Black women have been the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the US for the past few years with 17% of us in the process of starting new businesses. But in 2020—a record-breaking year for venture capital investment—less than 100 Black women raised $1 million or more for their businesses, which is very small in the VC world.
In this episode, I’m joined by Kathryn Finney, Founder and Managing General Partner of Genius Guild, a $20 million venture fund that builds and invests in scalable companies led by diverse founders. She’s also the founder of the Duni fund, the founder and former CEO of Digital Undivided, the mastermind of the widely acclaimed project Diane Research, the author of Build the Damn Thing, and a Yale-trained epidemiologist.
Together, we discuss the ins and outs of Venture Capital and business funding as well as Kathryn’s expertise as a successful entrepreneur and her favorite wellness practices.
Powered by RedCircle
LISTEN HERE: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play
Episode 164 Topics:
- Seeing entrepreneurship as a tool that lets you live a creative life
- Focusing on executing an idea, not just the idea itself
- How not to waste $30k on a business
- The importance of knowing yourself and having a solid foundation as a leader
- Not waiting for permission from the entitled
- The differences between startups, small businesses, and hobbies
Episode 164 Resources:
- Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs. But the job isn’t easy — JP Morgan
- Build The Damn Thing: How to Start a Successful Business if You’re Not a Rich White Guy by Kathryn Finney
- Visit Kathryn’s Website
- Submit Your Pitch to the Genius Guild
- Listen to the Build the Damn Thing! Podcast
- Follow Kathryn on Instagram
- Connect with Kathryn on LinkedIn
Episode 164 Sponsor:
- Open | If you’re looking for mindful meditation, breath work, and movement app I can’t recommend Open enough. They have a beautifully curated collection of guided meditation, breath work, and movement exercises to support you in your practice. Try Open for 30 Days free. Visit open-together.com/BALANCED.
Episode 164 Transcript:
00:00:00.000 --> 00:00:06.800
00:00:06.646 --> 00:00:20.837
Balanced black girl I appreciate you joining me today so if you're new to listening to the podcast we produce episodes in series that means that we will group episodes together examining a central topic
00:00:20.744 --> 00:00:30.739
Core theme and right now we're talking about business baby discussing the entrepreneurial experience from the perspectives of different black women
00:00:30.727 --> 00:00:40.498
black women have been the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the US for the past few years with Seventeen percent of us in the process of starting new businesses.
00:00:40.585 --> 00:00:46.718
However when it comes to founding and growing businesses capital is really important
00:00:46.643 --> 00:01:00.582
according to j.p. Morgan 61 percent of black women entrepreneurs are self-funding their own businesses which can be a good way to get started but as you're trying to grow and scale it can be really challenging if your own funds or Revenue can.
00:01:00.993 --> 00:01:08.783
With your goals or what's needed to run the business but getting access to outside funding isn't without its own challenges as well.
00:01:08.951 --> 00:01:22.727
Black Founders are three times more likely to be rejected when applying for funding and in 2020 less than 100 black women raised 1 million dollars or more in venture capital for their businesses now this is
00:01:22.724 --> 00:01:28.417
20/20 being a record-breaking year for venture capital investment they were record
00:01:28.225 --> 00:01:38.544
breaking amounts of money being invested in businesses but less than 100 black women got 1 million or more which is actually pretty small in the VC world.
00:01:38.613 --> 00:01:41.821
So what are we supposed to do right because
00:01:41.719 --> 00:01:55.180
I really like having this be a very solution-oriented space so how can we bring our ideas to life without draining our personal resources how can we use other people's money to make our ideas come to life
00:01:55.097 --> 00:01:58.574
that is what we're talking about in today's episode.
00:01:58.652 --> 00:02:11.204
Our Guest is Katherine Finney and Catherine is the founder and managing General partner of Genius killed a 20 million dollar Venture fund that builds and invest and scalable companies led by diverse founders
00:02:11.157 --> 00:02:21.044
she's also the founder of the Dooney fund the founder and past CEO additional undivided Mastermind of the widely acclaimed project Diane research.
00:02:21.266 --> 00:02:35.070
And a Yale trained epidemiologist okay the resume is long selling her lifestyle company the budget fast in ISTA made Catherine one of the first black women to have a successful startup,
00:02:35.094 --> 00:02:41.029
exit and I mean this was a decade ago truly unheard of at the time incredible.
00:02:41.116 --> 00:02:52.291
Earlier this year she released built the damn thing how to start a successful business if you're not a rich white guy to help entrepreneurs fund and scale their businesses it is a fantastic
00:02:52.117 --> 00:02:53.533
greed I read the book
00:02:53.395 --> 00:03:06.235
preparing for this conversation with Kathryn and if you're at all interested in starting or running your own business I highly recommend you check out the book as well we haven't Linked In the show notes and we're going to chat more about the book in this conversation
00:03:06.232 --> 00:03:14.851
Kathryn is so knowledgeable and I love how open she is in Sharing what she's learned as an entrepreneur and VC who's been on both sides of deal
00:03:14.821 --> 00:03:20.720
this interview is an important conversation about funding our ideas so that we can bring them to life
00:03:20.672 --> 00:03:28.822
so let's get into it Catherine thank you so much for joining me today.
00:03:29.071 --> 00:03:36.933
For having me oh my goodness it is my pleasure you know right now on the podcast talking all about business
00:03:36.885 --> 00:03:42.956
I cannot think of a better guest to get to include in this series just with
00:03:42.854 --> 00:03:54.145
all that you've done all that you continue to do to help those of us who are underrepresented in business kind of build our dreams and build are things I'm really excited to have you I'm excited to share.
