As the founder and CEO of 6sense, Amanda Kahlow knows a thing or two about building a business. Leading a predictive intelligence company for sales, she’s working at the cutting edge of data science and modern marketing. Yet, her business savvy is grounded, honest and empathetic. From her entrepreneurial wisdom, here are five valuable lessons:
5 Business Building Lessons for Female Entrepreneurs
1. Be Your Authentic Self
It’s not always easy being a female founder in a male-dominated industry. “I was trying to conform to the idea of being in the tech-world”, recalls Kahlow. She dressed and acted in ways that she believed made her appear strong within that community. Thankfully, with thoughtful guidance from other women in the field, she returned to her own style and her own approach. “I can still be me,” she notes. A woman can still be a strong leader and direct with employees in the office, even with yoga pants and pink nail polish.
2. Don’t Let the No’s Get You Down
“I got a lot of no’s. I got no’s for almost a year,” recalls Kahlow in her efforts to get venture capital funding. Her presentations received a lot of initial enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that energy did not turn into investment in 6sense. While the no’s were frustrating, she didn’t see them as a deterrent, but as a guide. In order to get all partners over the line, she needed to hear the no’s, find out why, and be persistent.
3. Build a Solid Team
Kahlow realized with all those no’s that she had a great concept but the package wasn’t complete. She reflects, “I was missing my strong group of developers.” VC investors can see over 5,000 teams in a year. If your company is going to get their dollars, you need to stand out and have solid support behind your idea. Some firm members may love your idea but in order to get the whole group to invest, you need a solid development team they can trust to turn your idea into reality.
4. Manifest it
“The concept of manifestation for me is believing in positive intention before it’s there.” Kahlow is a strong believer in envisioning your goal as a reality. In that mind space, the complicated or distant future becomes more attainable. She advises to “believe you have it before it’s there.” It’s a form of the biz mantra fake-it-til-you-make-it, but with a more engaged, thoughtful and personal investment.
5. Always Give Back
Corporate success is a priority, but it’s not done in isolation. Looking at the wider world and taking responsibility to improve it is a key part of Kahlow’s business model. She declares, “giving feels so freaking good, it’s way better than accomplishing.” In her own work, she is an advisor to Girl Rising, an organization committed to educate and empower girls in developing countries to break the cycle of poverty.
To hear more, watch her engaging advice in this talk at Data Driven Women.
To hear it in person, join the Sailing and Scaling Women CEO Cruise this December. Learn about building your business from Amanda Kahlow first-hand as she will be participating as an invited speaker.