|Are you looking for ways to speed up the growth of your small business start-up? And if so, have you considered applying to a small business accelerator program? Accelerators are selective, intense programs that provide early-stage start-ups with a variety of resources to help them grow. And as the name accelerator implies, the focus is on substantial growth in a short period of time. Accelerator resources can include seed money, connections with mentors, legal advice and more.Accelerators may be an effective option for your business’s success. Consider this … one of the top ranked accelerators reports that 84% of the companies they have helped are still active and that 7% have been acquired. And in 2010, it was predicted that a few hundred accelerators would open by 2015. If this sounds like something your small business start-up can benefit from and you want to find out more, keep reading.|
Small business accelerators
As a small business start-up, you’ve likely heard of venture capitalists, angel investors and small business incubators. But unlike these resources, small business accelerators are in a class of their own. Here’s how the application process typically works.
Applications are generally straightforward and the majority can be found online. For the most part, they do not require a business plan or other formalized documentation that many other investor opportunities do. Although this makes the application process easy … it also makes for more competition and in turn a decreased acceptance rate due to the sheer number of applications received. Additionally, accelerators are known for being very selective therefore you need to stand out from the competition. Here are some ideas how:
- Send a prototype: Develop a prototype of your product prior to the application process so potential investors have something tangible to go by. Be sure it arrives in branded, professional looking packaging including a logo’d label to make an added impression.
- Be descriptive: Your application may be the only opportunity you get to gain the attention of potential investors. Be sure to outline in detail your mission, vision and most importantly, all the actions you’ve taken to get your business off the ground. Send important company information to investors on branded USB drives or on a disk sent in logo imprinted CD holder. This ensures those investors wanting to find out more will have information available to them at their fingertips.
- Build and promote your strong team: According to small business incorporation experts BizFilings, single founders are selected to take part in accelerator programs far less frequently than teams. Therefore, a well-rounded, talented team is something that should be endorsed as a selling point. A great way to promote each team members’ strengths could be to send brief bios on each team member containing credentials and work experience.
Express thanks: As with any presentation or application opportunity, you’ll want to leave a lasting impression by expressing your gratitude for the time expended by these busy investors. A handwritten thank you note outlining important strengths and differentiators your business possesses accompanied by a small token of appreciation such as individually wrapped, thank you brownies for each member of the investment team or some logo’d pens can help you stand out among the competition.
Remember, business accelerators may be a great way to get your small business off the ground—especially when the goal is quick, substantial growth. And accelerators not only provide funding, but the opportunity to receive priceless mentoring and valuable advice from an expert.
“Small Business Accelerator Programs Can Put Your Business in High Gear.” Time To Startup. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2013.
“Small Business Trends.” Small Business Trends. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2013.