Coming up with a brilliant business concept that has the potential to disrupt the market is only the first step in your entrepreneurship journey. You have a long way to go before you can convert this idea into a commercial, profitable enterprise. Typically, the process of entering the startup ecosystem is not only challenging and involves sheer hard work, but it is also time-consuming. Signing up with the best startup accelerators out there could help you fast-track the process and have a working product prototype ready in no time. Read ahead for more information on how accelerators can help.
Entrepreneurs Can Acquire Tangible and Non-Tangible Resources
Without the suitable launch pad, you could spend months struggling to acquire non-tangible and tangible resources. This factor can be particularly critical for founders with a time-sensitive concept that could potentially lose relevance by the time the product hits the market.
Startup accelerators offer you an intensive, innovation-friendly environment, complete with the resources you need. As a result, founders can compress six to nine months’ worth of work into a short three-month process and have the product ready for launch.
Getting accepted into a great startup accelerator program is not easy. For starters, you’ll research and look for an organization that operates in the particular industry where you intend to work. Candidates are accepted only if the organizers are impressed by their concept and see potential in it. Once you’re in, that’s validation that your idea has what it takes and is worth the effort you’ll dedicate to it.
Most accelerators are cohort-based, which means that you’ll work in a dynamic environment amidst peers working toward developing exciting concepts. You’ll benefit from discussion, debates, sharing ideas, and getting hands-on experience on how to run a business. The exposure to how billion-dollar companies are built can prove invaluable down the line.
Accelerator workshops are typically expert-driven and led by talented professionals offering guidance, mentoring, and invaluable expertise. You’ll attend learning-intensive seminars and lectures where you receive training on every aspect of setting up and running a successful company.
Hiring great teams, managing legal paperwork, effective marketing techniques, and smart customer acquisition strategies are only some of the information you’ll pick up. Most importantly, you’ll attend networking events, where investors and partners are invited. This is your first exposure to potential financiers who might opt to fund your idea.
Depending on the business concept you intend to develop, the accelerator may invest anywhere from $10,000 to $120,000 or more as pre-seed funding. You’ll be asked to relocate to the work premises they organize and spend time developing a working product prototype. Any other resources you need, like inventory, trained staff assistance, infrastructure, and more, are made available.
Actual users who test your product and provide feedback in real-time help you tweak the prototypes and make improvements as needed. Most programs last for three to six months, within which you must demonstrate that you have what it takes to build a thriving business.
The culmination is on the “demo day,” where you’ll pitch to real people and test your fundraising skills. That’s when you can impress investors, venture capitalists, and angels to acquire seed and later-stage funding for your company. Since you’ll present as part of the accelerator program, you have a better chance of getting finance. And, investors attend these events to look for investment opportunities and brilliant concepts they can back.
That’s how entrepreneurs can fast track their journey from two to three years to a short three to six months. If you have an idea that could potentially turn into a thriving business, getting into a startup accelerator program could get you ahead of the competition quickly.
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star, Barbara Corcoran and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab, which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding, where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since its inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.