Getting to the C-Suite: High Quality Performance Feedback

Getting a good perfomance ratingIt’s a great feeling when your boss says, great job, keep doing what you’re doing, or reading your performance review and getting a glowing review. It feels great, but as women, we often walk away still not knowing what exactly we did well. Raise your hand if that has ever happened to you. You’ve gotten great feedback, a good performance review, but no real sense of what you need to work on to improve or what specific actions you did well. It might read like this:

Sally performed well this performance year. She does a great job of creating quality client deliverables and establishing client relationships. Sally is very supportive of colleagues and provides mentoring and coaching to junior staff. Sally often appears uncomfortable speaking up in executive settings.Quality performance feedback myst be actionable

What?? What specific deliverables are being referenced that Sally created? What kind of client relationships did she establish? Were they peer level relationships or senior level? How is she supportive of colleagues? As you can see, this feedback is not very specific or actionable. It lacks examples, is not direct, and Sally would likely struggle to make any behavioral changes based on these kinds of statements.

If you’ve gotten feedback in line with what Sally received, you are not alone. According to many reports, women are more likely to receive positive feedback, but it is often not specific. Women are more likely to be told that they are doing, but their ratings do not always correlate to the narrative feedback details. They are not receiving quality feedback. And this is especially the case when they are receiving feedback from a male. Additionally, when feedback is critical, it is often more subjective.

Why is quality performance feedback important for women?

It impacts skills development, recruiting and retention
Without quality feedback, women may not develop the skills necessary to move to the next level. They may miss out on promotions or challenging projects that support their continued development. High-tech companies are faced with a lack of gender diversity at senior levels, which can exacerbate issues like recruiting and retention of women even at more junior levels.

It impacts compensation and contributes to the ever widening gender pay gap
Compensation decisions are closely linked to the performance appraisal process. In 2017, women earned 80 cents, on average, for every dollar earned by men. If a woman’s performance rating is subjectively lower than her male counterpart’s, that could result in an even greater pay disparity.

What is quality performance feedback?

1. Direct and development focused – High quality feedback will describe what you need to more of, what you need to do better and why.

2. High quality feedback addresses how you are meeting or not meeting all performance dimensions – inclusive of financial metrics, demonstrating technical expertise, building your brand within and external to your organization and not just communication or soft skills.

3. High quality feedback is specific and tied to outcomes with examples. Any assertions, good or bad, are backed up by evidence and examples. According to HBR, even when men were given feedback criticizing their performance it was specific, which then put the male employees in a better position to grow their skillset or make behavioral changes that positively impacted their chances for promotion.

4. High quality feedback balances individual achievements and team contributions. Women’s achievements are often grouped into a team accomplishment while their individual contributions or successes may not be highlighted.Get feedback more frequently and informally

As a woman, how can you make sure you get the right kind of feedback?

1. When having performance discussions with supervisors and leadership, press them for specifics – both on what you’re doing well and where you can improve. Getting these examples will help you to focus on what behaviors to continue and increase, as well as those behaviors you need to change.

2. Make sure that you engage leadership to get feedback more often that just during the annual performance review. Work to get informal feedback on a more frequent basis. Not only is it easier to just grab your boss for a cup of coffee, he or she may offer more candid coaching and feedback during those informal sessions.

3. Make sure that you talk up your own individual accomplishments with leadership; be specific about what you are leading, designing, or delivering – sending a short email at the end of a particularly successful week doesn’t hurt either. Reminding leadership of your achievements will make it easier for them to document these wins when writing your performance reviews – avoid creating scenarios where they have to “remember” your achievements on their own. And don’t be shy about tooting your own horn, your male colleagues are not shy at all.

Getting the feedback you need to advance your career is not always easy but try out these tips and let us know what changes you see in your evaluations!

Still Making Money Moves: Top Venture Capital Firms Investing in Women Entrepreneurs

Listen up, BossChix! We’ve talked a lot about networks and the importance of having a ‘tribe’. This is even more important if you’re an entrepreneur. Networks bring ideas and innovation to life – including connecting into the necessary investment dollars. In this series we are continuing our conversation around all things entrepreneurship and funding, focusing on the top venture capital (VC) opportunities for female-founded companies in the U.S.

