There are many small, women-owned businesses in North Texas that have great ideas. They just need someone to listen to them and help them fund their dreams. Now Texas is stepping in to help. The Beacon State Fund, in partnership with the Governor’s Commission for Women, is hosting a cash prize competition for women entrepreneurs that will award $ 7,500 to each of five winners across Texas, with live presentations presented to judges via a regional webinar.
$ 7,500 might not be a huge fundraising windfall, but it can make a big difference to many small businesses. Ashlee Hunt Kleinert, who was appointed to the committee last year, says there is a lesson to be learned. The point is not to win once and be done, but to always keep throwing and striving, taking advantage of every opportunity you find.
“The Governor’s Commission website is a resource which, in my opinion, is not being used”, she told WFAA in an interview. “It covers everything: if you need a license for your business, if you need a loan, there are angel investors who will invest in the businesses. If you need help with any type of certification, employment, training. Everything you would need is on this website.
Kleinert is an entrepreneur herself: she owns Ruthie’s Rolling Café and Baldo’s Ice Cream and Coffee, a stylish attraction near SMU. She is also active on many boards that are good for the company and making a difference, so she knows an opportunity when she sees one.
The pitch competition
The Women-Owned Small Business Entry Contest is open to all businesses that meet the following criteria:
- Your business is owned, controlled, operated and managed at least 51% by one or more women.
- Your business had sales of $ 1,000,000 or less in 2020.
- Your company employed 15 people or less in 2020.
- Your business must be registered in the state of Texas and must have been in operation for more than 12 months.
The deadline to submit a pitch in North Texas is September 1. Finalists will be selected and notified more than a week prior to the regional webinar event. They will be invited to present a live pitch to the judges on the day of the webinar.
Kleinert’s tip: “Solve a problem”
Kleinert has made a presentation or two in his time and has some great advice.
“One way to stand out [is] if you’re making a speech about solving a problem, like the root of a problem, ”she told the WFAA. “We have a lot of ideas about the end of the stream. But if you solve a problem, what is the root of the problem? “
She also warns not to get bogged down in details.
“If you get stuck in thoroughness or wander around in your speech, it’s hard to follow,” she explained in the interview. “You might know what you’re saying, but it’s hard for others to understand. “
To help you perfect your pitching style, Kleinert says to see how others do it best. She is a big fan of TED Conferences.
“I love the TED app, like the TED Talks, because there are so many authors and speakers, and you might not have time to read a whole book. I think this is a great, underutilized resource that is also free.
She also recommends the Side Hustle Podcast for small business owners.
Above all? “Train, train, train,” she told the WFAA. “Listen to criticize and film yourself several times. “
Customer service and finding good employees
More Tips for Small Business Owners: “The customer service is huge,” Kleinert said. “For us, we are in the service industry, so our relationship with our customers has been essential during the pandemic.”
It can depend on how your employees relate to customers. Hiring has been difficult for many business owners lately, so Kleinert’s idea of “passion” may give you an edge.
“I hire passion rather than pedigree,” she said. “If the person has the right cultural fit. I can teach you how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, we can teach you how to make a scoop of ice cream. We have to have the right people on the bus and find seats for them later, ”Kleinert explained.
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