A business incubator is an organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections. The National Business Incubation Association defines business incubators as a catalyst tool for either regional or national economic development. Your business not only gets access to a potential buffet of capital choices but also a host of intangible benefits including mentorship, expertise and networking. These resources allow companies and ideas to take shape while operating at a lower cost during the early stages of business incubation.
Working with a business incubator allows an entrepreneur to work with a diverse set of similarly-minded entrepreneurs. This helps to increase their confidence when speaking with other people about their business as well as create meaningful connections. Also, some business incubators are managed by Universities or Colleges, they provide a talent pool of young professionals eager to gain relevant work experience through job shadows, internships or positions.
Benefits of joining a business incubator:
Support system during the “treacherous” early-stage waters
Access to a vast network of mentors, experts and industry partners
High-tech infrastructure available for entrepreneurs
A challenging and inspiring environment
Seeing the benefits it is very easy to get lured by it and have an eagerness to join a business incubator as soon as possible. But not all the incubators are beneficial for you.
So here are 5 things you must check before joining an incubator:
1.Do your research
Before joining an incubator you must research the major benefits of startup Incubators offered, the cost of being involved, and make certain that the whole package matches the needs of your company. You don't want to waste your valuable time and money so look closely and specifically at:
Listening to a mentor increases the chances of success because it gives the entrepreneur access to knowledge on paths to avoid that can slow down business development. A recent survey by Sage found that 93 percent of startup owners say mentorship is crucial to success. Mentorship panel is an important factor to consider while looking for an incubator. So do check if the entrepreneurs and specialists in the incubator have experiences and networks that are beneficial for your startup or not.
Many incubators ask you to change your business location, so be sure the location is agreeable for you and your business. Also, consider the networks you have built at your current location.
Going through a business incubator requires some rigorous training and educational seminars. So be sure that you can handle those that too at the time when your business needs regular management.
2. Prepare your pitch
Your pitch presents the briefing of your company. It shows why you are different from others and what your USP is. Focus on how your business will succeed, what is your marketing strategy. You need to give a full grasp of all these without being bored. So, it should be well prepared and well-rehearsed. Remember, the incubator wants companies that can succeed, not only because they have an equity stake, but also for recruiting future investment capital and promising companies.
3. Assemble your team
No business can grow or stand without an efficient team. Business incubators look for a strong founder with a strong team and experience. So make sure that your team is skilled and experienced in their respective areas.
Networking allows you access to opportunities you might not be able to find on your own. Your network has the potential to provide you with insight into different fields, information on what potential employers look for and advice on how you can improve professionally. It is an important asset for any entrepreneur. Make sure that the incubator that you wish to join provides you with ample opportunities for networking so that you can meet contacts to further increase your business.
Read out the reasons why networking is essential for your career:
Some reasons why networking should be an essential aspect if you truly want to build your career. Click here.
5. Determine what you want to give.
To get accepted into an incubator is typically an exchange of equity in your company. Ask yourself how much you are willing to give to be in the incubator and make certain it matches the needs and goals of the incubator. Have your legal counsel or advisor to guide you.
Also, read the 5 questions to ask before entering an incubator:
I present the five questions to ask before joining an incubator. Click here.
Share your experience of joining a business incubator in the comment section.
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If you want to know any further information about the startup ecosystem or have any mind-boggling ideas, do refer to the other blogs at OpenGrowth. If you have any suggestions, do let us know in the comment section below.