If you haven’t read our first post in the “Make Money Moves” series, Angel Investors vs. VC Funding 101 be sure to check that out.

 

Women In The Venture Capital WorldWomen in the venture captial world

Things are changing, but it’s still a challenging environment for women leading startups and working to translate dreams into dollars with venture capital investments.

All-women businesses received just 2.2% of the $85 billion total invested by venture capitalists (VCs) in 2017, according to data from VC database PitchBook. While that definitely is a small number, the good news is – that percentage is going up.

Speaking of good news – a survey conducted by VC firm, First Round found that of the nearly 600 founders surveyed, those who were part of a team with a female founder performed 63% better than all-male counterparts. And study after study has shown that diverse founding groups financially outperform all-male or all-female teams.

These facts and figures mean there continues to be new opportunities for us to make things happen, but it’s going to take some hustle. So, what do we do?

 

22 Female Friendly Venture Capital Funds You Should Have In Your Network

While the list below is not all encompassing – you can see there are a number of firms out there that focus on supporting women through venture capital (VC). Some of them have a diverse investment team, some are founded themselves by women, some make a concentrated effort to diversify their investment portfolio with a focus on supporting women-led initiatives, and some only give VC funding to female-led teams.

Below are investors who have most actively funded companies with at least one female founder. The list includes a mix of Silicon Valley titans and smaller funds specifically focused on women-led businesses.

  • New Enterprise Associates
  • NEA is a global venture capital firm investing in technology and healthcare across all stages of a company’s growth.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Framebridge, Houzz

 

  • Golden Seeds
  • This is one of the nation’s largest, most active early-stage investment firms that focus on women leaders. They’ve already invested more than $100 million in nearly 150 exciting women-led enterprises.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Bentobox, Lark, Kango

 

  • Right Side Capital Management
  • RSCM is a technology startup investment firm focused exclusively on the pre-seed stage with U.S. and Canadian companies.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Alice’s Table, Solstice

 

  • First Round Capital
  • First Round focuses on being the world’s best partner for founders at the very first stages of company creation. They’ve also launched a private, internal community for the women across First Round companies called +Women. It’s advertised as a place for over 730 women to connect and learn from each other. In May 2017, they had an event for 150 women at First Round companies where everything from negotiating compensation to building inclusive teams was discussed in depth.
  • 20% of the new investments made by First Round in 2017 had either at least one female or under-represented minority founder.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Birchbox, Ringly, Wanelo

 

  • GV
  • GV (launched as Google Ventures) is the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc. and provides venture capital funding to bold new companies in the fields of life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cyber security and agriculture.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: 23andMe, theSkimm

 

  • Lerer Hippeau
  • This is an early-stage venture capital fund based in New York City. They seek entrepreneurs with product vision, consumer insight, focused execution, and unwavering ambition.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Glossier, BaubleBar

 

  • Canaan Partners
    Canaan is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in visionaries with transformative ideas.Venture Capital firms have been a game-changer for women owned businesses
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: JOOR, UrbanSitter, TheRealReal

 

  • Greycroft
  • This is a large female-founded firm focused on venture capital and technology investments.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: ELOQUII, theSkimm

 

  • BBG Ventures
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Rocksbox, ZOLA, LOLA
  • This is an early-stage fund focused on consumer internet and mobile startups with at least one female founder. According to their website, women are the dominant users of the fastest-growing mobile and social platforms, and they make or influence 85% of consumer purchases. BBG believes the greatest untapped opportunity for VC lies in backing women who are using technology to address common life-challenges and transform daily habits.

