t seems as if the new American dream is to launch a startup, create a product that blows up, and make a decent chunk of change in the process. However, achieving this goal is easier said than done. Succeeding as a small business requires a vision, a plan, and a lot of hard work. Accelerators can help business owners with the support, funding, and guidance they need to achieve their startup goals. The startup world can be a challenging one as 44% of all startups have failed after their fourth year. And the number of accelerators has grown from barely any in 2005 to almost 200 in 2015, investing nearly $20 billion in over 5,000 startups. That's why an accelerator can be the key for you to become a success story. The truth is that even though the startup culture can be a cutthroat one, not everyone wants to see you fail. Accelerators are fixed programs that provide your business with funding, guidance, and industry connections. They pack years of training and learning through experience in only a few months. They pave the way for your startup to innovate, network, and give shape to your business ideas. Read on to learn how joining an accelerator program can help your startup make it big.
Tap Into Your Startup’s Potential
Much like a good teacher, an accelerator helps you find out how your business can change the world, but it’s not there to hold your hand. They are short-term programs that provide you with the resources and tools to find growth and success. After all, they provide rigorous training that gives you credibility, which could legitimize your startup in the eyes of investors. These include:
- Serving as the first source of investment for startups.
- Teaching startup founders how to win over investors for their businesses.
- Milestones to aim for that signify progress.
- Networking opportunities with industry players.
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In other words, an accelerator acts as a comprehensive support system that identifies what your company’s selling points are, and it helps you to magnify those. Similarly, it works to patch up your weakest areas, shifting you towards the path of success.
Assists Your Small Business With Connections
Accelerator programs often last a few months, and once the program ends, every startup in it goes through a graduation ceremony. Graduates are then considered to be alumni of that accelerator, and these alumni want startups in the same program to succeed. These alumni provide you with resources that can help you find your customer base, and navigate the challenges that startups frequently face. Alumni know what it’s like to be on the ground floor, and they know you’re going to have to make difficult decisions along the way. Some of these startups were in the same position as you not too long ago. They know the demands of your industry, and they want to help polish your business strategy. They may even be interested in doing business with you. Without an accelerator, finding the right connections to offer you guidance and help your business grow can be challenging. And once you do finish the program, the accelerator continues to provide you with assistance if you need it. We participated in the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars program and found it extremely valuable. Watch this video to learn more, where Novo CEO, Michael Rangel said, “Barclays has allowed us to innovate and grow quicker than we ever would have otherwise." [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6vbjMRZzN0[/embed]
If You’re a Startup Founder, Don’t Be Greedy
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a startup founder is to launch your business for the money. It usually takes years for startups to become profitable, and an accelerator will tell you that. An accelerator helps you lay the groundwork to create something of worth to society. However, it’s ultimately up to you to put in the hard work. Don’t take shortcuts, and be able and willing to take constructive criticism. You need to accept this feedback and make the necessary adjustments if you want your product or service to offer lasting value. More importantly, think about the core values your startup embodies. For example, Apple states its core values as “the qualities, customs, standards and principles that the company as a whole regards as desirable.” An accelerator will help you hone in on these values, embedding them into the fabric of your organization. Doing so helps your business reach its full potential, as what you’re about is as important as your product. What your company is about is what will bring investors and customers to your side. Ultimately, it’s in an accelerator’s best interest to see you succeed. When you do well, an accelerator makes money, and its reputation grows. Be willing to disclose everything with your accelerator, even the weakest areas and pain points of your startup. You will be rewarded if you build that trust early on as the accelerator works on the faith of the entrepreneur.
The guidance and support an accelerator offers can take your idea to fruition over a short period of time. They help you develop the values and capital to get your startup off the ground. Once you go through the accelerator program, if all goes well, you’ll spread your wings and build the world you’ve always dreamt of.