At our recent BWN Lunch event, we heard from Sue de Bievre, CEO of accounting software Beany.
Sue (pictured, on the left) is one of the female-led businesses chosen by global network SheEO to invest in and support, to help her grow and take the business global.
As part of the lunch, we heard from SheEO Activator Jenny Rudd (pictured, right), who explained the process of becoming an Activator (one of the women giving money to support the Ventures) and how, as an Activator, she helped Sue accomplish her dreams – all through the power of women in business!
Following this event, we asked Sue a quick Q&A to get to understand her business and the challenges she faced.
In a nutshell, what is Beany and how does it make a difference to small businesses?
We’re accountants, but reinvented for small business. We built smart technology and paired it with even smarter accountants. We’re small business experts that help our clients be more prosperous and remove all the hassle of their compliance accounting.
Why did you start Beany? What were the opportunities you saw? What did you want to do differently as a business owner and for your customers?
I started Beany because technology made a new approach possible and as a small business owner myself, I wanted to offer a much better service than was being offered by traditional accounting businesses.
I also wanted to recast the traditional model for the Beany team and give them much greater flexibility and autonomy about how and where they worked.
What were some of the challenges you faced as a woman in business?
98% of the world’s capital is controlled by men so it is perhaps no surprise that female entrepreneurs only receive 2% of the available capital – that constrains every female led business. It’s hard to be ambitious and grow a global business without sufficient funding.
There’s a lot of research now on the topic and things are slowly changing – in a pitch scenario, women get asked negative questions from potential investors 67% of the time – and men get asked positive questions 66% of the time – in other words, you’re constantly on the defence and that makes it tough to raise cash.
Why do you think women face challenges such as yours when trying to grow their business? What are some of the barriers?
Lack of money is one of the key constraints. Rod Drury (who I admire greatly) raised enough money to sustain the losses of the early years – he could build a global business because he had the time and the money. Women much often have to bootstrap (grow through ploughing back profits) – this takes a lot longer and usually won’t get you to the scale of a well funded business.
How did SheEO help you and why would you recommend it to other female-led ventures?
SheEO connects women to women with capital – simple as that. All of a sudden, the playing field tips your way – this is what it must be like to be a man raising capital!
You have rational conversations with smart, informed people who are looking to support you and your business – the relief of these conversations after the pain of the male dominated ones cannot be under-estimated. So, yes, definitely recommend!
What are your top ways women can support other women in the business community?
Collaborate, share, talk, laugh, support, be human with each other and listen to the stories of your peers. Build community with other female enterpreneurs
Anything else you’d like to add?
The more we talk about gender (and ethnic) parity and the reasons why we need to address it, the better.