You have a passion, a dream, and you want to turn it into a business. What you might not know, however, is that an incubation program can be vital to your success. Incubation programs provide you with management and mentoring, access to market resources, networking opportunities and business skills training. Yet, although business incubators are designed to work with startups and early-stage companies, more often than not, entrepreneurs utilize these programs too late in their business development at which point they realize that they now have less flexibility to change their business if needed. So why don’t more entrepreneurs join an online incubator earlier in their process? It’s probably due to fear. Fear that their idea is still “too green” to tell anyone about. Well, as they say, the early bird gets the worm – an adage that is especially true for entrepreneurs!
Here are 4 reasons why we are advocates of incubating a business idea in its very early stages:
1. Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes Before it’s Too Late
Some people think that ideation and prototyping should come before incubation, this is usually a bad call. Those processes should happen simultaneously; incubators are places for trial and error. Early business incubation allows you to make mistakes, change your ideas, become flexible and prepare for failure before you’ve invested too much time, money and emotion into the specifics of your venture. If you want your venture to be successful, you must allow yourself the freedom to negotiate and see where some changes to your initial idea may need to be made.
2. See Incubation as a Learning Experience — Because It Is
Although business incubation is not an easy feat, it’s important to see the process as a learning experience. The “trial and error” component of an incubation program may lead you to discover that your business is not viable, which in turn might lead you to find another means to reach your goal. Or you may even have to stop and start from scratch with something new. Either way, you will have learned from your mistakes rather than learning the hard way via a failed business launch. Although it’s important to come into an incubation program with a strong, clear idea of what you want your organization to become, joining in the early stages of development is vital to maintaining flexibility in your development process and what the final product may look like. This is especially important if it is your first venture, or if you have a limited background in business.
3. Define and Design Your Business Logically
Bridge for Billions’ eight-step incubation program, The Leap, clearly defines and outlines the key steps in developing your business. Our program helps you create a successful and comprehensive visual pitch that structures your vision in a way that can be easily accessed and understood by investors. Without using an incubation program like ours in the early stages of development, entrepreneurs often feel overwhelmed and as if their project is out of their own control.
4. Eliminate Unforeseen Challenges with Mentors Tailored to Your Organization
Early intervention by industry professionals through a mentoring program such as ours is vital to the initial development of an organization. By having a mentor oversee and follow the step-by-step development process of your venture, you are privy to an external point of view and are thus able to avoid unforeseen challenges. Working with a mentor also opens up the opportunity for possible networking opportunities. Some mentors have become so inspired by their entrepreneur’s projects that they’ve been known to join their mentee as business partners or advisors.