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We recently had a great opportunity to sneak some questions to Liz Claman, Fox Business Network about Warren Buffett, women entrepreneurs and Angel Investors. We would like to thank Liz for the opportunity! We highlighted some interesting tips, insights and suggestions from Liz for the women attending the upcoming Own It Ventures Conference on October 29th, who are pitching to Investors, the Media and Retailers like TeleBrands and pitching to get onto QVC.
1. How can we create a way to educate women investors who invest in businesses (such as Pampered Chef that Mr. Buffett bought in 2002) that create employment? (Does Mr. Buffett have any women who are shadowing him to learn his craft?)
Liz Claman: "Educating women investors is really no different from educating any motivated investor. You have to read, study, and become knowledgeable. One of the best ways to do that is to study how smart, successful investors, like Warren Buffettt, or Benjamin Graham or founder of Vanguard Jack Bogle have done it. You never want to use one source of information to self-educate. I use panoply of sources: the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Fox Business, Marketwatch.com and Smart Money Magazine are great outlets for the retail investor. As for investing in businesses that create employment, small businesses are the true driver of employment in this nation so it is a good bet that when you invest in a small business with a big idea, there is going to be some job creation attached. Buffettt thinks in terms of buying great companies that have a 'moat' of competitiveness around them. Are they the best or at least top two in what they do? Do passionate managers run them? He asks these questions.
2. Taxes and small companies – small companies range in size from the self-employed through to 500. Some cannot afford a tax increase – how can we avoid taxing the smaller companies to death?
Liz Claman: "You could make any tax on any business less painful if you make their path to success a smoother, easier one. What does that mean? Less onerous regulation, that slows growth. Regulation is obviously needed but rules that generate 'busy' work or redundancy when it comes to paperwork is really, in its own way, a tax on small businesses that cannot pay the resources to hire someone to do that paperwork. My father was a surgeon with his own private practice and when the insurance companies reared their heads in the '80's, the paperwork was so overwhelming that he had to hire an extra head just to deal with it. That hurt his profits, and ultimately prevented him from hiring more nurses. Streamlining regulation would help immensely."
3. Has Mr. Buffett ever thought about investing (money, contacts, skills and knowledge) to the underserved and struggling entrepreneurs and small business owners: women and minorities? Both Segments start companies 2 to 1 compared to men have the largest potential of fueling jobs to the US, revitalizing communities and rebuilding Main Street America due to the nature of businesses they generally own.
Liz Claman: "Again, Warren Buffettt doesn't care who's running a great company. It could be a man, woman or alien from Mars but if its run well and he sees major opportunity for growth, he will buy it. You could argue that simply by buying businesses run by women, such as Pampered Chef or Business Wire (run by Cathy Baron Tamraz); he is encouraging many women entrepreneurs to dream. They should study those companies, see what the CEOs did right and did well, and then copy it with their own twist and personality. In addition, Buffettt always stresses that if you follow your passion, success will follow you.
4. Doesn't it make more sense to institute a program that encourages entrepreneurship and small business growth through funding options and mentorship rather than providing the Federal Government more tax revenue to waste?
Liz Claman: "The Free market tends to inspire true successful capitalism, but government can help in certain ways too. Ideally, a hybrid of the two, heavy on the free market side, can inspire small business creation. In the end, talk to any entrepreneur and there's a culture there of risk-taking and optimism that helps propel success."
In addition, Liz had her own question she thought our readers are asking. What advice would you give to women who want to embark on a career in business?
Liz Claman: "If you're passionate about business, you will succeed. The most successful people tend to be those who live and breathe what they do and love every minute of it. Once you figure out what you want to do, keep a laser focus on the goal and sink your teeth in. Do not let go even when you hit obstacles. That is part of life. Persist through thick and thin and you will succeed."
A few facts about Women, Angel Investors, and Funding Women Owned Businesses: In July 2011, The Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire reports, "the percentage of women angel investors has remained relatively constant over the last five years with women representing about 15 percent of angel investors. We have seen a slight increase in the number of women-owned businesses that are presenting to angel investors since 2006, when the percentage of women entrepreneurs presenting to angels was 13 percent and that has increased to 20 percent in both 2009 and 2010. " http://wsbe.unh.edu/unh-campus-journal-2011-07-20
Hope to see you at the Own It Ventures Conference on October 29, 2011 where women entrepreneurs can pitch to Angel Investors, the Media and Retailers like TeleBrands, and buyers who find product for QVC. www.ownitventures.com, 908-852-4200.
Manish Israni, VP Market Research for TeleBrands will be personally viewing 6 product pitches with 2 alternates at the conference.
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