Women of Silicon Beach

By Julie MacMedan, Vice President of Investor Relations, Demand Media, Inc.
Broads Circle Premier Member and President of Executive Broads group

Silicon BeachFrom the LA Times to SoCalTech.com to the Wall Street Journal, LA’s vibrant entrepreneurial scene – branded “Silicon Beach” – is making headlines.  And for good reason: AngelList, a community of startups, lists 1400 startups and 1300 investors in LA and that’s just a subset of the total number. Represent.la shows a map of more than 600 startups, 15 accelerators, 28 incubators and 47 investors. It’s no wonder that we are seeing articles on Forbes.com titled “Why Los Angeles Will Outpace Silicon Valley As The Tech Startup Capital.”

Standing out among the success stories of Silicon Beach are several women entrepreneurs who will be featured on our May 22nd Panel: “Women of Silicon Beach”:

Deborah Benton, President and COO of Nasty Gal, an online new & vintage clothing website recently recognized as 2012’s fastest-growing retail company according to Inc. 5000. Inc. 5000 also recognized Nasty Gal as the fastest growing company in Los Angeles, mainly due to its tremendous 10,000% growth from 2008 – 2012.

Susan Feldman, Co-Founder/Chief Merchandising Officer of One Kings Lane who brings her passion “for all things home” to the leading online marketplace for the home, where consumers can find exceptional value on an extensive collection of top-brand, vintage, and designer items. Feldman and her partner Alison Pincus launched the business in early 2009, and have experienced explosive growth, with revenues on track to hit $200M, doubling revenue from 2011.

Courtney Nichols Gould, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of SmartyPants Vitamins who has built an Internet brand from the ground up to market and distribute healthy gummy vitamins.  Previously, Courtney was the founding COO of Clear, the fast pass for airport security.

Therese Tucker, CEO and founder of BlackLine Systems, formerly CTO of Sungard Treasury Systems, who has successfully grown her company into a multi-national SaaS provider that has achieved numerous awards for growth and innovation, most recently recognized by Software Magazine for the second year in a row as one of the largest and ‘best performing’ software and service providers in the world.

Each of these amazing women underscore the powerful role that women are playing in LA’s startup scene.

Our May 22nd Broads Circle program will feature these exciting women on a panel geared towards how they translated their vision to get their companies off the ground and expand on their initial success, and how they approached capital raising to finance their various stages of growth.  How did they balance the desire to maintain significant ownership with the need for capital?  Did they need to leave LA to secure financing and if so, is that trend shifting as LA builds a stronger startup ecosystem?

We look forward to hearing from this impressive group of women entrepreneurs in May. Look for your invitation to arrive in early 2013!

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Smart Women And The Art of Self-Promotion

Joy ChudacoffBy Joy Chudacoff, ICF, PCC
Success Coach and Mentor to Women Entrepreneurs
Founder, Smart Women Smart Solutions®  and Advisory Board Member, Broads Circle

One of the questions I’m frequently asked by women entrepreneurs is, “When I meet someone who is a potential referral source and/or ideal client, how do I mention my business without feeling pushy?” Great question! Being able to communicate your marketing message with confidence is key to attracting more clients, increasing your income and becoming known for your expertise.

The idea of “self-promotion” or “selling” leaves some women feeling like they are bragging, being pushy or not considerate of others. It can create anxiety and fear which in turn keeps you stuck and unable to reach your business goals. Women are nurturers by nature and the thought of putting their needs in front of someone else’s may feel unnatural.

I understand the feeling (I’ve experienced it too), however if you are determined to achieve your business goals, it’s essential you communicate your message about what you have to offer and how you help people. Do so often and to as many people as possible (otherwise, you will remain the best kept secret in town which in this case, won’t serve you). People are super busy and can’t read your mind so it’s up to you to take on the responsibility of creating interest in how you support people with your product or service.   When I have an opportunity to share how I support women entrepreneurs, I use the R&R approach (Relationship + Results). It feels both authentic and comfortable for me and I think it will for you, too.   Continue reading

Smart Women Have a Marketing Mantra

by Joy Chudacoff
Broads Circle Advisory Board Member

Joy ChudacoffI recently attended a conference for women business owners and ran into a woman I had not seen for some time.  She looked a little unhappy when I approached her.  I asked her if everything was going well and she shared with me that she had just lost a big client.  In fact, this big client was more than 50% of her business.  Wow!  I’d be upset too.  She was in the process of figuring out what to do next to rebuild her business back to a successful place.  As we talked, I started thinking about the “golden” rule in business for Smart Women:  Always have a marketing “mantra.”

Marketing “mantra?”  What the heck is that?  Let me share a quick scenario that will bring it home for you.  You know that the only way to grow your business is to get your message about what you do out to your ideal clients– right?  The “message” is the “mantra” that you want to communicate over and over again about the benefits your product or service provides to the customer.  You may do this in several ways (I highly recommend more than one!).  You can have a website, use social media, attend conferences, speaking, etc.  Once your “mantra” reaches your idea client (and if your “mantra” is effective), you will then be rewarded with new business.  What’s the first thing you typically stop doing when you get a few great clients and get involved with providing great service?  You stop your marketing “mantra.”

I’ve seen this so many times and I’ve been guilty of allowing this to happen in my own business.  You get so excited about the new clients and doing the work that you love with them, you forget all about keeping the marketing “mantra” going to attract new ideal clients.  This common mistake will prevent your business from going to the next level of success.

I invite you to set up a system in your business to have a continuous, regularly scheduled marketing “mantra.”  The key is to create a plan and make it happen.  This is where having a team of support for help and delegation is essential.  I will share with you that when I got clear and focused on this part of my business, real growth began to happen.  I set up a system that allowed me to communicate with my ideal client and provide excellent service to my existing clients at the same time.

Here are a few tips and solutions to help you get your marketing “mantra” up and running smoothly:

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Smart Women and a Bird in the Hand

Featured article from Joy Chudacoff, Broads Circle Advisory Board Member

Joy ChudacoffOne question that I hear frequently from the women I support is “How do I find and attract more new clients?”    After all, new clients are necessary for your business to survive and thrive.  The good news is “new” clients are closer than you think.  What do I mean?  Have you ever heard the old phrase, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?”

I’m referring to your current clients–the people who have said “yes” to working with you and who believe in the service that you are providing.  Your current clients typically have connections to people who may need your product or service.  They have worked with you personally and can share their experience with others.  The key is ensuring that the “experience” your current clients are having with you is a positive one so that they will feel comfortable sending you referrals.

My business is over 90% referral based.  Most of the women who come to me are referred by women who have worked with me either individually or in one of my Women’s Success Circles.  These women feel comfortable sending me their friends and colleagues because they know first-hand what the experience is like.

I’m going to share some tips and solutions that I’ve used over the years to build my business into a referral based business.   You may read each one and say to yourself, “I already knew that.”  The question is “You may know it, but are you practicing it in your business with each and every client you come in contact with?”  These are easy, simple steps you can take that will make a huge difference in the growth of your business.

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