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IT’S A SIMPLE QUESTION with a complex answer. Will your rocket ship of a business startup be better off joining a local business accelerator or not?
If you have a ground breaking, earth shattering, market dominator in waiting in your business plan you might find yourself considering a local startup incubator or accelerator as a way to find your footing as you launch your new business.
People use incubators for a variety of purposes with varying degrees of success. Some are pleased with the services. Others think the distractions outweigh the advantages. And no two incubators are the same. And no two startup teams are alike.
Services these organizations provide can include inexpensive rent, access to shared conference rooms and shared services, short term rent agreements, free or reduced-cost consulting services from accountants, lawyers, or business consultants, assistance in seeking government grants and identifying sources of capital, assistance in marketing and public relations. Some facilities have specialized equipment that would be otherwise prohibitively expenses to purchase. Others have entrepreneur-in-residence programs that attract successful entrepreneurs to mentor startup teams.
Educational programs are also common as are efforts to help new teams network with professionals and investors in their communities. Less common but not rare are incubators that provide small amounts of capital in exchange for ownership interests in their client companies. As you might imagine, the quality of the services and the professionals providing those services vary from incubator to incubator.
So, what should you do? First, ask yourself why you are considering an incubator. What do you hope to accomplish by participating? And then evaluate the available options as you would any other business proposition. Diligence the programs you are considering. Network with participating teams and graduates of the program to evaluate its merit for your business proposition. Meet with the professionals and read the fine print about the terms and conditions of participating.
Once you have completed your diligence make a decision and move on. You have plenty to do ahead of you.
Next week - What crashing a funeral can tell you about your management team.
The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
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