group of ambitious entrepreneurs attending “Wide Awake,” a day of curated talks produced by JBC in partnership with the Female Founder Collective. 

Designed to address the specific needs of women founders, the interactive gathering gave women the opportunity to ask for direct advice from visionaries who broke through the 2% female funding stats and built thriving businesses.

“Success has 100% to do with how much support women have access to,” said Melissa Duren Connor, a founder and partner at JBC. “That’s why leaning on female founders who have done it before you is so essential.”

The day was chocked with clear, uncensored insight for taking a new business idea from concept to capitalized. Seasoned leaders offered crystalized direction in a genuine effort to boost more fledgling entrepreneurs working to take thier business to unprecedented heights. Here are some of the more valuable personal lessons shared that day.

1. Be willing to suck at something.

Every man I know does something he sucks at – basketball, golf. They’re not good at golf! Go do something you enjoy and be mediocre at it, because that’s what being an entrepreneur feels like. You’re not ready to take the risk of starting your own company until you build that baseline of imperfection. Build that bravery muscle so that it doesn’t feel as jarring when someone tells you no.” – Reshma Saujani, Founder + CEO, Girls Who Code.

2. Have answers to the four questions every investor wants to know.

“Here’s what investors look for: Are you open to being coached? Are you open to feedback? What’s your superpower? Are you the person who can execute this idea best? Have the answers before you walk into any pitch meeting.” – Sutian Dong, Partner, Female Founders Fund.

3. Be bold and ask for what you want.

“We could have saved ourselves from a lot of awkward conversations if we just asked for what we wanted up front. Don’t leave the meeting until you ask for what you came for.” Carly Zakin, Co-Founder, The Skimm.

Rebecca Minkoff spoke with Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg of The SkimmJBC

4. It takes a little bit of gut and a lot of analytics.

“Constantly evaluate your data, but don’t be afraid to shift and turn around. And if you know nothing else, know your customer acquisition costs. It is the key to understanding the health of your business.” Amy Shecter, CEO, Glamsquad.

5. Hire creatively.

“Don’t be afraid to be creative in the hiring process. Bring the candidate in for a brainstorm. Throw them in with different departments. Ask them to work on a project.” – Cheryl Kaplan, Co-Founder + President, M. Gemi

6. There’s one thing more important than the big idea. 

A great idea matters less than the execution of a great idea. Figure out what you know and don’t know, and surround yourself with people who can fill the gaps.” –  Mariah Chase, Co-Founder + CEO, Eloquii.

7. Don’t be afraid of “no.”

“The worst thing someone can say is no. You’re going to hear it so many times as an entrepreneur – to the point where it starts to lose meaning, and that’s the moment you stop being afraid of it.” Danielle Weisberg, Co-Founder, The Skimm.

8. The most crucial question is “Why?”

“Identify an inherent problem and solve it. Set the stage for ‘why this?’, ‘why now?’ & ‘why are we the best ones to tackle our particular problem?’ The businesses that really succeeds can answer all of those.” Eunice Byun, Co-Founder + CEO, Material Kitchen.

9. Listen, learn and evolve.

“Evolution should happen at all stages of your business. Keep listening to your customer. Keep reacting to what they’re telling you.” Nidhi Kapur, Founder + CEO, Maiden Home.

10. Authenticity is your point of difference.

“From day one, I never thought about who was following me. I just filmed and took photos from my point of view. If I thought about how many people were watching, and who, I wouldn’t be able to do it.” – Arielle Charnas, lifestyle blogger, Something Navy.

Though Wide Awake is currently a New York-based event, it could be soon be a road show. Co-founder Rebecca Minkoff has a vision for bringing the women-supporting-women concept to cities around the country in the near future with the expressed goal of fostering the success of more women entreprenuers.