00:03:54.188 --> 00:03:54.884
00:03:54.728 --> 00:04:12.600
so earlier this year you came out with a fantastic book called build the damn thing which I love because I'm all about super specific like tactical information I'm like okay tell me what to do tell me what steps to take and I love that it is like a step by step,
00:04:12.615 --> 00:04:18.299
here's how to create your business here's how to build and get your product out into the world
00:04:18.170 --> 00:04:23.475
and one of the things that really stuck out to me as I was reading the book was that you talked about
00:04:23.283 --> 00:04:36.105
two different groups of Founders you have your Builders and you have you're entitled and I'd love to talk a bit about the differences between those two groups and how their experiences and business differ
00:04:36.048 --> 00:04:38.689
yeah you know in titles are.
00:04:39.100 --> 00:04:48.222
Those for whom this space was created so when venture capital in particular in the what we now know as the modern startup world was created it was
00:04:48.138 --> 00:05:01.374
really the 19 late 1940s 1950s in Silicone Valley it came out of really the defense movement post WWII all these technologies that were created for war were now being commercialized.
00:05:01.497 --> 00:05:11.025
And a lot of it was coming out of Silicone Valley and so different forms of capital were created in this case Venture Capital to be able to fund these sort of high growth
00:05:10.941 --> 00:05:15.373
fast-moving tech companies that didn't necessarily have.
00:05:15.523 --> 00:05:21.701
Physical assets to be able to get loans which is how traditionally businesses were able to get it money.
00:05:21.978 --> 00:05:26.419
And those people who were participating at that time we're pretty much all white men.
00:05:26.614 --> 00:05:33.188
So the whole entire sort of startup world was created by white men to fund other white men there the entitled.
00:05:33.465 --> 00:05:39.598
Here comes on Builders and Builders are really anyone that isn't you know a wealthy white man.
00:05:39.676 --> 00:05:52.255
You know started to build companies and became very difficult because again the system was created from its inception for a very specific type of entrepreneur and to help them in a very specific way and so you have Builders coming.
00:05:52.297 --> 00:05:54.524
People of color women.
00:05:54.575 --> 00:06:04.210
People who were may have been white but maybe didn't come from the same social economic classes as those who had created the space and it was very hard to break in
00:06:04.081 --> 00:06:16.111
it's very hard to get funding because you didn't have the network she didn't have the connections and so you have to build everything from scratch you have to build your network from scratch you had to build your knowledge from scratch
00:06:15.937 --> 00:06:21.765
everything from scratch because it wasn't readily available for you because you weren't part of the original group of people it was.
00:06:21.843 --> 00:06:28.084
Created for so that's how Builders and entitled are different Builders we have to build it.
00:06:28.531 --> 00:06:37.897
We have to build every aspect not just our company our networks our knowledge base our communities we need time because we don't have an existing infrastructure,
00:06:37.930 --> 00:06:43.055
the come into and and that takes time and it takes effort.
00:06:43.295 --> 00:06:48.564
And it also makes it hard to do that and build a company because entitles can just focus on building their company.
00:06:48.759 --> 00:06:53.849
All right and building out their idea we have to build our idea and all these other things as well
00:06:53.846 --> 00:07:08.153
yes yes and I think the word build I know that you're very intentional about using that because that's truly that's truly what it is whether you're building a product building your mindset building your team,
00:07:08.186 --> 00:07:18.632
I think it's really important that we kind of understand that when we decide that we want to start a business or that we want to launch something and understanding what that entails.
00:07:18.701 --> 00:07:24.924
Yeah I mean you're building your building and you're creating you know entrepreneurship.
00:07:25.129 --> 00:07:33.531
Is tough it's not easy it's actually in many ways you could even say it's a little bit illogical right I'm you're taking this great risk.
00:07:33.672 --> 00:07:42.614
But those of us who are entrepreneurs really look at entrepreneurship as a tool it allows us to live a creative life in which we can control.
00:07:42.827 --> 00:07:49.060
It allows us to have certain lead way in our lives that would be very difficult to have another situation.
00:07:49.264 --> 00:07:59.016
You know the summer I went away for a month to Italy and Greece now if I was working for a corporation that would be virtually impossible to do.
00:07:59.166 --> 00:08:07.577
But because I work for myself and because I'm the CEO of my own company I could do that I could create a workflow for which allowed me to do that
00:08:07.574 --> 00:08:18.200
and so and that's the benefits of Entrepreneurship is that you do have this freedom to control what you do and what you don't want to do in the spaces you want to be in the spaces you don't want to be in yeah definitely.
00:08:18.296 --> 00:08:33.414
I'd love to piggyback off of that and talk a little bit more about what it takes to get there because I think for a lot of people who pursue entrepreneurship that is like that benefit of being able to build and design and create this lifestyle that you have more control over
00:08:33.231 --> 00:08:35.826
is a big part of why people want to do it.
00:08:35.922 --> 00:08:47.835
And I think sometimes when people get started when it's not immediately that way it can be really discouraging what has your experience been like getting to that point.
00:08:48.121 --> 00:08:50.563
You know entrepreneurship is
00:08:50.488 --> 00:09:00.277
a marathon it is not a real it doesn't happen overnight Oprah didn't happen overnight and in fact if you look at most major tech companies from Facebook
00:09:00.157 --> 00:09:07.496
two other big companies it took them seven years before they were ip0 before they went on the market some even 10 years,
00:09:07.511 --> 00:09:17.336
and so what you think is an overnight success because you're just now it certainly here media about them have been around for years in this case you know Facebook has been around for almost 20 years now.
