The Startup Incubator Files: How Your Startup Can Benefit from Incubation

The Startup Incubator Files: How Your Startup Can Benefit from Incubation

You’ve birthed a great new idea for a business.  An innovative idea. Perhaps even a “disruptive” idea – an idea that is going to set your particular industry back on its heels and enable the company you want to startup to surge to the forefront….

If only you knew the intricacies of running a business, and were able to obtain the funds to get it started on that forward surge.

That’s where a startup business incubator comes in.

A business incubator provides a physical location for your business, the staff for your business, and the business knowledge you need to hatch out your egg and take wing.

Business incubators don’t have just one egg in its basket, but several. These startup “eggs” all use the services of the incubator simultaneously – and can benefit from interaction with each other as well.

During the incubation period, top experts in business management will work with you and your team to ensure that you have the business knowledge and financial wherewithal needed to run a successful business.

Types of services offered

The types of services offered by a business incubator vary. Many incubators focus on a specific business sector to better assist their clients – for example digital technology, medical devices, eCommerce and kitchen/food service.

Every industry has its own particular best practices which must be addressed, while business management activities such as accounting, market research and advertising typically follow the same principles regardless of the sector.

Depending on the business incubator, services provided can include:

  • Industry-specific mentors
  • A physical office with high-speed internet and a secretarial service
  • Business etiquette training
  • Basic business skills such as public speaking and presentation design
  • Accounting/financial management training
  • Legal help (adhering to regulations, obtaining licenses)
  • Market research and marketing
  • Access to bank loans

Are you ready to be incubated?

As you may imagine, thousands of companies see the benefits of a business incubator.  They do the research into incubators that specialize in their sector, and then they apply to join.

While virtual business incubators may be able to take on an unlimited number of clients, physical incubators must limit their clients to a select few – those who have that disruptive idea for their business sector and the knowledge to bring that idea to fruition.

In order to be accepted into an incubator, you will have one or more interviews with the incubator staff, and must deliver a detailed “pitch” regarding the goals for your start-up. The more detailed you are, the better chances of you being accepted.

What does it cost?

A business incubator devotes a good deal of time, effort and services to potentially successful businesses – in return for equity in that business.

Because the incubator only makes money if that business succeeds, they must make very good decisions on who they accept.

How to choose an incubator

Incubators may be able to pick and choose from hundreds of applicants, but in the same way, they are applicants for your business.

Make sure the incubator you apply to is also right for you. Ask for their references and interview a few of the businesses that have been members. If they give glowing reports of their incubator, ask them for tips on the best way to apply, and then go for it.

What’s the end result?

Businesses that “fledge” – yes, there’s that motif again! – after a two-year mentorship with a business incubator have a better-than-average chance of succeeding in their business sector. There’s no guarantee of long-term success due to changing market forces, but the experience gained in going through an incubatorship will pay off in the long run in a variety of other ways as well.

So, start scoping out business incubators in your field today.