How a Business Accelerator Can Help Your Startup?
Starting a business is hard, and growing it can be even harder. But entrepreneurs don’t have to go through the early stages of their business alone.
A business accelerator could be just what you need if your business is no longer in its early stages and you need more help.
Here’s how business accelerators can help you get your business off to a good start and how to decide if you should apply to one.
What is a Business Accelerator?
Business accelerators give new businesses the resources and help they need to grow quickly. Some of these resources are accessible to expert mentors, funding and investors, mentoring from peers, workspaces, and marketing technology. You can use an application process to get into business accelerators.
Once your application is accepted, you will join a group of businesses that have things in common, like the type of product they sell or the market they want to reach. Business accelerator programs usually last between three and six months and end with a Demo Day, where each startup owner gets to show off their business to investors, the media, and potential customers.
Business Accelerator Vs. Business Incubator
A business incubator is another option for new businesses. This is a place where founders can work on their ideas and build their businesses from the ground up.
Business incubators are groups that help new businesses get started by giving them management training, office space, and venture capital funding.
Even though they do some of the same things, business accelerators and business incubators are not the same thing.
Some of the most important things about a business accelerator are:
- Fixed duration.
- Seminar-based education.
- Intense mentorship model.
- Competitive and cyclical selection process.
- Uses set cohorts of businesses.
- May help with assembling a board of directors.
On the other hand, these things are more true of a business incubator:
- Open-ended duration.
- Fee-based and does not take equity.
- Minimal but tactical mentorship model.
- Educates when necessary.
- Noncompetitive selection process.
- May enter and exit on a rolling basis.
- Done at the very early stages of business development.
Is Your Business Ready for an Accelerator?
If your startup sounds like any of the following, you and your team may be ready for a business accelerator.
You’re Seeking Access to Networks and Mentors
Accelerator programs give business owners the chance to connect with different networks and mentors who can help them through the early stages of their business.
Ask yourself, “Do the entrepreneurs in the accelerator have experience and connections that will help your business?” when choosing an accelerator. Getting to know the right entrepreneurs can help your business gain more traction and bring in more money.
Your Timing is Right
When a business has its first customers and is starting to pick up speed is the best time to apply for an accelerator. Accelerators are great for business owners who have strategies and plans in place but are still looking for investors and want to help their company grow.
Also, before you apply to an accelerator, you should ask yourself if you have the time to commit to it and if its programs are a good fit for your business.
If you join an accelerator program, you’ll spend at least 5–15 hours a week meeting with people and completing set goals.
You’re Looking to Scale Your Business
With accelerator programs, a business can grow quickly, but there must be a market for it. In a business accelerator program, it’s important to know your target market and how much money you expect to make. Investors want a return on their money, so make sure your business can make enough money to pay them back.
You’ve Done Your Research on Different Programs
Before you apply to an accelerator program, you should do some research. Talk to alumni to find out what they thought of the program.
Ask them what worked for them, what problems they faced, and what the program was worth. This will help you figure out if it’s a good fit for your business and if it has experience and connections in the same market as your business.
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