00:09:17.585 --> 00:09:18.875
And so I think
00:09:18.854 --> 00:09:27.814
people because of this hyper marketing environment where in people tend to like think that is just going to be like tomorrow you're going to be a success it takes a minute
00:09:27.794 --> 00:09:37.096
it takes a minute and so you need to make sure that you have a Runway particularly when you're a builder and you don't have a safety net you have to make sure that.
00:09:37.237 --> 00:09:47.160
You're really thinking about your finances in the book I call it exit number like what is the number and amount of money your business needs to make in order for you to be able to live.
00:09:47.256 --> 00:09:51.751
Fairly comfortably whatever way you define comfortably because in the book.
00:09:51.857 --> 00:10:01.636
I purposely don't put a definition on what Comfort is yeah because that latte that you have each morning might be the thing that helps you connect with others and it might be very very important.
00:10:01.705 --> 00:10:08.928
It's your emotional and mental and help so I would never put a people with get rid of the latte you just know.
00:10:08.970 --> 00:10:20.136
What is it that you need to be able to keep moving forward in your business and to maintain the relationships around you and that's the number and coming up with that number and when.
00:10:20.178 --> 00:10:32.253
Side gig which hopefully will become your full-time gig reaches that number for you know a few consecutive months then you know that you can move on to it full-time without the same level of risk of as,
00:10:32.268 --> 00:10:37.249
if you just kind of like left your day job I don't actually advocate for that.
00:10:37.426 --> 00:10:52.229
Because again for Builders many of us don't have social safety nets and it can be a real Financial Risk for us so we do need to know a little bit more with it maybe a little bit more certainty that whatever we're building is going to work yeah definitely I love that you mentioned that the
00:10:52.190 --> 00:11:05.066
for us Builders because my my audience is predominantly black women and black women are one of the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs right now which is also super exciting but with that in mind we do have different
00:11:04.973 --> 00:11:13.600
risk tolerances and so understanding what our risk tolerance is and not comparing that to someone else's is really important I think you know.
00:11:13.696 --> 00:11:27.040
We are risk-takers but there are consequences to our risk-taking and I think other groups don't have to think about the consequences to their is Kagan because they have that social safety net and many times the economic safety net.
00:11:27.452 --> 00:11:32.919
And so when you have an economic safety that you have a social safety net then you can be a little bit bolder.
00:11:33.051 --> 00:11:45.045
But when you don't or when you're the first generation that's actually creating the social safety net which many of us are a part of We're the first generation creating and that for those who are coming after us hopefully we'll be able to take.
00:11:45.186 --> 00:11:49.861
More of a risk it makes it a little bit difficult there are structural reasons why we cannot
00:11:49.741 --> 00:12:04.517
be as risky as as white guys but that doesn't mean that we don't have a great ideas and we don't know how to operationalize things and build great companies it just means that the way we think about it has to be different definitely that we take a slightly different approach,
00:12:04.532 --> 00:12:07.623
what are some of the most common.
00:12:07.872 --> 00:12:17.867
Either kind of pitfalls or maybe missteps that you see builders particularly black and brown women make when it comes to business and how can we avoid that.
00:12:18.071 --> 00:12:27.239
Why isn't one you know thinking that you have to code particularly in the startup space and there's so many like no code low code Solutions.
00:12:27.281 --> 00:12:34.648
Like Squarespace and wigs and others that you can build a pretty sophisticated company
00:12:34.636 --> 00:12:41.435
within a day without having any sort of coders so that's one big one I think another that you have to be.
00:12:41.603 --> 00:12:49.339
So you have to have gone to like a certain type of school in order to be able to do this and I don't think this is as much of a concern as it was in the past.
00:12:49.480 --> 00:12:53.831
You really don't like the network is kind of open now and I think.
00:12:54.000 --> 00:13:06.885
Particularly as an investor I'm always looking for opportunities in places other people can't see and so you not going to an Ivy League school is actually great for someone like me because I'm like I want to invest in people who come from these other networks.
00:13:07.116 --> 00:13:11.566
And then some of the others I think in particular with black people.
00:13:11.608 --> 00:13:21.864
I say this as someone who has I say I've been black my entire life we have a tendency to be really afraid of our ideas being stolen.
00:13:22.321 --> 00:13:28.643
And there's a historical reason for that right like we know it comes from real trauma it's not fake.
00:13:29.081 --> 00:13:38.681
However it makes it really difficult to participate in any sort of fast growth entrepreneurial space because you have to let your idea out there.
00:13:38.804 --> 00:13:44.388
In order to find out if anybody actually wants it and you can't do that if you hold onto it tight.
00:13:44.997 --> 00:13:54.327
And you're not going to be able to build anything successful in large-scale by yourself you will need to engage other people and they're going to need to know what your idea is about.
00:13:54.756 --> 00:14:00.304
And so I see that as a real challenge with our community and again understanding where the trauma comes from
00:14:00.292 --> 00:14:06.039
but it doesn't lend itself to really successfully participating in the space
00:14:06.027 --> 00:14:11.179
yeah that totally makes sense and are there things that we can do to.
00:14:11.401 --> 00:14:19.029
Better protect our ideas as we bring people on to help us how do we kind of find that middle ground you know.
00:14:19.125 --> 00:14:31.434
Ideas I guarantee that you're not the only one who had idea and that's really hard for people to hear but I'm saying this as someone who sits at a more Global level I see a bunch of ideas we sent see thousands of ideas coming in.
00:14:31.494 --> 00:14:43.425
You are not the only one to do it so don't focus on protecting idea focus on executing because that's how you protect yourself is your ability to execute on the idea the ability to capture customers.
00:14:43.629 --> 00:14:53.147
The ability to actually build it because there's a lot of people have ideas but have no idea how to build things yeah that's those are two separate things and so.
