Ideas about the power of confidence get thrown around a lot, but Ivy Co-Founder Alex Schinasi experienced the impact of confidence in business firsthand when a change of mindset changed everything for her and her co-founder.
What’s one thing you wish you knew as a first-time founder?
Know your numbers. So many founders are unclear about the opportunity they’re tackling. What’s your total addressable market? What will you charge your users? It’s important for you throughout your fundraising journey to understand the unit economics behind your idea, so you can show a clear strategy for scale.
What’s one mistake you made early on? What did it teach you?
I let investors bring my confidence down. As much as you’re told you’ll get a lot of “NOs”, it’s hard for that not to impact your ego. A few years into our startup journey, my co-founder Lee and I went to see a business coach who told us our only flaw was our lack of confidence. This gave us the boost needed to keep going, to change our mindset, and to believe in ourselves again.
What are your top three tips for creating a pitch that stands out?
Make sure that your pitch outlines the magnitude of the opportunity you’re tackling. Investors need to walk away with a feeling of “holy s…. this has the potential to be HUGE”. Don’t be fluffy; be concrete and include lots of numbers to show that you have a data-driven approach to your business.
What’s your best partnership-building advice?
Always very carefully consider the different partnership opportunities that come your way. Don’t enter a partnership unless it brings very clear value to your growth. Business partnerships can be overrated.
When tough moments hit, what do you tell yourself?
I’m a big believer in positive visualization. It’s a practice that Lee and I got into about 18 months ago, and our journey has become exponentially easier since then. On the tough days, I take time to meditate on the positive aspects of my life—this allows me to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones, and to power through.
How do you balance social impact with scale?
Establish strong company values and make sure they are included in your hiring process. As you scale, you’ll be unable to have total control over every aspect of your business, so you’ll need to trust your team to push these values forward in everything that they do.
How do mama-run businesses benefit society at large?
Businesses run by mothers show that women can achieve anything. Motherhood is one of the toughest, most tiring journeys of our lives, and being able to manage this alongside growing a business is nothing short of exceptional.
In the fundraising process, we know how important it is to demonstrate founder/market fit. What are your top 3 tips?
Show that you understand your market with data, not with emotion.
Demonstrate that you’re the right person to tackle this based on your past experience.
Show that you are excellent at team building and that you’ll pull the right talent to execute.
Why is right now a great time to be a mama in business?
It has never been easier for mothers to build a business from scratch. You can build a website, design a logo, and open social media accounts within the span of a few hours and in the comfort of your own home. Access to technology gives moms the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere. It’s amazing!