 

  • Investors’ Circle-Social Venture Network
  • IC-SVN has 57 years of combined experience leading the way in the field of social impact. They were established as one of the earliest and most influential peer networks, helping to grow some of the most successful social enterprises in history (Ben & Jerry’s, The Body Shop, KIND). 35% of companies that have received funding from IC-SVN since 2012 are women-led.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Kickboard, Medolac

 

  • Female Founders Fund
  • An early-stage fund investing in talented female founders with disruptive and innovative ideas that better serve their consumer.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: ZOLA, billie, Winky Lux

 

  • Andreessen Horowitz
  • This is a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, California that backs bold entrepreneurs building the future through technology. They invest in seed to late-stage companies, and both consumer and enterprise technology companies.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: bebop, BioAge, Ringly

 

  • Great Oaks Venture Capital
  • Great Oaks is among the most active seed investors in New York. They partner with talented, focused founders building enduring businesses across consumer, enterprise and healthcare.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Houzz, Away, TULA

 

  • Index Ventures
  • Index Ventures is a London and San Francisco-based international venture capital firm that helps the most ambitious entrepreneurs turn bold ideas into a reality.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Glossier, Moleskin, Net-a-Porter

 

  • General Catalyst Partners
  • GC is a venture capital firm that makes early-stage and transformational investments.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: The Honest Co., Outdoor Voices

 

  • Valor Ventures
  • Headquartered in Atlanta – which ranks in the top three metropolitan areas for growth in the number of women-owned businesses – this is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in software companies headquartered outside of Silicon Valley growing at >25%.
  • Valor’s Startup Runway Foundation earns first looks at the top 10% of minority and women founders in the Southeast. Startup Runway is the largest pitch event for women and minority founders in the region.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Smart Commerce, Funding U

 

  • The Women’s Venture Capital Fund
  • WomensVCFund capitalizes on the expanding pipeline of women entrepreneurs leading gender diverse teams and creating capital efficient, high growth companies in digital media and sustainable products and services.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Vow to be Chic, HopSkipDrive

 

  • Forerunner Ventures
  • This is an early stage venture capital firm dedicated to investing in ambitious entrepreneurs to define and dominate a new generation of commerce.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Away, Draper James, Ritual

 

  • Aspect Ventures
  • Aspect helps bridge the gap between seed and later stage venture.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: TheRealReal, UrbanSitter, BaubleBar

 

  • Halogen Ventures
  • Halogen Ventures is an early stage venture capital fund focused on female founded consumer technologies.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: theSkimm, Sugarfina

 

  • Cowboy Ventures
  • Cowboy Ventures helps seed-stage technology companies grow. They’re looking to back exceptional founders who are building products that re-imagine work and personal life in large and growing markets. They are a community of founders, team members and advisors that supports each other to share lessons learned and build products that millions of customers love to use.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Milk Stork, The Town Kitchen

 

  • Urban Innovation Fund
  • A venture capital firm that provides seed capital and regulatory support to entrepreneurs shaping the future of cities – helping them grow into tomorrow’s most valued companies.
  • Female-founded companies in their portfolio you might have heard of: Brit+Co, Brandless

What's next for women in venture capital

 

What’s Next For Women In Venture Capital?

The Diana Project, a recent report from Babson College, found that venture capital firms with women on their team are more than twice as likely to fund a management team with women. This means we need to keep pushing ahead and helping each other over the threshold.

In the current male-dominated venture capital world, women’s lack of industry ties and networks tends to put us at a disadvantage – that’s no secret to us, as women we are always acutely aware of what we identify as our shortcomings – but don’t let that be your business story. Get your ideas and what you’re passionate about out there, make connections, be confident and don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it – because we’re BossChix!

 

 

Make Money Moves: Angel Investors vs. VC Funding 101

Okay, BossChix time to get some facts about entrepreneurship and funding. If you’re like many aspiring women entrepreneurs, you have a great idea or product but you may be less knowledgeable about the funding necessary to get your product to the mark. You may have some start-up funding, but as your business grows you will likely need additional money to take your business to the next level. You’re in the right place – let’s learn a few things about angel investor vs. venture capitalist or VC funding.

Angels versus venture capitalists: who is better for your business and why would you choose one over the other? According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, women-owned businesses generate $1.7 trillion in sales! (Yes, trillion with a T.)

