There’s Never Been a Better Time for Female Tech Entrepreneurs


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not many others wanted – the ones that involved fixing a broken business, or taking a plateaued business and growing it. It was a challenging job, but it got me noticed, and set me on the fast track to becoming a high-ranking executive.

My point is that in a sea of aspiring and hungry entrepreneurs, you need to be able to differentiate yourself. Sometimes, it could mean demonstrating that you know your market, your prospects, and their needs better than anyone else, or responding to customers quickly. Other times, it could mean getting out of your comfort zone and taking bold but calculated risks. All these things will help you stand out.

Lead with Confidence

It’s a well-known fact that compared to men, women generally underestimate their abilities, opinions, decisions, and expertise. However, if you’re an entrepreneur, you need to lead with confidence. How do you build your confidence? First, find an area in technology or business that you’re passionate about. Your confidence will shine though when you’re doing something that you love.

Second, read and observe as much as you can about your market, the pertinent technologies, and the landscape, so that when you’re talking to customers or investors, your expertise and knowledge comes through.

Third, don’t get discouraged by failures. Get up, dust yourself off, learn what you can from the situation, and then move on.

Fourth, act confidently even though you might not feel like it sometimes. Walk into a room like you belong there. Make eye contact. Offer a firm handshake. Know your capabilities and strengths, and don’t be afraid to put them out there. Remember that confidence inspires people.

Leverage the Right Tools

There are tons of tools out there that can help you become a successful entrepreneur. Sites like LinkedIn and Women 2.0 offer great ways to network with peers and influencers in the tech industry. Google Alerts helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the market. And CrunchBase helps you follow what other startups are doing and where investors are putting their money.

I also firmly believe in the importance of mentors who can not only advise and guide you, but also back up your credentials, and put you in touch with the right people. When I started out in my career, I would just “adopt” mentors by going up to them and asking their opinion about a specific challenge or idea. Later, I would make sure to go back and let them know how things turned out. And inevitably, they were happy because their advice had had a positive impact – which, in turn, made them more willing to help me again. So, find mentors and don’t forget to be a mentor yourself to someone who needs it.

The Bottom Line

There is a global talent shortage, specifically a leadership talent shortage. ManpowerGroup’s annual Talent Shortage Survey found that among U.S. employers, 48 percent acknowledge that talent shortages have a medium to high impact on their business, but few are putting talent strategies in place to address the problem. An alarming one in five U.S. employers is still not pursuing strategies to overcome talent shortages, despite the negative impact on their business, which include: reduced competitiveness and productivity (41 percent); increased employee turnover (32 percent); higher compensation costs (32 percent), and reduced employee engagement/morale (32 percent).

The global economy of the future requires the kind of skills that women embody, including the ability to empathize, to build strong relationships, to foster trust, to multi-task, to support each other, to be problem-solvers, to come up with creative ideas, and to be strong leaders. These are the qualities that will see an increasing number of women bloom into successful entrepreneurs in this year and beyond. Today, women entrepreneurs are leading some of the most successful tech companies, like Amy Pressman, president of Medallia, a true unicorn. They are building and advancing some of the most exciting technologies, such as Lisa Dyson, CEO of Kiverdi. The time is right, ladies. Let’s seize the opportunity.

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Shellye Archambeau is CEO of MetricStream, a Palo Alto, CA-based company offering governance, risk, compliance, and quality management solutions to enterprises in the pharmaceutical, medical device, high tech manufacturing, energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, food and beverage, and automotive industries. Follow @metricstream

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