To help women reach their full potential, marie claire partnered with business-education company Tech Ready Women for a two day masterclass. Below, Mon Purse founder Lana Hopkins, who has an exciting new venture in the works (stay tuned!) shares her advice on how to launch your very own start-up, as well as the three key personality traits a successful start-up founder should possess.
What's the one piece of advice you would pass onto women thinking about launching a start-up?
Be clear about the problem you are solving; know your venture's purpose and stay true to that. This will allow you to ensure that you build a team of people who are genuinely aligned with what the core purpose is. Remember the beginning defines the end.
What's been the biggest learning on your business path journey so far?
Ensuring that all of your stakeholders and partners share the same vision and purpose as you do. While it is essential and necessary to remain nimble and adapt to change, your core values have to be aligned from the start. This relates to how you recruit key stakeholders.
Your mission, values and vision are not going to suit everyone and that's OK. This process allows you to establish the right team for your startup, agree on and set clear goals; then ensure all stakeholders (including you) are accountable for their key areas of responsibility.
It is imperative to do your due diligence on all stakeholders (both executive and non executive). Further to that seek sound legal advice when executing any legal agreements; the investment is well worth it.
When hiring seasoned executives, write their job descriptions and hold them accountable, just like any other hire. It is not about micromanagement, rather it is about establishing clear expectations from the start.
Additionally, never stop developing yourself by identifying areas of improvement; and always have an advisor/advisors whose experience and advice you can draw on.
Finally, it is important to ask for help when you need it. The main thing to remember is that no one is good at everything, that's what teams are for.
If you could go back in time what would you do differently?
I am proud of the team and community we built at Mon Purse. We consistently attracted talented, likeminded people and were incredibly fortunate to have some of the most supportive and intelligent shareholders, some of whom I am fortunate to call friends. I would have ensured the due diligence selection process extended broadly; and clear operational and financial metrics were set in place to ensure the purpose I believed in was executed.
What are three personality traits a founder of a start-up should possess?
I have thought about this one a lot, and the other day I actually listened to an amazing TED talk by Angela Duckworth. She is incredibly clever and is actually studying this very subject. Angela's opinion is that grit, passion and perseverance is absolutely key. For me the top three would be:
2. Kindness and humility (the two often go hand in hand, or maybe I am trying to get a fourth one in).
3. Vision, and the ability to articulate it to all stakeholders.
What’s the one skill you need to be a successful entrepreneur?
Creativity and resourcefulness.