BossChixNetwork Angel Investors and VC Funding 101

With female entrepreneurs seeking funding more than ever before — in fact, a whopping 59% of them — it’s critical to learn more about funding options. Since 31% of women who do seek funding are successful, it’s clear that women are increasingly dominating the entrepreneurial world — and there is still room to grow.

Now, let’s dive into the different types of funding that entrepreneurs may seek.

Angel Investor Funding

Angel investors typically get involved in the early stages of a company. Typically, an entrepreneur would be looking for an angel investor before they release their final product or service. With this funding, it occurs before the company goes to market. The check size is typically under $1 million, with the average investment being between $25,000-$100,000. This level of investment is perfect for a brand new company that needs extra capital to get to market and finish development.

Angel investors are typically individuals that are looking to invest in people that they know — or ideas that they’re passionate about on a personal level. They have different responsibilities than their counterparts. Angels only offer financial support — not operational support — unless otherwise specified. Angels also perform a lot less due diligence on the company and entrepreneur, as they are just individuals with a lot less manpower and money.

businesses seeking next level funding

Venture Capitalists (VC Funding)

Ordinarily speaking, venture capitalists invest later in the company’s life. The company generally has to have been around for a couple of years and have significant customers in order to garner a VC investment. Venture capitalists invest a much higher amount in companies, as VCs are backed by a group of professional investors.

The average investment for venture capitalists is about $7 million, which is significantly higher than the amount that angel investors invest. This increase in capital also demands a lot more credibility; entrepreneurs need to prove that their company is worth the investment and that their company can provide the ROI that VCs are looking for. In general, VC funding is not part of initial or start up funding for a company. VC funding is used to take your business to the next level.

Venture capitalists have many more responsibilities in the businesses in which they invest. They provide networking, executive staffing, and they help with the company’s strategic vision. Venture capitalists also perform much more due diligence than angel investors. They typically spend up to $50,000 just to vet and understand an entrepreneur and their company, due to the fact they have responsibilities to their investment partners.

Let’s go over a couple of examples. Say you are opening a bakery shop and need some extra financing; neither of these options are for you. Angels and VCs are looking to invest in high-growth companies that can offer significant returns over a 5 year period. In this example, you would want to go to a bank, credit union or the SBA (Small Business Association) to get a small business loan. This will make sure you have the finances to get up and running, but make sure your business plan is amazing!

Angel Investors Helped Jeff Bezos’ Amazon

Jeff Bezos was able to secure $30,000 from 20 different investors way back in 1995 as an angel investment in Amazon, which helped him scale up the company. Then in 1996, Bezos was able to acquire $8 million in VC funding from Kleiner Perkins. This example shows that a company typically acquires angel funding before VC funding, and that the amount from angel investors is much less than VC funding.

Tips for funding your bizThe Skimm Secured $28 Million in VC Funding

Prolific female-centric newsletter The Skimm has grown to over 7 million subscribers, and they’ve raised $28 million in VC funding in the process. Cofounders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin lead the charge, most recently pursuing Google Ventures as a significant funding source. And while the future of The Skimm’s product expansions are unclear, what is clear is that their story supports the paradigm for VC funding: build a great product with active customers, then seek financing to help it grow.

So, what is the best option for your company? It all depends on your company and situation. Go to your local SBA office. — or find a mentor in your local entrepreneurship community — to help guide you through the process.

Franchise Ownership: Some Tips to Get You Started

Chick-Fil-A Franchise Owner, Ashley Lamothe

Franchise ownership is a popular growing opportunity for young women to accomplish their dreams through entrepreneurship. Many franchisors acknowledge that women acquire the necessary leadership skills to operate a thriving, successful franchise business. Within the past decade, the number of female franchise owners has doubled. Women franchisers seek to pursue their passion, provide flexible work-life balance, and establish financial security by owning a franchise business.

