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How to Get Your Startup Up and Running with Business Incubator

For first time entrepreneurs, starting any company, be it cleaning services, towing service, software development, or eCommerce, can be a lonely process. There is a lot of hard work, dedication, and self-discipline that need to be put in, with limited options and resources at your disposal. Over the last few years, founders and startups have turned their attention to business incubators and accelerators to grow their business.

It is a concept that makes a lot of sense for entrepreneurs at their early stages of founding a company, to leverage a defined process for success and transition to a sustainable business.

 

Business Incubators

A business incubator is a company that helps startups and new businesses accelerate their growth and success. Incubators achieve this by providing support in a variety of areas including management training, capital mentorship, office space, and networking connections. Incubators can be sponsored by different types of organizations including private companies, venture funds as well as lending institutions.

Some incubators are focused on a particular type of companies, such as fintech startups, vertical markets – those that invest in energy markets, etc. Companies usually spend one or two years in business incubators. The span is normally determined by need and obligation. The ability to receive quick, accurate information from incubator executives and mentors holds a significant key to the growth of a startup.

There are different tasks that business incubators do.

 

Office Space

Some incubators offer office space for free and even on below-market rates to their portfolio companies. Doing so helps in solving several problems for startups. It allows startups to find a professional space for their employees to work without having to sign a lease. This can be very useful when a company is not sure how quickly they will scale their production.

 

Specialized Equipment

Some incubators invest in specialized equipment such as modeling software, prototyping equipment, 3D printers, and software development labs. This acts as a huge advantage for scaling companies at their early stages. Access to costly equipment and simulation programs would be crucial for the growth of such companies, and this can be made possible if companies can get what they need at the lowest cost.

 

Experienced Mentors

It is very important for startups to make little mistakes when scaling up. Most incubators offer experienced staff or very savvy industry experts to offer much-needed help to core teams to stay focused and avoid making common mistakes. Incubators normally bring onboard mentors who have specific startup experience to help them in explaining processes, planning, and making key decisions.

 

Group training and education

Many business incubators offer a wide array of important business training that spans from legal advice on startup documentation and incorporation to other general business issues such as product development, research, innovation, and establishing company culture. There will also be shared business services much such as leveraging the availability of software and selection, and other services such as accounting, banking, marketing, and manufacturing. If you are considering getting signed up to an accelerator program for your business, there has never been a better time like now.

Understanding and Defining a Target Market

Your business may offer different products and services to appeal to the demands of the masses, but now everyone will like what’s being offered in the market. As a business owner, it is your duty to find people who not only want your products and services but are also willing to make purchases. This is where the issue of the target market comes in.

A target market is a specific group of potential buyers for which a business positions its products and services. It is a group of people who are most likely going to buy your products and services.

 

Understanding your target market

It is important to have a clear understanding of your target market. Too many new and home-based business owners do not take time to define their target market. This translates to wasted time and money as they seek clients and their customers. Some business owners make the mistake of defining the target market as anyone, in reality, the ideal buyers have specific traits and characteristics, which fit the products and services being sold.

 

It is very important to know your target market. When you have this understanding, you will better equipped to place your marketing message in places where your market hangs out and using words that capture their attention. If you place your advertisements and messages to the wrong target, it will lead to a lot of wasted time and resources, especially marketing dollars. You will end up getting frustrated as you try to change things, which otherwise would not even work.

 

Segmenting a market

Segmenting a market involves breaking down the market into smaller groups. Take an example you have a market of moms who want to lose weight. You may segment the market into different groups such as; stay-at-home moms, moms living in the city, among others.

 

There are four common ways of segmenting a market.

– Geographical segmentation based on location such as states, cities, and street addresses

– Demographic segmentation that is focused on features such as gender, race, and age

– Behavioral segmentation that is focused on benefits customers receive and how they use particular products and services

– Psychological segmentation looks into attributes that relate to personality, attitudes, values, lifestyle, interests among others.

 

To be able to segment a market in the right manner, there are a couple of key questions you should be able to answer. These include questions such as;

 

– How old is your ideal customer?

– How much money do they make?

– Is your product or service most suited for men, women, or children?

– Are they homeowners?

– What type of education do they have?

 

Tailoring your marketing

The better you have an understanding of your ideal buyer, the more effective your marketing efforts will be.  You will know where to find your ideal customers so that you can get your information in front of them. Additionally, you will be able to create messaging that attracts your customers. You stand a better chance to speak directly to their needs and present solutions that really solve their issues.