Running your startup is an overwhelming challenge without help and guidance from people who have already done it successfully. And here comes the importance of a startup incubator or accelerator; it provides founders with assistance and helps to guide startups.
Statistically, the startup failure rate is above 80%. scary though but data shows that founders who receive help when building their startup have a higher chance of success and growth as well as attracting additional investment.
So what a startup can get from an accelerator or incubator? Some of the top benefits include:
- Focus on strategies that have the highest impact on growth
- Create customer acquisition channels that scale cost effectively
- Develop sustainable business models and revenue sources
- Get venture funding
- Make connections with key partners and acquirers
Don’t jump to conclusions; those are not the only benefits your startup will get. But getting accepted to an incubator or accelerator isn’t simple.
Applying for an incubator is an exercise any startup should go through, but you can’t just fill out an application and hope for the best. You should prepare it well before sending it to the incubator of your choice.
Here are some tips on how to apply for business incubators/ accelerators:
1- Prepare a clear and understandable idea
It’s hard to elaborate on your idea when you are totally involved in it. That’s why so many startups fail miserably when it comes to communicating what they are truly doing. So my suggestion here is to be precise and clear in your message as much as you can.
But incubators only accept startups with innovative ideas, this is tricky somehow, generally, there are three categories of ideas that can help prepare you for your presentation and which can determine you being selected; such categories include:
- Revolutionary Ideas: Can forever change the industry once introduced to the market
- Evolutionary Ideas: These are improvements made upon an already existing service or product that will take them to the next level
- Other Ideas: An ordinary idea but with the potential to make money and profit.
However, if your startup idea falls into the first two categories they have a higher probability to be selected.
2- Pitch your idea as a story
Instead of focusing on technical details, tell a story. the main hero in your story should be your customer and how your product or service has helped him overcome their obstacles. Your pitch is everything.
3- Prepare the correct data
You can concentrate on delivering an excellent pitch, but don’t lose sight of the importance of providing the correct numbers and statistics. Your financial information is a great indicator for them to determine which areas you need to improve upon and to indicate your potential success.
4- Know your value proposition
Some entrepreneurs may struggle in identifying their value proposition and definitely, this won’t make it easy for you when applying for an incubator or accelerator program. A well-defined value proposition helps you stay focused on the most important aspects of your startup while also demonstrating to incubators that you are serious about your venture. They’ll be able to see why you’re worth their time and money.
5- Do your research and ask questions
Not all incubation/ acceleration programs are the same; their services and vision differ. Ask inquiries and conduct research before applying to ensure that you are receiving the services you require and their vision fits with yours to run a successful firm.
6- Apply when you are ready for it
Be ready to commit this is the difference between a serious entrepreneur and a hobbyist who might invest time and energy but never commit. It is sometimes preferable to wait till you can devote yourself fully rather than doing it part-time. Get advice on your business and marketing plan, as well as accountants. Take your time defining your business objectives and structure.
The more prepared you are for a program, the higher your chances of succeeding. Your interviewer wants to know you can execute. This implies you must demonstrate your ability to complete tasks and provide specific measures on how you will continue to execute your strategy. Incubators want to see results, not just words.
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