00:14:53.262 --> 00:15:05.012
What the best way to protect your idea is to actually build a company around it and actually execute it and not worrying so much about protecting it I often hear people like well should I trade market or copyrighted and like.
00:15:05.235 --> 00:15:08.046
You you could but
00:15:08.007 --> 00:15:20.532
as with any contract or agreement is only as good as its ability to be enforced and it's very expensive to enforce patents and trademarks so you could spend two hundred thousand dollars you know
00:15:20.385 --> 00:15:24.205
trying to enforce his trademark and really may not get any money for it.
00:15:24.589 --> 00:15:31.956
Or you can spend that 200,000 dollars investing in your business and growing and scaling it that's really the options that you have.
00:15:32.097 --> 00:15:43.263
Yeah yeah that's such a good point taking a quick break from this week's conversation to shout out our sponsor open
00:15:43.089 --> 00:15:51.986
open is a digital mindfulness platform combining breathwork meditation and movement and it's my go-to app to help me get centered.
00:15:52.073 --> 00:15:59.611
I've used every meditation app you can think of and I always end up coming back to open because the content is so fresh and inspiring.
00:15:59.860 --> 00:16:12.115
Their daily meditations always touch on exactly what I need to hear and while I've gone through the motions in my fair share of meditations I've truly felt my practice deepen so much using open.
00:16:12.202 --> 00:16:20.433
The guided meditations aren't repetitive and they have a diverse group of teachers constantly releasing new guided meditation so there's something for everyone
00:16:20.313 --> 00:16:27.905
even if you have a hard time sitting still you can try one of their five minute meditations or one minute breathwork classes within the app.
00:16:27.974 --> 00:16:34.027
Even such a short time it can make such a huge difference and help you establish and mindfulness.
00:16:34.078 --> 00:16:43.740
In addition to breathwork and meditation open also has incredible movement classes you can take yoga and pilates all within the app and the classes are excellent,
00:16:43.746 --> 00:16:52.301
they have wonderful beginner Series so if you've never practice yoga or never done Pilates it's an incredible place to learn the basics from the comfort of your own home.
00:16:52.596 --> 00:17:03.851
And to keep you motivated open host monthly challenges so you can join their Community invite friends and family and have a support crew cheering you on along the way
00:17:03.740 --> 00:17:07.434
give yourself the gift of mindfulness and join me on open
00:17:07.395 --> 00:17:19.065
open is giving balance black or listeners 30 days free when you visit open dash together.com balanced that's 30 days of unlimited meditation breathwork yoga,
00:17:19.089 --> 00:17:26.519
and pilates again you can join me on open by going to open dash together.com
00:17:26.417 --> 00:17:34.576
balanced it reminds me a lot of when I started this podcast I
00:17:34.411 --> 00:17:44.100
I was sitting at my old job and like the idea popped into my head of like start a podcast name at balanced black girl talk about these things and I
00:17:43.927 --> 00:17:49.286
immediately like went on Amazon ordered a microphone bought the URL like.
00:17:49.427 --> 00:18:00.683
As soon as the idea popped into my head because I was like if I don't do this right now someone else is going to do it and launch the podcast you know 10 days later because I was like somebody else is going to do it if I don't do it like
00:18:00.680 --> 00:18:14.843
right now and so yeah I think that just from experience what you're saying about bringing it out into the world being the best protection is something that Rings really true especially you know if you are going to try to trademark something.
00:18:14.903 --> 00:18:25.178
You do have to prove that you're using it you can't prove that you're using it yet there's not any proof of existence and inviting the URL and actually using it is.
00:18:25.274 --> 00:18:27.680
You already get some copyright.
00:18:27.786 --> 00:18:37.556
Protection anyway like some copyright trademark protection just sort of simple fact that it's in you yeah and I think you really hit on that and so,
00:18:37.598 --> 00:18:43.479
don't spend thousands and thousands of dollars for something that will cost you so much money to enforce.
00:18:43.684 --> 00:18:50.807
I'm not even sure if something's trademark is scary to people anymore as it used to be especially in this Global world where so easy to like.
00:18:51.381 --> 00:19:01.673
Borrow or AKA steal from people right so like don't spin your energy on that spin your energy on building your company and putting it back into your company yeah definitely
00:19:01.571 --> 00:19:19.290
thinking about building and the beginning steps of building one of the parts of the book that I really loved was when you were talking about MVPs or the minimally viable product so I would love to talk about that a little bit in case we have listeners who are not familiar with that term and what that looks like but if they're interested in
00:19:19.117 --> 00:19:26.645
in business so can you tell us more about what an MVP is and why it's important when you're starting to build.
00:19:26.696 --> 00:19:32.227
Yeah you know I I tell a story in a book about being at Essence Music Festival,
00:19:32.242 --> 00:19:41.805
and there's a business part I was on the panel and you know a young black woman came up to me had a great business idea and she was like
00:19:41.802 --> 00:19:49.781
pinching me and I thought it was really amazing and two things happen one she was again hesitant to share with me.
00:19:49.958 --> 00:19:53.778
It said look I had to say like look system I'm telling you this.
00:19:53.955 --> 00:20:05.022
If I wanted to build it I could because I have the capital to if I wanted to do it I would do it so don't focus on that like focus on that please is build a company.
00:20:05.199 --> 00:20:13.088
And then the second thing was that she had spent like 30k of her own money hiring developers offshore developers to build it.
00:20:13.715 --> 00:20:22.766
And what she presented to me was very very similar to existing companies there's a number of existing companies whose like a salon.
00:20:23.645 --> 00:20:25.142
And I was like there's.
00:20:25.220 --> 00:20:36.737
Existing companies already building the space and they are like way further ahead than you and I have way more money than you and you're not differentiating yourself there's nothing about you that makes you different.
