On November 17, 2012, the Michigan Association for Female Entrepreneurs (MAFE) will host their inaugural 2012 Women Entrepreneurs Conference. What makes this conference so intriguing – and one that got my immediate attention -is that the line-up is so good, especially for the first time out of the proverbial gate.
MAFE supports and promotes the economic growth and advancement of women entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan. That means supporting the entrepreneurial maturity of women at all levels of business growth, from start-up to mature businesses.
Michigan has a vibrant network of business incubators and university programs that support entrepreneurship. It’s one of a handful of states that “have it right” – in terms of how these incubators are modeled and how they interact with the entrepreneurial community.
One of the missions of MAFE is to accelerate the growth rate and success of women-owned businesses through enhanced networking and educational events, workshops, and seminars such as their 2012 Women Entrepreneurs Conference.
Which is why I am speaking at the event.
I’ll be hosting a session at the conference titled: Telling Your Story, Selling Your Venture. No matter whether you are a university professor, corporate professional, student, or someone with an idea that catches fire, all of us are uncomfortable pitching that idea to investors. Let’s face it, while the friends and family approach may work for a while in getting your start-up off the ground, eventually your friends and family begin wondering when you are going to get a real job, or real funding. That means it’s time for you to pitch to investors and enter business competitions, some of the most daunting experiences I know of.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
One of the ways investors separate the men from the boys – and the women from the girls – is how well you understand the mindset of the investment community and how well you position your venture with the goals of their portfolio. If what I just wrote sounds like Greek to you, then perhaps you might want to attend this seminar/break-out session at the event.
This country was built on entrepreneurship. It’s not something that is a given, however, even if you feel you qualify for programs and grants. You are asking organizations to put their money on you, and they need to exhibit found fiscal judgment when making their financial awards or making loans to your organization.
Are you speaking to them in their language? Do you understand how they think?
One of the shortfalls of anyone in the business world today, entrepreneurs particularly, is their knowledge gap about the financials of what leads their company from idea to profit. While a lot has been made about how girls shy away from math and STEM programs, it boils down to your mindset.
Are you going to tackle those finances or not? Leaving this critical aspect of your business to someone else – your father or uncle or a close family friend – jeopardizes your entrepreneurship in the long run. Who knows your company better than you? Work with your advisors. Collaborate with them.
If you are going to be that CEO, do so in more than title. That means simultaneously understanding the interrelationship between your value proposition, markets, industry, business model, and financials.
Join me on Saturday, November 17, 2012, when the Michigan Association for Female Entrepreneurs hosts their inaugural 2012 Women Entrepreneurs Conference. Find out the answers to these questions.
And a whole lot more from some incredibly talented and inspiring women.
Let me know if you are attending.