Making room at the cap table: A new plan for promoting diversity in tech
It’s no secret that the tech world struggles with diversity. Women, African Americans and Latinos respectively comprise 33%, 8% and 7% of the total tech workforce and just 20%, 5% and 5% of its leadership, despite evidence of a correlation between diversity and success.
As an industry, tech has succeeded in normalizing the topic of workforce diversity, and while the results are slow coming, there is movement, and that’s worth acknowledging.
But there are other ways we should be thinking about increasing diversity in tech, and that’s on the cap table. The secret is that it’s not actually hard to do, but it isn’t the norm yet. We did it at my company, and it’s worth demystifying the process so you can do it, too.
People like me don’t get hired — or funded
Before we get into it, it is important to understand something often called “people like me” bias. Human beings unconsciously relate to, and therefore choose to work with, people that look and think like they do. It’s a cognitive bias that is hard-wired into our evolution, and it’s extremely hard to overcome.
Investing in female- and minority-led startups will naturally create more diversity in startup cultures because “people like me” will start to reflect the diversity of those companies’ founders. It’s not particularly shocking, then, that according to Solv’s 2021 EEO report, we are 45% female, including roughly 33% of our technical teams.
The problem is that “people like me” also affects who gets funded in the first place, not just who gets hired and promoted within a startup. Among venture capital partners, 80% are men, and they are overwhelmingly white. Women represent just 13% of U.S. venture capital partners, and African Americans and Latinos make up just 3% each. Unsurprisingly, while 40% of new startups had female founders, they received just 2.2% of all 2020 venture capital.
As it turns out, we don’t just have a diversity problem in tech employment. We have a diversity problem in tech investment as well.
It’s time to take a new approach
What if the key to achieving diversity in the startup world was extending tech investing opportunities to more women and minority investors? Let me spell it out: Making room at the (cap) table for those who typically have not had such access enables wealth creation. And with wealth creation comes the capacity to invest in other companies and founders, or to become entrepreneurs themselves.
At the closing of our last financing round, I called a longtime friend, investor and thought partner, Kara Nortman, to celebrate the moment. I was emotionally done with fundraising and ready to get back to building my company, but she was direct and unapologetic: “We’ve talked about cap table diversity for a long time. You have an opportunity to open up some space in this round to women and especially women of color. If you say yes, I’ll help you make it happen.” With her push and inspiration, that’s exactly what we did over 10 days.
We set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) focused on female investors. We reached out through emails and text messages to the female angel investors in our network and asked everyone to invite at least one woman of color who is an accredited investor to consider investing in our round. Then we held two Zoom meetings and delivered our pitch, just like we would for any other investor. Looking at this group, I saw the people who actually use our platform, and I knew immediately how powerful this approach could be.
To be clear, this was not just a publicity stunt or token gesture of corporate social responsibility: We raised $3.5 million from this group over the course of those 10 days. Sixty percent of the SPV investors were women of color and one-third of them had never made a venture investment before.
Here’s how you can do this, too
So you care about cap table diversity and want to make it happen? Good! We’ve already “won some and learned some” on this, so here’s my advice to help you get started:
Things to Consider When Working with a Local SEO Company for Growing Your Local Business
Local SEO – search engine optimization – strategies are not like your usual SEO techniques. Whereas your usual SEO strategies target a large, often global audience, local SEO caters to a much smaller crowd, often reduced to the likes of the geographical boundaries of a town, city, or state.
Through local SEO, it’s possible to target an audience from a specific geographical location, which helps businesses rank for local search terms, make it to local business listings on Google, and incorporate local backlinks efficiently.
Focusing on local SEO is important for local businesses for several reasons.
Firstly, businesses can increase their visibility in local search results resulting in more website traffic and sales. Local SEO can also help build trust and credibility with potential local customers by providing accurate and up-to-date information about their business through optimized website content. Finally, it can help businesses outsmart their local competition by becoming more approachable to the locals.
Given how important local SEO is for such businesses, it must be done properly. For that, you have to bring in experts well-versed in local search engine optimization. Before you do that, however, here are a few things you must consider.
