Thanks to the technological advancements that are happening all around us, it has become a lot easier to start a business. Modern-day entrepreneurs have an easier time finding new customers and managing them as well as streamlining their operations. However, this doesn’t guarantee instant success for startups.
Participating in a startup incubator is very helpful for businesses in their infancy as they lay the foundation for a sustainable business. These programs provide business advice, workspace, resources, seed funding, contacts, mentoring, and training.
Some of the obstacles that they help businesses overcome include:
- Capital shortfall
- A lack of focus
- Having the wrong team in place
- Unattractive unit economics
How to choose the best incubator
If you are an entrepreneur who’s thinking about applying to an incubator or accelerator, here are some of the things you should look out for:
- Do your research
Various incubator programs vary widely when it comes to the industries they cater to, the services they offer, and the level of expertise. You need to understand how all these align with your needs before choosing the right incubator.
Feel free to ask for referrals and don’t forget to look at the growth of the businesses who worked with the incubator. This can be a great pointer to the success that you should expect for your business in the long run.
- Make sure that the timing is right
Choosing the wrong incubator is a huge mistake but entering the incubator at the wrong time is a death sentence. If you apply too early before your startup has enough traction for the incubator will most likely have you turned down. Also, if you’re already generating substantial revenue you won’t need to enroll in such programs.
- Location is key
Choose the location wisely. It plays a significant role in the success of your company in its early stages. Make sure that the incubator is in the best place for your particular industry.
For example, if you’re starting a tech company, you should participate in a program in Silicon Valley. If it is a fashion business, try an incubator in Italy and so on.
- Can they expand your network?
The ultimate goal when working with an incubator is to expand your network. That is the only way that your business can grow. People are the most valuable thing about an incubator. So you need to check who is involved and try as much as possible to get close to them.
Tapping into these kinds of relationships opens more doors for you so that you can forge new relationships.
- Look at the mentorship
Having the right support system in place makes a huge difference in the outcome for startups. Generally speaking, the depth of an incubator’s mentorship community is directly proportional to the success rate of the program.
Overall, the incubator that you finally decide to work with should be reflective of the industry your business is in and the results that you hope to achieve. Before you set out to find the best incubator for your startup, you first need to decide what to accomplish and what problem the company will help you address. Afterward, come up with the perfect pitch that will wow the application committee.