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Okay, maybe not every successful founder. But it’s true for the 70+ startups I’ve worked closely with over the past seven years as I’ve grown and led HearstLab. Our focus is on investing in pre-seed, seed and Series A startups led by women and the founders in our portfolio are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. The one trait common among the most successful founders? Being a great communicator.

Why Communication is Critical for Entrepreneurs

Our team has evaluated thousands of startups, and we’ve seen that those led by founders that are excellent communicators stand out. They inspire as they describe their vision, leading to a stronger connection with investors, who often have to relay that inspiration back to their team to get a group on board to invest. More importantly, that inspirational vision is critical to their employees, who are often brilliant people looking to be part of building something big being led by someone they believe in. 

Building Bridges with Words

At a startup, you’re not just selling a product or service; you're selling a story, clearly conveying how your startup solves a critical pain point to a potential client. Founders are often the first and only salesperson for the startup’s first phase. Successfully closing the startup’s first few clients is crucial, especially before you have case studies, client referrals and well-established credibility to rely on.

Persuasive Communication Isn’t One Way

A well-communicated pitch can be the difference between securing funding and closing doors. But persuasive communication is not merely about speaking; it's about listening, adapting, and responding. It's a dynamic skill that allows entrepreneurs to not only navigate difficult conversations but to turn them into opportunities for growth and partnership.

A Voice for Leadership

Communication is leadership verbalized. For a startup to grow, it needs a leader who can consistently articulate a clear and compelling vision and adapt to the ups and downs that any early-stage startup goes through. Great founders become true linchpins, holding their teams together through tough times and empowering them through times of growth.

Final Thoughts

As we continue to support the growth and success of women-led tech startups at HearstLab, I’m reminded every day of the transformative power of communication. It is the lifeblood of any startup, and for every entrepreneur, it’s a decisive factor in their journey toward success. 

If you're a founder with a vision, a dream ready to be launched, ask yourself: How well can you share that dream with the world? With future employees? With future clients? With future investors? Your answer could very well be the key to your startup's future.

Lisa Burton is an advocate for women in tech, holding a Ph.D. from MIT and serving on advisory boards that promote innovation and entrepreneurship. At HearstLab, she is at the forefront of supporting women-led tech startups to achieve their full potential.