Kim Kiyosaki with friends

3 Keys to Raising Capital

Female entrepreneurs, take note of my method for walking out of the boardroom victorious

Let’s imagine you have an opportunity to purchase a 10-room boutique hotel that is about to go into foreclosure. It’s literally too good to pass up. But wait, there’s something missing: cash.

Perhaps you have a small business you want to start or you have an existing business you want to grow. It’s likely going to require a sum of money to take you to that next level.

Raising capital is also known as OPM, or Other People’s Money. If you’re not familiar with this cornerstone of the Rich Dad philosophy, you can learn more here. Now, the concept isn’t actually all that mysterious. Often, the key to raising capital is a person’s ability to sell—a crucial skill for any entrepreneur or investor. Over the years, I’ve honed my ability to attract money because I’ve learned what investors are looking for.

Women can find it especially intimidating or challenging to raise capital, often encountering obstacles our male counterparts do not. So listen up ladies, I’m about to share my not-so-secret formula with you:

  1. Confidence is queen. A University of California study found that there’s a universal gender gap when it comes to confidence levels—men just naturally display higher levels of self-esteem than the fairer sex. For instance, research by Carnegie Mellon found that when women initiate salary negotiations (which they do four times less frequently than men), they request compensation that is an average of 30% lower. Our society also tends to associate confidence with competence, both of which will win over your potential investors. So don’t back down from negotiations and don’t let yourself be bullied into an unfavorable outcome. Stand your ground and don’t accept anything less than you deserve. If you need some help boosting your confidence, start with educating yourself so that you know your industry inside and out. Then, use body language—eye contact, a confident handshake, and an authoritative posture—to fake it until you make it.
  2. Expertly answer questions. A Harvard Business Review study found that investors are more inclined to ask male entrepreneurs promotion-related questions (those focused on achievements, hopes, advancement and ideals), while females are more likely to receive prevention-related questions (those focused on responsibility, safety, security and vigilance). Interesting insight, which will help you better prepare for those type of interactions. When faced with investor questions, focus your responses on how big and bright the future looks. Talk about growth, your plan to acquire new customers, and how you’ll increase market share.
  3. Promote your strengths. Every woman knows her best physical assets and dresses to enhance them (while maybe hiding a few flaws). Now it’s time you learn what you bring to the boardroom and how to best showcase that—whether it’s your organizational skills, your expertise in the industry or your relationship-building prowess. Look for patterns in feedback you’ve received from employers, friends and loved ones about the business tasks you do really well. Once you’ve zeroed in on your top traits, you’ll need to get comfortable with articulating them. Meeting with potential investors is your time to shine, not politely withhold how amazing you are. Reminding yourself of why you’re qualified to lead this business will boost your confidence and make it easier to pitch yourself to potential investors.

There’s no way around it: Female entrepreneurs are still subjected to gender biases. Perhaps that’s why in 2016, women-led companies comprised only 4.94% of venture capital deals even though they are the majority owners of 38% of U.S. businesses. You’re going to face more “no’s” than you should along your path to raising capital, but you’ll have to be tough enough to withstand rejection and still move forward. Always remember your why and you will reach your financial dreams.

Original publish date: May 03, 2018