Pursuit of Passion

Franchise ownership becomes more appealing as more women come to realize that the corporate world today is afflicted by dominant male culture, unwelcome lay-offs, and passed over promotions. Women are natural risk-seekers while exhibiting above and beyond the usual minimum standards. Yet young women are discovering that there is no gender inequality by seeking to pursue their passions and become their own boss.  Strong leadership skills guide women to break through the glass ceiling in the corporate sector to grow and network their dreams of entrepreneurship.

Financial Security and Independence

Ashley Lamothe is one of the youngest Chick-fil-A franchise owners at just 26 years old. She started working at a Chick-fil-A franchise at 15 years old in Atlanta, Georgia to earn money to purchase her own car. Lamothe went on to attend Spelman College where she served as a team leadership director at the local Chick-fil-A near her campus. Through hard work and balance, she became a female franchise Chick-fil-A owner at 26.  The hardest challenge Lamothe faced was to recruit, hire, and retain employees. She is now responsible for 85 team members who keep her motivated to dream big.

Another young female entrepreneur at just 28 years old is Jade Colin from New Orleans who changed history by becoming the youngest black McDonald's Franchise owner, Jade Colinwoman ever to own a McDonald’s franchise. After years of earning promotions and awards as a McDonald’s employee during college, she purchased her own franchise. Colin firmly believes in community service and giving back where she can. She encourages and mentors her employees to finish high school and pursue financial independence through entrepreneurship.

Maximize Flexibility and Control

A solid franchise business provides the chance at the kind of work-life flexibility and financial security that is often difficult as a corporate employee. For these reasons in the last few years, an increasing number of women are investing in new or existing franchise opportunities. Women that are willing to donate time and energy to their businesses can achieve financial stability through a partnership with a leading franchisor. Many are attracted to these types of businesses because they control the direction of their business. Also, women can maintain personal flexibility within all aspects of their life at the same time.

Choose an Established Franchise Brand

One area that female franchises can benefit the most is the use of an established national brand name. Not only are you investing in a secure brand, but you reduce the potential new business risk by taking on the brand name known nationally and regionally.

Although it can take years to build a reputable brand name, a franchise owner can bypass that time and start a successful business without having to build a reputation. A female franchise owner instantly has a valued customer base that starts driving sales immediately. Often there is no need for additional marketing techniques because the brand speaks for itself.

High Level Tips to ConsiderHelpful tips to get you started

Many women agree that starting your own business as a franchise owner can be a challenge. Consider these high-level tips to ease the process and become a woman entrepreneur.

• Monetary Operational Investment

A franchise is a brand license that gives you the right to products, services, logos, and other business perks. In return, the franchisee pays an upfront franchise fee, monthly marketing fee, and royalty fees. Contacting a financial institution enables a young entrepreneur the financial reserve for the total amount of capital needed for operational expenses.

• Franchise Disclosure Document

An FDD is a legal document that provides the new owner with information about the franchise. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides additional information and advice in greater detail concerning the franchise agreement.

• Eliminate Competition

Create a powerful strategic planning technique called SWOT analysis identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and eliminate threats to rise above the competition.

• Implement Training Programs

The success of your franchise business directly relates to the quality of your employees’ behavior, attitude, and customer service. Franchise owners like Jade Colin and Ashley Lamonthe empower employees by instilling brand knowledge, trust, and encouragement to exemplify confidence in their employees.

• Talk to Other Owners

Current franchise owners can provide you with vital information and advice to get you started as a new owner. Make connections and speak with several business owners about the daily operations of the business to ensure a smooth start-up plan.

 

BossChixNetwork & Entrepreneurship

Why is Entrepreneurship Important for Young Women?

Ultimately, an increasing number of new women franchise owners are on the rise. Women continue to apply and deliver dedicated time, energy, and perseverance as an exemplary franchise owner. Support programs teach new female entrepreneurs’ strategies to access high-quality credit sources to build strong franchises. Business mentorships encourage women to develop strong skills in a competitive marketplace to strengthen the global economy and local business world. Undoubtedly, young female entrepreneurs are taking franchising to new heights and enjoying the benefits of business ownership. BossChix: Build your empire today and purchase a franchise.

