We are clear enough on the headwinds facing the tech sector.
It’s often been said that crisis breeds innovation. Many businesses have been created in response to major disruptions – Warby Parker and Square come to mind. In the Sandpiper network we are seeing fearlessness in our founders – particularly as we consider the volatility of the market in its current state.
For founders, building and scaling a business on a good day is hard enough. But it can be argued that in this new challenging environment, women founders will be able to leverage their unique skills to chart a path not just for survival – but for success.
Each day we see founders identifying opportunities, asking thoughtful questions and bringing powerful solutions to market. Here, we offer a few of the key elements that will take women founders through a challenging economy and ultimately to a positive position on the other side.
A downturn requires a different approach to growing a business. There are adjustments to be made – like potentially downsizing and having your team broaden their responsibilities. In the process, it will shine a light on the things that make your company stand out most. Women are used to multi-tasking, are adaptable and most of all, can make this transition in seamless way with their usual agility and candid conversations. They can also sustain relationships and build teams back up when the time is right.
In a recession period investors become more selective and cautious with their money and this leads to slower growth. During a raise this is the ultimate test of patience and requires an ability to tell your company story to many, many people – in the way they need to hear it. Women are able to achieve this by taking advantage of their soft skills, leveraging their EQ, and applying that to every interaction, whether it’s with a potential investor, an existing investor or a sponsor who is helping them build their investment network.
Founders must consider a new timeline for the raise process and embrace the idea of working on smaller, teams with less money but with great potential down the road.
A product is only valuable if it’s developed with the customer and market in mind. Women are wired to be entrepreneurs and have the empathy gene that is key to understanding the customer.
All of this taken into account, women are able to find the creative ways to make adjustments in their business to keep customers happy and the business sustainable. This is their time to be experimenting and innovating to get things done. Diversity in an organization breeds creativity. And disruption leads to new discoveries with unexpected perspectives and therefore, newly formed approaches to the work.
Recessionary periods and the early parts of recoveries are associated with significant business creation. Founders will ultimately want to steer their company towards KPIs that drive sustainable profitability instead of excessive growth.
And no matter what the future brings, women are focused on the horizon.
Sarah Young is the Founding and Managing Partner of Sandpiper Ventures.
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