Entrepreneurial Challenges and the Importance of Investing in Female-Founded Businesses
Interview with Janie Cooke and Caroline Nix, Co-Founders of Oventure
Janie and Caroline, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Oventure, describe the challenges they've overcome as entrepreneurs, offer advice to those who are navigating similar waters, and even share the CEO that they look to for inspiration in times of uncertainty.
What are the biggest obstacles that entrepreneurs face?
In our opinion, there is not one obstacle that is overwhelming to entrepreneurs, rather it is the sheer number of obstacles that you confront in all areas of business over long periods of time. Our advice is to view obstacles as temporary challenges and to stay positive even in the toughest of times. Don’t shy away from or be disheartened by the obstacles you are presented, instead, view them as a challenge and hit them head on. When obstacles arise, use it as an opportunity to seek creative solutions. Very rarely can you rely on the way you have problem-solved in the past. In peaks and in valleys stay positive, flexible and innovative - this trifecta will help you not only solve problems, but also forge your way into the future on your own path.
Are there any obstacles that female entrepreneurs in particular should be aware of?
Many female entrepreneurs are juggling multiple responsibilities - full-time jobs, motherhood, etc. - and don’t have a support system that can cover for them while they focus on their business. It's critical to not only carve out dedicated time for your growing business, but to also learn how to lean on others for help and support. Keep it mind that the goal isn't to carve out a long length of time, it's to carve out a dedicated, focused amount of time, no matter how long or short it may be. When time is in short supply, it's all about being efficient and prioritizing your tasks.
What advice would you give other female entrepreneurs?
As a female entrepreneur, it can be more challenging to gain access to business professionals, mentors and investors. If that sounds familiar, don't be discouraged! Find one or two people you can depend on for advice, ideas, and resources. After those two, find two more. Your network will start to grow exponentially. Look for other women who have chartered your waters before. Through the years, we have encountered so many women in business who are more than willing to share their wisdom and expertise to lift up others. Your job is to do the research, ask the questions, and never pre-judge a person's ability to offer information or access that could be valuable. Be confident and realize that one single conversation could lead to a huge opportunity.
Who are other leaders and CEOs that inspire you?
Sara Blakely of SPANX is one of the female leaders that inspires us the most. We modeled many of our early decisions off of her career and business decisions. She built a company based on an idea that changed the way people viewed hosiery. She approached women with humor and authenticity, which we emulate. As she grew, she remained committed to helping other women through her Leg Up program for female entrepreneurs. As you can imagine, we were beyond honored to receive her Leg Up Award for female entrepreneurs. She featured us in her catalog and gave us an opportunity to visit by phone and ask her questions regarding our most pressing business issues. Sara Blakely is an example of a woman who utilizes her success to lift up other women, which we admire immensely.
What advice would you give to female investors looking to support women-founded businesses?
Statistically speaking, female entrepreneurs are less likely than their male counterparts to receive funding for their ideas. We're sure we're not the only ones who have encountered so many talented women whose businesses have yet to reach their full potential due to a lack in funding. Women have the unique blend of creativity, smarts and empathy. They are nimble, resourceful, and determined. In our opinion, women helping other women is the best way to pay it forward, and the best investment in our collective future!