The Inspired Hustle: 5 More TED Talks Every Professional Woman Should Watch

With constant focus on metrics and deadlines, it’s all too easy to get bogged down in the drudgery of work, but you can find inspiration from people who use their work to be role models, push for equity and innovation, and make the world a better place. Every day brings more need for people with hope and vision, so as a followup to my TED Talk  round up about upgrading your hustle, I’ve gathered five of the most inspiring TED Talks by remarkable women. These TED Talks are like having coffee with a life coach who’s pushing you to do the hard things because you know it will be worth it. I promise that after watching these, you’ll approach work and life, with a new mindset, and maybe even be inspired to take the first steps to creating the change that only you can make.

  1. Serena Williams — On tennis, love, and motherhood

If you’ve ever made an accidental social media post, received insulting comments, been disappointed in your body, or wondered how to balance relationships and career,

this is the TED Talk for you. As much as Serena Williams appears to be a real-life Wonder Woman, she shares in this interview how she’s done or experienced every single one of those things—and how she’s dealt with them. She talks about the pressure she’s under to win every match she plays, and how she keeps her famous aversion to losing from damaging her relationship with her sister and tennis competitor, Venus. She also explains her appreciation for her body helping her reach remarkable goals, and now that she’s pregnant (announced to the world in an accidental SnapChat post!), how she’s planning the new part of her life with a “baby in the stands”. Watch this TED Talk for inspiration to reach for even higher goals.

2. Luvvie Ajayi — Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Luvvie Ajayi is a “professional troublemaker,” and she wants us to do better. In a world that wants us to whisper, she chooses to yell—and she shares three questions to ask yourself as your own guide for speaking up: 1) Do you mean it? 2) Can you defend it? 3) Will you say it with love? If you can answer all three with a yes, then say it and let the chips fall where they may. You might become the first domino, the one that inspires countless others to take action. If you have something to say, but have been staying quiet to keep the peace, this TED Talk will give you the courage to speak up.

3.  Amy Edmondson — How to turn a group of strangers into a team

Will you ever be on a team where there’s at least one person you don’t know? If the answer is yes (and it definitely is), then this TED Talk is worth a watch. If an NBA game is played with teams, a pickup game in the park is played with teaming: teamwork on the fly. Amy Edmondson uses the example of the 2010 Chilean mining accident to illustrate how different people, industries, and even countries can join together for work that is complex and unpredictable, and maybe even impossible were it not for teaming. Of course, anytime people are thrown together there’s potential for professional culture clash, and Amy’s advice for making sure teaming goes well is all about staying humble; after all, it’s hard to learn if you already know.

 

4. Rocío Lorenzo — How diversity makes teams more innovative

Rocío Lorenzo thought diversity was not something she’d have to worry about—education was becoming more equitable, so surely diversity in leadership positions would happen naturally, right? Well, as you probably know, that’s not what happened. So Rocío dug into the data to see what diversity really means for companies. It’s obviously the right thing to do, but does it give a company a competitive advantage? The answer was a resounding yes; only when women make up a critical mass in leadership are companies consistently more successfully innovative. If your company could benefit from more creative ideas (and what company wouldn’t?), this TED Talk gives you both the inspiration to push for diversity and the hard data to back it up as a strategic business priority.

5.  Dame Stephanie Shirley — Why do ambitious women have flat heads?

Starting with her escape from Nazi Europe, to her remarkable success in the male-dominated tech industry of the 1960s, to her current philanthropic work, Dame Stephanie Shirley’s TED Talk is a 13 minute tour de force of inspiration to make things happen. She saw the immense potential of allowing women to work from home, and created Freelance Programmers, a company by women for women. Stephanie signed her business development letters “Steve” just to get in the door, and the company thrived, even working on the programming for the Concorde’s black box flight recorder—all with women working from home, communicating with each other by telephone. This is a must-watch TED Talk that will inspire you to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and create something great.

If you’re as inspired as I was by these TED Talks, go ahead and share this article with your network (couldn’t everyone use a little more inspiration lately?) and let me know what these talks have inspired you to do by tagging @bosschixnetwork!