00:20:36.797 --> 00:20:42.525
And so she spent 30k on something without knowing whether or not it was something people want.
00:20:42.604 --> 00:20:51.789
I give this story to say the importance of an MVP is that is she would have built a very basic and BP and that it is the simplest.
00:20:51.993 --> 00:20:59.198
Thing you can build to get people the opportunity to react to your product it could be a drawing on a napkin.
00:20:59.411 --> 00:21:03.033
It could be one slide it could be a quick
00:21:03.003 --> 00:21:14.501
Squarespace whatever website but the goal is that you do not spend I don't think you should spend more than $100 on your very first MVP and it's good enough that people can react to.
00:21:14.715 --> 00:21:19.939
And if she had done that you know even if it was a scribble on a sheet of paper.
00:21:20.179 --> 00:21:29.922
Anybody who's been in space would say oh this sounds like this it sounds like you know all the different other companies that are out there but instead she didn't do that she went from zero to 60.
00:21:30.046 --> 00:21:44.182
Thinking that that's how you do it in Tech and startup world and that is absolutely not how you build companies and startup world and she end up wasting 30k for something that nobody wants that's a hard lesson yeah I was like I was really.
00:21:44.251 --> 00:21:54.778
It broke my heart it really did because I was like I know even if you just had 30k lying around that you could just see a pop off you know letting that many people I know have that
00:21:54.703 --> 00:22:01.403
it still would be very painful definitely yeah so getting that initial kind of
00:22:01.310 --> 00:22:08.263
proof-of-concept before you invest too heavily in it is kind of that first gut check it sounds like.
00:22:08.359 --> 00:22:14.853
It's a continuous process I think sometimes people think when you're building a company you do this in your done like no it's okay
00:22:14.688 --> 00:22:20.290
tenuous the more information you get from customers from staff and partners.
00:22:20.377 --> 00:22:30.598
The more information you absorb keep updating you keep building out your company until the point where it does start to reach this sort of level of perfection for it.
00:22:30.829 --> 00:22:41.625
But that's a continuous process because you never ever reach Perfection you're always learning you're always getting new information and you're taking that information always putting it back in your business and changing your business its result
00:22:41.470 --> 00:22:50.123
definitely definitely and when we're looking to get some of those initial points of feedback are there
00:22:50.049 --> 00:22:56.029
kind of groups that you recommend we do that with whether that is potential customers or
00:22:55.963 --> 00:23:06.688
trusted advisors like once we have our MVP who should we get it in front of I think trusted advisors are probably the worst people you can ask because they're probably not going to tell you the truth,
00:23:06.712 --> 00:23:20.191
you need to get it in front of people who don't care about you yes right but yeah they don't care about you or your feelings they and they're going to be brutally honest but it's from that honestly that you build a better product so don't be afraid of honesty.
00:23:20.368 --> 00:23:30.976
Don't be afraid to be wrong especially when you're getting feedback that helps you be right and so getting in front of customers I think it's really important I like Facebook groups I think can be good
00:23:30.838 --> 00:23:38.448
if they allow people to post I think that's a good option I think going to colleges and University campuses and kind of canvassing.
00:23:38.769 --> 00:23:51.555
I think all of us they call the customer Discovery is what this process is called where you're figuring out what is that your customer wants or even whether or not they actually want what you're doing and come a even be a basic question of we don't need
00:23:51.534 --> 00:23:56.803
and so your goal is to figure that out and then take that information make your product better.
00:23:56.945 --> 00:24:02.691
And then go back out again and take that information make your product better than go back out again and you know in the cycle.
00:24:02.751 --> 00:24:10.019
It helps you get to this point of a great product that people want definitely yeah that continuous feedback loop,
00:24:10.043 --> 00:24:19.489
very valuable yes so also in build the damn thing you talk about Founders building their internal Foundation to
00:24:19.441 --> 00:24:31.453
kind of prepare for their business and to prepare for going to need to put into it what does having a strong internal Foundation entail and why is that so important to have
00:24:31.387 --> 00:24:38.502
I think we've all been around leaders who did not have solid foundations and did not know who they were and it was held to be around them.
00:24:38.625 --> 00:24:50.511
It was really difficult having a solid foundation and understanding who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are is vitally important to be a good leader and as a CEO you our leader.
00:24:50.598 --> 00:24:57.172
As a CEO you are the center of the wheel which is your company and if you are broken the wheel can't turn was this not going to work.
00:24:57.458 --> 00:25:07.210
So you have to make sure that you have this foundation so that your company can do well and then those who work for you who look up to you can also do well as well,
00:25:07.216 --> 00:25:20.407
one of the things that I talked about is really figure out your core values like who are you and what do you stand for yeah and it's very very important because you're going to be challenged as an entrepreneur at some point you will be asked to do something that you can be like yeah.
00:25:20.603 --> 00:25:29.446
I don't know about that right and having the core values as his foundation allows you to decide when that line is being crossed or not.
00:25:29.794 --> 00:25:35.540
It allows you to make these decisions and it allows you to make it with conviction because it's not situational you're not.
00:25:35.654 --> 00:25:45.029
Making this core value anytime a different situation comes out its standard so it gives you a lot more confidence in which to say no or even to say yes.
00:25:45.305 --> 00:25:53.653
Yeah definitely like that that getting centered so that when things try to knock you off center you have that anchor to pull you back,
00:25:53.668 --> 00:26:02.493
yes definitely and it's interesting because I think we hear a lot about that in the context of relationships right
00:26:02.364 --> 00:26:13.719
all over social media you will see content all day long about like heal and love yourself so that someone else can can love you or whatever but I do think that
00:26:13.509 --> 00:26:21.452
applying kind of that concept to our business is really important as well like getting right within ourselves so that.