What Services They Offer and What Their Approach Is
Local SEO companies offer a range of services that can help your business improve its local online presence, appeal to more local customers, and increase revenue. Some of the services they should offer should include the following.
- Local Keyword Research: Through local keyword research, the agency can help you work out the most relevant and high-traffic keywords for your business in your local area.
- On-page Optimization: This involves optimizing your website’s content improve its relevance and search engine rankings locally.
- Google Business Optimization: The agency will optimize your Google Business listing to ensure it appears prominently in Google’s local search results. In most cases, a direct search for your business will highlight your business profile right at the top of the results.
- Local Link Building: Local link building can help you acquire links from other high-quality local websites to improve your website’s authority and search engine rankings.
- Citation Building: This helps build accurate and consistent business listings across various online directories to improve your local visibility.
- Reputation Management: Reputation management makes it possible to monitor and manage your online reputation through strategies like online reviews and social media oversight and management.
What are Other People Saying About Them
We’ll explain this with an example.
Charleston, South Carolina, is home to several landscaping companies, and when you Google for such services near Charleston, it will show you a ton of options. However, for smaller businesses, ranking in this list is difficult. That’s why American Artists Landscaping, Inc. turned to a Charleston SEO Company known as Mr. Marketing and has been working with them for two years now.
Thanks to the Charleston-based local SEO services provided by the agency, the company has now grown from a small business to a six-figure local business in under a year. That’s the power of local SEO. It can help you grow, get discovered by the locals, and become one of the best in your area from scratch.
As this SEO agency helped American Artists Landscaping, Inc. with their business successfully, the company had nothing but good things to say about the agency.
Similarly, you need to go through Google Reviews and other review sites to see how good the SEO agency is before working with them. Always look for local clients the agencies helped because your focus is on localized search engine optimization.
Get an Idea About Their Previous Clients and Success Stories
An SEO company is only as good as its clients’ success stories. While reviews can help you know about the company’s work, looking into these success stories or case studies can help you understand how they operate and run things. It’s also a good way to check if they have experience with a business from your industry.
Check how they helped their clients, what client SEO problems they solved, how they impacted the local SEO rankings afterward, what kind of strategies they deployed, what is their approach to different on-page and technical SEO problems, etc. The more you familiarize yourself with these things, the better you can understand what the SEO agency’s game plan might be with your case.
Converse with Them to See If Their Vision Matches Your Expectations
By now, you’re already aware of a lot of things the local SEO company does to help its clients. Now it’s time to talk to them and see if their vision matches your expectations. Here, the agency will mostly highlight your problems and how they tend to solve them. If you think their plans and strategies will go with your brand and can help you achieve your targets, by all means, strike a deal with them and get to work.
Once all this is done, you’ll be working with a local SEO agency that not only knows what it’s doing but can also get you the success you’re eyeing in the local market.
5 Reasons Why Storytelling Should Be a Priority for Marketers
In today’s fast-paced digital marketing world, capturing the attention of potential customers can be challenging. With so much noise and clutter online, marketers must find innovative ways to stand out. One highly effective technique is storytelling.
Storytelling has existed for thousands of years and has always been a powerful tool for engaging and connecting with people. However, in marketing, storytelling is often overlooked or undervalued.
In this post, we will explore why storytelling should be a priority for marketers and how it can help them achieve their goals.
1. Develop Deeper Connections with Customers
The success of any marketing campaign relies heavily on the ability to create a strong connection with customers. Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to do this, as it allows marketers to communicate their message engaging and relatable. By creating stories that evoke emotion, marketers can make their brand stand out from the competition and form deeper connections with potential customers.
You can also use storytelling to create an emotional narrative that resonates with your target audience. This will help build trust and loyalty between customers and your brand, allowing you to cultivate a loyal customer base more likely to become long-term customers.
2. Create Memorable Messages
Storytelling has the power to create memorable messages that stay with people long after they have encountered them. This is especially important in the digital age, where people are inundated with daily information and ads.
