Over the years there has been an exponential increase in the number and popularity of business incubators. For start-ups, incubators can play a crucial role in their development and eventual success. Most statistics suggest that businesses that develop within incubators have a much higher success rate than those that develop on their own.
Incubators are programs specifically developed to support the growth of the companies that they work with, through the provision of resources directly and also through their networks. These organizations do however tend to vary with respect to their entry requirements and the level of involvement they have with the businesses with whom they work. Some are just workspaces, while others provide classes, access to angel investor networks etc.
Are there any downsides though? The answer is a resounding yes. If your business idea has fundamental flaws or you’ve failed to do adequate initial research, then there is little benefit that an incubator can provide. Your business should on its own be able to create some sense of value, the incubator is not a cure- just a supplement.
So if you’ve made the decision to join an incubator- what next?
- Create a solid business plan, make sure it’s rigorous and fully addresses the scope of the market that you’re trying to target.
- Decide on what kind of support you need. Is it just office space? Do you want to be able to network with other entrepreneurs? Do you need access to funding sources?
- Have you created a plan of how you expect your business to grow and develop within the incubator? This will help you decide which resources to really focus on
- How long are you willing to commit to being within the incubator?
- What’s the reputation of the incubator that you’d like to join? How successful are their entrepreneurs?
Have you ever been part of an incubator? Share your experience!
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