00:26:21.728 --> 00:26:30.787
It reflects in what's happening and what we're building in business is our relationships and we have a relationship with your staff yeah we your customers your clients.
00:26:30.883 --> 00:26:40.465
With your investors with your partner this business is all about managing relationships so that would make sense that sort of the the insta relationship you know
00:26:40.318 --> 00:26:49.161
therapist or taking calculation up there and piss a lot of those principles do apply to business and managing your company efinitely definitely,
00:26:49.167 --> 00:26:59.657
something else that I'm thinking to you know as we see more women people of color other people getting to build and create businesses.
00:26:59.790 --> 00:27:07.417
I think a lot about not recreating or upholding behaviors that
00:27:07.397 --> 00:27:16.402
oppressors have done you know like even if we as women if we as black women are running these businesses if we're kind of running them.
00:27:16.552 --> 00:27:19.417
Mimicking what white men have been doing.
00:27:19.640 --> 00:27:28.456
Is that any better just because we're the ones doing it you know yeah I mean I think it's why are we doing what we're doing
00:27:28.345 --> 00:27:35.297
but what is the end goal and its concept I mean even in the way that I invest as a venture capitalist which is
00:27:35.205 --> 00:27:44.615
completely not like how anybody else and Venture invest but it's you know I look at this this approach of I am Bank investments in things where I think everyone can win.
00:27:44.954 --> 00:27:52.348
And everyone meaning myself as an investor in my investors the founder but also the community.
00:27:52.687 --> 00:28:02.655
Because I want to invest in things or making a community better and want to invest in things that are providing services to our community I'm positive services and and so.
00:28:03.130 --> 00:28:12.954
That's the way in which I invest that's not how anyone else invest is very few black women General Partners in general so it's not like there's a lot of us out there investing.
00:28:13.113 --> 00:28:22.433
But what's the point of being in this system if all you want to do is replicate the system yeah and so but it takes a lot of courage to sort of.
00:28:22.565 --> 00:28:29.509
Be out there like that and I don't necessarily think that it's right for everyone because of the amount of courage and because the amount of tension that's
00:28:29.497 --> 00:28:37.503
focused on you when you do that yeah yeah absolutely and it's hard to break the mold too because a lot of
00:28:37.428 --> 00:28:47.829
information out there about how you do things does kind of encourage people to replicate those old models and so it kind of adds that that added layer to what we were.
00:28:47.871 --> 00:28:56.759
We're talking about in the beginning of building things differently what's white guys who are writing those they're telling you what they know because they don't know what it's like to build a company.
00:28:56.963 --> 00:29:00.306
As of now my God we just don't have any clue
00:29:00.294 --> 00:29:13.908
so the advice they can give you is only from their perspective which is incredibly privileged and again they're building in the system that was created for them to build it right it wasn't created for someone like me to build in it wasn't even created for like
00:29:13.896 --> 00:29:23.541
women in general to build in and so it makes it infinitely harder to compete because we have to do so much extra work.
00:29:23.601 --> 00:29:30.346
With in also again they can write about it because they don't have to think of this other stuff so it's this hole.
00:29:30.596 --> 00:29:35.199
Piece missing which is why I wrote build the damn thing was a whole piece missing unlike.
00:29:35.430 --> 00:29:44.471
You know I found myself an early part of my career when I was building what was going to be my second start up in 2009 like banging my head against the wall
00:29:44.270 --> 00:29:56.975
because I will get this advice from white male mentors I'm like yeah you can do that but I can like I can't commend cocky and stuff like that even if I'm the most brilliant person in the room because it reads a certain way for me
00:29:56.873 --> 00:30:01.134
you you have that space you're given that Latitude to do that I'm not.
00:30:01.275 --> 00:30:09.020
And being very conscious of that it's been really important for me and moving forward but yeah I mean I think you know at this point.
00:30:09.224 --> 00:30:18.806
You know the industry in order for us to change industry we're going to have to change the industry and I think we have to stop waiting for permission and asking for permission.
00:30:18.893 --> 00:30:30.806
We haven't gotten our parents didn't get it our grandparents didn't get it their parents didn't get it so like maybe we just start building and then they'll catch up later or maybe they won't who no hmm
00:30:30.794 --> 00:30:42.914
definitely yeah I love that though about not not asking for permission and and getting to work and innovating in other ways because we're not going to get it right when we're not going to get it.
00:30:43.028 --> 00:30:48.927
We're not going to get the permission and many times we're not going to get the validation that we seek from the entitled
00:30:48.798 --> 00:30:59.028
we're not going to get it so the only thing we can do is continue to build exceptional companies ourselves and seek validation from our customers and our communities that use our products and left from
00:30:58.953 --> 00:31:08.660
these external forces absolutely and that's that's the validation that really matters like are the people that were aiming to serve are they being served by what we're doing
00:31:08.549 --> 00:31:09.569
00:31:09.485 --> 00:31:21.191
so I'd love to talk a bit about funding you know we've touched on it a little bit in terms of capital and you know we talked about MVPs not using precious capital on things that are maybe not the right venture.
00:31:21.242 --> 00:31:35.856
You obviously have a lot of experience in this area now as a VC according to Forbes in 2021 black Founders received 1.9 percent of VC dollars awarded in the u.s. I'm not sure what that value is for 2022 but.
00:31:35.988 --> 00:31:39.610
Could probably assume that it's along similar lines
00:31:39.436 --> 00:31:53.546
and I'd love to talk about maybe some of the pros and cons of taking outside funding for those of us who are Builders and and looking for Capital that way versus kind of the bootstrapping route and you know ways we can navigate.
