This week on Ask Me Anything we were joined by Danielle Tate, founder of Elegant Entrepreneur and author of the book by the same name. We had some excellent questions posed this week on the event and Danielle shared her thoughtful insights on the industry. Happy reading! Make sure you stay up to date on all upcoming AMA's by following us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/s3angels/
Q) What do you look for in a founding team?
A) I don't have a "magic" formula for founding teams, but I do always look for partners that have skill sets that I lack... so by teaming up we are a fully operational battleship. It is also critical to find team members who share the same definition of personal and company success. If you are mis-aligned on your definitions you need to keep looking. Also, look outside your immediate circle of friends and family for partners. CoFoundersLab is a great tool to help you find team members based on skill, location, and shared values.
Q) If you have a successful and proven MVP [Minimum Viable Product], what are the next steps?
A) First off, congratulations on creating and proving your MVP! That's huge!!! I have two next steps that can be done simultaneously depending on the nature of your MVP. First, monetize your MVP so you can customer-fund your company's growth. Second, have intimate communication with your customers/users to pinpoint exactly what iteration they want and will pay for... BEFORE you build it.
Q) I find I always have tons of new ideas. How do you know which ones are worth pursuing and which ones are just going to suck your time? Do you have a method for evaluating opportunities?
Also, if you want to speak to other founders, like you are here, where is the best place to find those opportunities?
A) great questions! I keep a Google document of all of my ideas and have separate tabs for ideas that benefit my current business, new business ideas, and way out there ideas. I use the lens of profitability and level of difficulty to prioritize ideas. So, if I am evaluating 25 ideas, I will zero in on the one that will make the most financial impact with the least amount of resources (time, money, connections, technology, etc.) [Side note: Check out Danielle’s Innovation Gauntlet!]
Talking to other founders is essential to your happiness as an entrepreneur and the success of your startup. I go to women entrepreneur networking events, conferences, and summits to find other founders. You can also join online communities based on your area of business and/or location. I get a great deal of value out of the Facebook Group #MsTech
Q) I loved your book " Elegant Entrepreneur" and what I liked most about it, is the way you manage to empower women in developing nations to take the plunge to start their own business. I wonder, what is the number one advice you would give women who are a bit scared to take the plunge?
A) So glad you enjoyed my book! My best answer to your question is for women to "map" their way to success. Leaping into entrepreneurship without doing market research and understanding where your income will come from is incredibly scary. Having a plan in place makes it more comfortable.
Understanding the risk to reward ratio of becoming an entrepreneur can also make the transition smoother. Knowing that "you are in charge of you," "you write your own paycheck," and "you set your own work hours" can be the motivation that gets women to go from idea to actual company.