If you want to make sure your message stands out, storytelling can help you create content that is more memorable and engaging than traditional methods of advertising. With a good grasp of Sanderson’s Laws and the crafting of stories, you can create messages that will stay with people for a long time. The stories can be used to build brand identity and create an unforgettable customer experience.
3. Improve Conversion Rates
Storytelling is a powerful tool for improving conversion rates, as it effectively draws in potential customers and keeps them engaged throughout the customer journey. By creating compelling stories that resonate emotionally with your target audience, you can ensure that your message is more likely to be remembered and influence potential customers.
Storytelling can also help you create a sense of urgency, as it allows you to paint a vivid picture of how the customer’s life would be improved if they took action now. This will encourage them to take action and convert to your offer.
4. Reach New Audiences
The primary goal for any marketer is to reach new audiences and expand their customer base. However, with so many people online, it can take time to stand out from the competition. Storytelling offers a unique way for marketers to capture the attention of potential customers and draw them in with an engaging narrative.
Stories can be crafted to appeal to different groups of people, allowing marketers to reach new audiences and expand their customer base. This is especially important for brands trying to break into new markets or reach a younger audience.
5. Enhance Brand Image
Brand image is consumers’ perception of your brand and its products or services. Storytelling can be a great way to enhance the brand image, as it allows you to communicate the values and mission of your company engagingly. This will enable you to create a strong impression on potential customers, helping them develop an affinity with your brand and become more likely to choose your products or services over the competition.
Storytelling is an essential tool for marketers that should be noticed. Through storytelling, marketers can create deeper customer connections, develop memorable messages, improve conversion rates, and reach new audiences. It can also help enhance brand image and create a strong impression on potential customers.
How John Accardi Made CRAVEBOX a Top-Selling Amazon Brand
John Accardi started CRAVEBOX in 2014 from his apartment. At the time, he had just dropped out of a Georgetown University PhD program, had no savings, no investors, and no business experience.
Accardi says the decision to start CRAVEBOX was risky and the odds of success didn’t look good. “At the time, I was so excited about starting my own business, I didn’t really recognize all the risk. I just wanted to work for myself and wake up every morning with the freedom to tackle my own to do list instead of someone else’s.”
For the first 3 years, CRAVEBOX operated out of John’s apartment and made no profit. John stayed persistent and had a gut feeling that he was making progress and that success was around the corner.
John said, “Those first few years were frustrating because it felt like every day was a disappointment, but the constant failure motivated me. I got to the point where I told myself I would try forever. I was giving guitar lessons on the side to pay the bills and I decided that I’d work on CRAVEBOX until it either succeeded or I was an old man.” This long-term mentality worked because sure enough, CRAVEBOX started growing. John learned how to optimize his Amazon listings and CRAVEBOX moved into larger and larger warehouse spaces and its staff grew.
Now CRAVEBOX operates out of a 60,000 sqft warehouse space in North Wales, PA with an impressive staff. “I never thought CRAVEBOX would become this successful. It’s been an incredible journey,” says Accardi.
To become a top-selling Amazon brand, John first focused on creating great images. “I realized early on that your product’s main image on Amazon is the most important part of the listing. So I learned photography and most importantly, photoshop, to take and edit fantastic images.” CRAVEBOX products now have the best-quality images in the category which gives the listings an advantage over competitors.
Accardi also focused on price. John says, “To be a top selling Amazon brand, you need to look very closely at your toughest competitors and make sure you are offering a better value. Your product either needs to be better or your price needs to be lower. This will determine your Amazon rank and visibility.” The key to offering great value is of course an efficient business and operation.
Lastly, to build CRAVEBOX into a top-selling Amazon brand, Accardi focused on reviews. “Amazon customers are tough and the only way to build a sustainable product and brand is to sell quality products that naturally collect a high review average. This is challenging but if you can offer a better product than your competitors, you will garner better reviews and rise to the top of the category.”
John is excited to continue growing CRAVEBOX. He is especially excited about their holiday products: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. He’s also excited about new CRAVEBOX products they’re introducing, for example: CRAVEBOX Kids, CRAVEBOX 110count, and CRAVEBOX Cookies+Crackers.
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