00:31:53.651 --> 00:31:58.731
Deciding what form of capital is best for for what we're doing yeah I mean I think.
00:31:59.169 --> 00:32:06.824
One of the things is really important to understand the difference between a start-up in the small business and this is where I think a lot of people get confused.
00:32:06.866 --> 00:32:18.311
Both are equally important both are equally important to particularly the global economy a small business is exactly that it's a business that may or may not want to scale.
00:32:18.551 --> 00:32:32.912
It's usually a business that's not looking necessarily for what we call in Tech and exit meaning they don't want to necessarily sell the business in a relatively short period of time being in 10 years and so that could be like your local bakery.
00:32:33.360 --> 00:32:39.313
It could be you know your local accounting firm the McDonald's on the corner
00:32:39.166 --> 00:32:50.062
all of those McDonald to the corporation is a small business but like the owners who may own one or two franchise locations those are small businesses and they're not necessarily looking at scaling out.
00:32:50.284 --> 00:32:59.055
A start-up is created with the intention to exit a startup begins with the idea that you want to scale it as rapidly.
00:32:59.277 --> 00:33:03.421
As big as possible and then you're going to have what we call a positive event.
00:33:03.625 --> 00:33:13.126
You're going to either Exit and put your company on one of the stock exchanges or you want to grow it and get acquired by a larger company those are the two things that people really look for.
00:33:13.249 --> 00:33:20.021
Into the startup world you have to scale rapidly necessity huge amounts of pressure on you to do so.
00:33:20.090 --> 00:33:30.833
And when I often see is like people think start up as a sexy word but don't understand the requirements and then they accept money from a VC and then like what the hell happens that.
00:33:31.136 --> 00:33:38.224
That's because structurally this VC needs you to scale rapidly They Don't Care About You creating a legacy for your family yeah.
00:33:38.293 --> 00:33:47.622
They don't their ideas like I have to get an exit like for this this investment so I can prove to my investors that I'm a good investor.
00:33:47.727 --> 00:34:00.766
And whether your family or your friends or whatever Legacy that's that's temper you deal with that on your on the money that you get from my money this is what I need and I often see Founders particularly founders of colored not understand that.
00:34:00.898 --> 00:34:03.178
And as a result get very frustrated.
00:34:03.301 --> 00:34:12.000
Very very mad at their investors particularly if their investors are talking about replacing them mmm yeah and I think
00:34:11.934 --> 00:34:25.063
you know for so many Founders and I've worked at startups and I've worked for Founders who have struggled with that very thing sometimes it's a tough pill to swallow to realize that like nobody is as close to your
00:34:24.916 --> 00:34:34.056
baby your business baby in the way that you are and that can be so so hard to come to terms with yeah.
00:34:34.332 --> 00:34:44.084
It's your baby you understand that however you know as a mom you got to let your kid go out yeah you gotta let them experience the world and trust that you.
00:34:44.712 --> 00:34:57.363
Train them enough you develop a good enough product if I could call my son a product developed a good enough product that it will survive in the larger world and it will survive in that will grow not even just survival thrive.
00:34:57.594 --> 00:35:02.809
And in the same way your business you have to believe that you built a good enough product that you can put it out there.
00:35:02.896 --> 00:35:17.762
For the Thrive if you're not putting your idea out there you're coming out there then you can't call yourself a business it's a hobby like and people need to understand the difference between that to a hobby in the business a business is that you have to put it out there a business is something,
00:35:17.786 --> 00:35:30.707
the people willing to pay a premium for which is the cost it takes for your raw materials and for you to do it plus a percentage over that allows you to live and eat and be the brains behind it.
00:35:30.938 --> 00:35:37.378
Your business needs to be be able to do that and if it's not it's not a business it's a hobby
00:35:37.321 --> 00:35:46.560
and a lot of us have hobbies not businesses yeah expensive Hobbies expensive hobbies in terms of time and money
00:35:46.530 --> 00:35:56.381
yep guy yeah but I really appreciate that distinction that you gave us about the differences between small business and startup and how understanding.
00:35:56.496 --> 00:36:01.657
You know what it is we're doing how that guides how we fund and go forth to.
00:36:01.699 --> 00:36:08.652
Determining what capital we need so thank you for that so even though we're currently focused on business on the podcast.
00:36:08.757 --> 00:36:12.496
Technically this is a wellness podcast although I do think that that
00:36:12.403 --> 00:36:27.287
wellness and business intersect and in a lot of ways was just what we're exploring in this series but I would love to know if there have been any Wellness practices that are in your personal toolbox that have really helped you as a founder and as a builder
00:36:27.113 --> 00:36:35.055
there's so many the biggest one is I swim I swim a lot I try to swim.
00:36:35.332 --> 00:36:47.407
Some exam better than others but I try to swim like a thousand yards like at least three to four times a week and it's something about swimming and being in the water that you can't overthink this is great for someone like me who's always thinking all the time.
00:36:47.467 --> 00:36:54.257
And so that's a big one I'm a big lover of Spas I will Spa like no one's business
00:36:54.182 --> 00:37:04.367
I love a good massage I love a good facial and especially when you work as hard as we all do to be able to treat yourself like that is really important
00:37:04.364 --> 00:37:09.192
I also love to read and so I'm reading I read a lot of books.
00:37:09.288 --> 00:37:17.897
I have a whole bunch of books I got my book stand and I like the books I've read the books I'm like putting the side because I want to go back and read them again books I haven't read it have this.
00:37:17.993 --> 00:37:19.472
Big stack of books.
00:37:19.614 --> 00:37:29.348
And in my Amazon and when I can get to sort of the local independent bookstores here in Chicago like I have like a list of books like at any time like a.
