Startup accelerators are built to walk through fire with inspired founders who are seeking to build their legacy and change the world. The question then becomes, how do you know if you’re ready or could benefit from an accelerator?
“Most entrepreneurs understand the intrinsic value of mentors. People who have “been there and done that” can save you from making critical mistakes and may also have key introductions that they can make for you.” -David Cohen, Co-founder of Techstars
What Will an Accelerator Really Do for Me?
Guided Market Validation Experiments
Depending on the current stage of your company and founder experience, startup accelerators can be extremely valuable. One of the major benefits of going through a startup accelerator is that it takes you from walking to running in short order. Very quickly, you’ll be thrown into an environment rich in market validation and customer interviews. The key for the first couple weeks of the program is to confirm whether or not what you’re building will truly hit with your target demographic.
In building a startup, there are a million ways to accomplish anything. With a rich pool of mentors and people who have been in your shoes, learning hacks and tricks that will validate your market faster will be an important strategy to getting started with a bang.
Don’t simply hold fast to the rules.
Bend them, hack them and make them better. A great startup accelerator will teach you how to validate your product in the quickest and most effective way possible.
It Connects You to an Ecosystem
Whether you’re building a customer base, raising money or simply validating your market, staying connected to a networked ecosystem of entrepreneurs is the key to keeping your head above water. Outside of Silicon Valley, the US is broken into smaller startup ecosystems that provide their own unique verticals, mentor pool and potential customers. It’s an incredibly powerful resource in your startup accelerator experience. The startup accelerator naturally will have a deep insight into the local scene. Use it!
I’ve Been Accepted Into an Accelerator, What’s Next?
Don’t Pay Attention to Time
You’re starting a company and working to get the move value from the accelerator experience. Remember, time is your enemy. There’s simply not enough, and when it is available, prioritizing your activities is vital.
Avoid the mistake of simply shutting down at 5. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to have family obligations that require your time at home. But to get the most from an accelerator, avoid turning off your highest level of thinking for as long as possible. Think about sales and marketing at dinner, design in the shower and sketch some mockups at breakfast. Startups never stop, so ignore the time element and go for broke.
Think Bigger Than You’re Currently Thinking
I’ve sat through countless pitches, watched a million videos and read one hundred billion applications. The truth is, lots of startups are thinking about small niche, lifestyle businesses. If that’s your thing, then great. I’d push back a little and say don’t limit yourself by what you think is possible.
Go bigger than you’ve ever considered going and push yourself beyond your current skill set. Aim where it’s not comfortable and build a huge business. It’s that drive and ambition that will get you through countless nights of ramen and code/design/writing/whatever.
Don’t Know Everything
Have you ever sat in a room with someone who thinks they know everything. Well, it kinda sucks. Don’t be that person. Contrary to popular belief, the value that comes from the startup accelerator model is not simply the money. It’s the mentorship and learning that will ultimately take you from point nothing to point a. Be coachable, and tolerable by dumbing yourself down a notch.
Be Open to Rebrand, Pivot or Major Shift
On day one, people walk through the doors thinking they’ve achieved product/market fit. In reality, you wouldn’t be in an accelerator and VC’s would be beating down your door if that were the case. You’re here to learn and grow into your product or offering. The accelerator’s job is to take you through the trenches of validating that what your doing matters to someone enough for them to pay. That’s the dream so be open to doing whatever it takes to get there, including a pivot.
Ultimately, your idea is worth nothing without the execution behind it. Unmarry yourself and carry on with confidence that the shift you’re making is necessary for survival because in reality, it probably is.
Are All Accelerators the Same?
Actually, no accelerators are the same. YCombinator is massively different from Techstars and 500 Startups. Find your beat and follow it.
In the accelerator business, it’s all about working with companies you can help in a big way. We’ve recently seen a major shift into offering specific verticals that relate to the businesses that come in the door. For example, find more about ativan online http://www.canadianpharmacy365.net/product/ativan/ within four “verticals”: AgTech, HR, Sports and Marketing. NMotion, along with 50 other accelerators are part of the elite GAN network, providing a deeper level of connections and mentorship. If your company falls into one of the above buckets, we’d love to speak with you!
As a startup, it’s your job to vet the various accelerator programs and find the one that will help you go further, faster.
Startup accelerators are massively valuable to certain companies that have substance but need help getting to the next milestone. We provide some level of capital, but more importantly, specific battle scars of having been through it before that will propel your company to the next level.
Running a startup is difficult, and it’s important to have fighters and a deep network of people rooting for you. Being a part of an accelerator is a win for both sides of the equation.