Should you consider applying for an incubator program?
Would your business benefit from participating in an incubator program and what exactly is a business incubator program? How can you find the right program for your startup and what are the benefits that you can get out of it? Here are some things you need to know to better understand how such a program can help elevate your business to the next level.
Incubator Program 101 – Understanding the Basics
Basically, a business incubator refers to a specially designed program that aims to support the development of young entrepreneurial companies. Most incubator programs provide help with all the basics from accounting/financial management and business etiquette to marketing assistance and everything else in between. The program will even provide you with an office space and shared administrative services as well as access to bank loans, angel investors and/or venture capital.
Participating in an incubator program can give you the leverage that you need to take your business to the next level. According to the data collected by the U.S. Small Business Organization, 87% of startups that successfully completed a business incubator program are more likely to thrive and stay in business. Compare this to the average success rate of all companies which is pegged at 44% and you can see the great difference it can make.
How do incubator programs work?
Since business incubators do not serve all companies, you would need to apply for admission to be considered for such a program. The acceptance criteria may vary from one program to the next but generally, you need to have a viable business idea and a feasible business plan to be admitted.
The program may then provide you with the capital that you need to implement your ideas in exchange for a small bit of equity in your company. In addition, you will be matched with a mentor who will make sure that you get everything you need to increase your chances of success.
Tips on finding the right business incubator program
- Do your research. There are a lot of incubator programs available so do your research to find which program will work best for you. For best results, choose a program that operates in your town or nearby areas and one that focuses on your niche. Remember, an incubator program that serves all industries may not be able to offer you what you need to succeed.
- Consider the success rate. You can determine the quality of an incubator program by its graduates so don't hesitate to ask around for their feedback.
- Get to know who you will be working with. If the program attracts the best experts, then you are probably on the right track. So, go for it!
Participating in a business incubator program can be just what you need to ensure the success of your startup so maybe it's about time you consider it.