We're No. 1

Texas ranks as top state for female entrepreneurs

The Lone Star State provides ample opportunities as well as a booming business economy for female entrepreneurs, a new report found. Pexels

Texas is known for being a land of opportunity, but a recent study evaluated how those business opportunities translated to benefitting female entrepreneurs. Turns out, starting a business as a woman in the Lone Star State is a pretty good idea.

Fit Small Business ranked all 50 states based on the business opportunities for women. In the January 8 report, Texas came in No. 1 — up from No. 8 last year. Ohio, Minnesota, Washington, and Alabama rounded out the top five, respectively.

Each state was evaluated by four equally weighted factors: its general business climate and opportunity, the number of female-owned businesses, economic and financial health, and safety and well-being for women.

Texas ranked strongest in its economic and financial health, for which it ranked No. 3 overall, followed by the number of female-owned businesses, for which it ranked No. 5. Texas' general business climate was ranked No. 8 in the study. Where the state stands to improve is in its safety and well-being for women. Texas ranked No. 41 in this category, which factored in cost of living, social support for women, and whether or not the state had a positive environment for women.

"Texas is hands-down one of the nation's top states due to its business-friendly legal and economic climate," the report says. "Put aside having no corporate or income taxes and a high rate of startup growth; startups are flocking to Texas high startup success rate."

American Express' 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report found that women-owned businesses are growing at an impressive rate. The study found that over the past 11 years, the amount of women-owned businesses grew 58 percent — compared to the 12 percent all businesses reportedly increased.

In this study, Texas tied with Utah for second place among the states "where women-owned businesses most increased their economic clout between 2007 and 2018." When the data was broken down into metropolitan areas, Texas had three cities in the top 10: San Antonio at No. 2, Austin at No. 3, and Dallas No. 9.

Graphic courtesy of Fit Small Business

Most venture capital rejection is because of one or more of these three reasons. Miguel Tovar/University of Houston

One of the most common questions that pops up in startup circles is, "Why did they turn me down?" There are myriad reasons why a venture capitalist might turn down pitches and decline funding. Here, I'll present the three most common.

They don't understand your business

Einstein once said, "If you cannot explain it to a six-year old, you don't understand it yourself."

If you spend an entire presentation showing well-researched facts and figures, talking about how groundbreaking your idea is, and presenting detailed charts and graphs, but your audience still has no idea what you do, you're in trouble.

Moreover, avoid overusing jargon and esoteric terms in your pitch. Speak simply.

If you cannot explain in simple terms what your startup does and why it's marketable, potential investors have no reason to believe you will know what you're doing with their money. To sum up, they'll think you don't understand your own business.

They don't think you've done the legwork

Some venture capitalists invest in early stage startups, so it's totally normal for them to sit through pitches where a product has not even been built yet. Consequently, the problem comes when it becomes evident the startup founder has failed to do any legwork. As a result, investors are likely to feel insecure about giving their money to someone who couldn't even do simple research.

Sure, the product hasn't been built, but that is not an excuse to sit back on cruise control. In other words, don't take your foot off the gas. Move forward constantly and don't stop learning more about your industry.

What have you done for customer development? Customer discovery? How many potential customers have you talked to? How much would they pay for your product or service? Have you studied the competitive dynamics of the market for which you will enter? Who is your competition and what are their strengths and weaknesses? You get the picture.

Certainly, one big misstep among startup founders is that they tend to believe work should not be done until they attain funding. Wrong. During your struggle to attain money, you should be busy learning everything about your industry, market, and customers. That way, once you finally get that meeting with an investor, they will feel much more confident that you will use their money intelligently.

They don't see that you have a strategy

It's an unfortunate commonality that a startup founder will put together a great pitch, get deep into it in front of a venture capitalist, and then unravel the entire presentation by exposing themselves as not having a plan of attack for the market. To clarify, it is a huge waste of your time to undo all your hard work by showing you don't have a strategy. Remember, investors are looking for reasons to pass on you.

When asked about their strategy for reaching the market, a common refrain is, "we will provide this awesome service (or make this awesome product) and the customers will roll right in." Or even "we will partner with this corporate giant who will sell our product because it's that amazing."

Above all, you must show your potential investor that you have the wherewithal to create, polish, and scale a reliable process that reaches your customer base.

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This article originally appeared on the University of Houston's The Big Idea.

Rene Cantu is the writer and editor at UH Division of Research.