00:37:29.624 --> 00:37:39.206
Ten books is up and people are always referring books to me and then people are always sending books to me cuz they know how much of a bibliophile I am because I like love it so they're like,
00:37:39.239 --> 00:37:50.566
I'm going to send you this book app and I'm like and I'm like two months behind like let me get a vacation so I can catch up but I'm always reading I love to read things that have nothing to do with business at night
00:37:50.519 --> 00:37:53.663
so I love like magical realism so.
00:37:53.714 --> 00:38:08.346
Isabella again there Gabriel Garcia Marquez you know like all these folks I love to read because it's so about like turn-of-the-century Columbia it's like so vastly different than where I'm at you know.
00:38:08.406 --> 00:38:19.140
In 2020 to Chicago so in the escapism that allows me to get out of my head and the good thing about it which is been really interesting is as a result of it.
00:38:19.218 --> 00:38:31.257
I often get my best ideas by shutting my mind off the people think we had to always be in it actually you will find once you start to create a self care practice while you're building your company
00:38:31.227 --> 00:38:38.863
taking breaks helps you to be a better CEO and it actually comes up with better ideas and new enthusiasm.
00:38:38.906 --> 00:38:48.208
Because the worst thing you can have is burnout and then what happens is you start to resent your company yes and you don't want that because you haven't been able to take care of you.
00:38:48.322 --> 00:38:58.408
So taking care of yourself and creating a self care practice is vital to having a successful company absolutely it's it relates so much too
00:38:58.288 --> 00:39:07.113
the kind of internal Foundation conversation that we were having earlier but I have to say I love that you mentioned.
00:39:07.227 --> 00:39:21.615
Knowing when to kind of balance the business books with the fun books and and the fiction and getting lost in something else because it's so valuable and I think when we only consume either business content,
00:39:21.622 --> 00:39:31.896
it also leaves very little room for application if we're constantly consuming absolutely and creativity because a lot of my best ideas did not come from being in the business yeah.
00:39:32.208 --> 00:39:36.703
They came from being on the world and seeing a problem because we're citizens of the world.
00:39:36.871 --> 00:39:47.848
And the best businesses Salva problem that people have and they're willing to pay a premium for right and so and how do you know what problems they have if you're not in the world seeing and.
00:39:48.052 --> 00:39:55.977
Like that that's where you uncover problems and and and it's possible solutions is from livius and so you have to get out there and.
00:39:56.190 --> 00:40:06.330
At the end of the day particular building the startup you're building it as a temporary organization like you're not building something that's going to be around for 30 40 years so at some point to start up is going to end.
00:40:06.579 --> 00:40:07.455
00:40:07.911 --> 00:40:20.481
You still need to have the relationships with human relationships and people relationships that weren't a part of your entrepreneurial Journey or your company you still need to be able to have those right.
00:40:20.676 --> 00:40:25.415
And you won't if you neglect them building a company 100%.
00:40:25.871 --> 00:40:32.751
Kathryn this was so good I feel like this conversation paired with the book is like,
00:40:32.793 --> 00:40:38.765
Business School Accelerated the information we need,
00:40:38.780 --> 00:40:44.067
how can our audience keep in touch with you and continue supporting your word
00:40:43.983 --> 00:40:49.423
yeah well you know definitely buy the book build the damn thing available wherever books are sold
00:40:49.331 --> 00:41:00.118
also you can listen to We have a podcast called build the damn thing it's a narrative podcast it's very much it's like cereal for entrepreneurships that's why I said the people it's not an interview format
00:41:00.007 --> 00:41:06.591
but we talked with a lot of leaders about their story and kind of like how did they do what they did
00:41:06.471 --> 00:41:10.696
and so definitely would say listen to their you can reach me on pretty much
00:41:10.567 --> 00:41:21.850
all the social media except I don't have Tick-Tock which I need to get for another reason I have like a bazillion other ones but but Instagram Twitter LinkedIn
00:41:21.820 --> 00:41:26.873
Facebook even like all these are ones that you can connect with me on I'm Katherine Finney.
00:41:26.978 --> 00:41:37.937
If you Google them like the first Katherine thing that comes up and I'm the only black Catherine Fanny I think it so that makes it even easier for every hand it's but
00:41:37.844 --> 00:41:46.768
but yeah and and feel free to reach out with love to hear how people are using the book and how the book is been able to help them build their companies
00:41:46.666 --> 00:42:01.261
one of my favorite things about writing the book amazing thank you so much for we'll make sure we have the book the podcast and your social is linked in the show notes to make it really easy for folks to find thank you again for joining me thank you so much I still appreciate it
00:42:01.736 --> 00:42:16.142
absolutely that is it for this week's episode of balanced black girl thank you so much for tuning in and I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Kathryn Finney
00:42:16.139 --> 00:42:24.811
head to the show notes to learn more about Katherine to check out her latest book build the damn thing and to get special discount codes and offers from this week sponsors
00:42:24.746 --> 00:42:31.536
next week we are wrapping up the black women in business series before we begin our year-end reflection on
00:42:31.380 --> 00:42:40.484
the show so if you have not yet joined our community on Geneva make sure you join us there so that you can hear all about our year-end reflection.
00:42:40.545 --> 00:42:48.136
And just get extra content and Community Support to supplement your listening so we'll have the link to join the community.
00:42:48.179 --> 00:42:57.904
In the show notes will be back next Tuesday but in the meantime you can keep in touch with us on our blog at balanced black girl.com our newsletter mirror notes.
00:42:57.964 --> 00:43:01.838
In the community on Geneva or on the socials.
00:43:02.000 --> 00:43:15.032
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.