You have a great idea for a new business and now you are in search of funding for your startup. Like most new businesses who are still in the early phases of ramping up, you have turned to an accelerator in an effort to secure a much-needed cash infusion. There are a few tips that, if followed, should increase your chances of accelerator success.
SET A GOAL
You must know exactly how much money you need to raise. By setting a fundraising goal and working to achieve that goal, you will have a higher rate or success and a lower level of anxiety when enduring the accelerator process.
OPERATE AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT
Prepare yourself to work quickly and efficiently as you navigate through the accelerator world. Accelerators allow you to tap into established corporate networks that allow you to bypass many aspects of the sales and introductory phases of securing capitol. Furthermore, the inherent culture of the accelerator world is one of a very quick pace. If you are spending time closing deals with customers that are taking too long or writing unnecessary, but flashy, code then you should stop and change your mindset and your pace immediately or you will not be successful in an accelerator environment.
OUR NUMBER 1 PRIORITY IS GROWTH
Your primary focus should be on growing your business and you should do everything you can to show that you have the potential to grow quickly and effectively. Ask yourself if everything you are doing is likely to result in an immediate and measurable growth of your business. If you are testing your concept, don’t create a costly app, just do some standard social media research. Don’t waste your time or money ordering producing large amounts of inventory if you don’t have the sales to immediately move that inventory into the hands of the customer. Don’t waste your time focusing on small details that don’t impact your bottom line such as focusing on what shade of white your letterhead should be or how large the sign on your office door should be.
OPEN YOUR MIND AND SHUT YOUR MOUTH
You are not a business expert and if you were, you would not be seeking a financial infusion through an accelerator program. Take advantage of the exposure you have to business mentors and listen to what they have to tell you. Prepare yourself to listen to and strongly consider the constructive criticism that is being offered to you on a silver platter. Most business owners would be thrilled to have access to accomplished business professionals and you should relish the opportunity. