How good are you at negotiation, getting funding or asking for what you want?
Christin Powell: I’ve had to learn the art of negotiation the hard way. One of the best books on this topic is “Getting to Yes”; I highly recommend it!
Pamela Giusto –Sorrells: I am not good at negotiating at all. I always seem to be willing to settle for less because I was always so worried about being “fair”. Many times it came at a cost to me. Today I surround myself with others who are much better at negotiations. I now take the easy way out with my advisory board who helps me negotiate things like salaries. Those are some of the hardest conversations.
Pam Marcus: I think I am pretty good at negotiating but it probably comes from a family that is comfortable doing that . Funding is always a challenge and the least fun thing you have to do when you run a business. I always ask friends and family first and do convertible notes. They know you best, who you are and what you are capable of.
Early on, it is also a good indicator if they think you have a good enough idea to put their money behind. Don’t be afraid to ask them. The worse they can say is no. They know it is money that they may or may not get back. But they want to support you. And you will work that much harder to not disappoint them. It is also good practice to present to F and F first so you are ready with your business plan when you go to bigger investors.
How can we be better at that?
Pamela Giusto –Sorrells: Practice, practice, practice! Every time you have to negotiate, you learn a little more. Go over in your head what you could have done better. I listen to every conversation around me. How are others negotiating? What seems to work? What are key words or terms that resonate?
Also, know what you want. You might not know how much you want but knowing
what is the least amount you need or will take is sometimes the easiest place to start.
Pam Marcus: Talk with someone who is experienced with negotiations and fundraising and get tips from them. Practice a lot, have confidence, have a really great, concise deck and know your business well, especially financials. Have your numbers ready, a forecast and be able to describe your vision and strategy well.
How did you re-enter the workplace after having left the company you started and then having a child? What challenges did you face?
Christin Powell: I found out I was pregnant with my first child as I was preparing to leave Juice Beauty. It was a difficult transition to leave the company I had spent 6 years building (my first ‘baby’) and to let go, very difficult because I had built my identity around it.
After I had Eden I spent 8 months home with my daughter which was a wonderfully spiritual time but about 4 months into it, I developed terrible post-partum depression. It took a toll on my confidence and on my relationship with what I thought was my work, and I felt very lost and confused. I needed to go back to work so getting a job with Perricone MD was a blessing, although I missed my daughter terribly. It got easier as I slowly built my confidence back and realized that I was learning a whole new side of the business and I could focus on what I was really good at – product development.
Advice to other women who want to get started on a project or new business?
Christin Powell: Talk to as many successful entrepreneurs as you can, do your research on the category and/or market potential before investing any money. Other pieces of advice: Be tenacious, never give up, always reach beyond yourself, never be satisfied with status quo and take risks, every day.
Pamela Giusto-Sorrrells: Aside from knowing your market, research, know your true costs, and how to price your product, etc., the advice I give most often is the most basic…this is not going to be a 9 to 5:00 job. Are you willing to work the hours and schedules that it takes to follow your dream? I know so many people who thought they would have weekends off. Not when it’s your own company with “1” employee!
How important was having mentors/influencers?
Pamela Giusto-Sorrrells: In the beginning I was fortunate to meet men in the natural products industry that wanted to help the “cookie girl”. They had no qualms about teaching me everything they knew when they would not have helped another man. And I was open to listening to everything they had to say, whether I agreed with it or not.
To have someone to brainstorm with, run ideas past, listen to your concerns, help solve problems, be a connection, tell you things that maybe you don’t want to hear is worth its weight in gold. The day I knew I was coming into my own was when I went against some advice on how to handle a situation because I knew it wasn’t the right move for me. That was a huge moment in my growth.
How can women entrepreneurs make a positive impact on creating a sustainable work culture?
Christin Powell: We are purpose driven, we are the change agents of our time, we tend to want to collaborate more and get insight from other thought leaders which makes us make wiser decisions in the long term
As mothers, we care about the community and community is a powerful thing. Innovation and entrepreneurism and the creative drive of our millennial generation is going to drive massive change in politics, planet health, global resources and business.
Pamela Giusto-Sorrrells: Women today have the ability to change the environment by truly understanding that we are capable, intelligent beings who can do all the same jobs as men and should be allowed to without judgement and for the same pay. But that also means realizing we must be able to depend on family and a village of people around us to balance our life. We have to stop being the only ones who feel guilt at leaving a baby behind as we hop a plane, or if we didn’t make dinner. We need to be present when we are there, do what we can when we can, and allow ourselves to be fulfilled by our job as much as we are by our family.
Pam Marcus: When starting your company, take the time to really think about a bigger picture. What is your mission, what are your goals? Do you want to be a sustainable company? What practices are you going to institute to make that happen? Make those deal breakers where you stick with them no matter what. This way you will build a strong foundation and culture and it will also help you make decisions that could otherwise distract you.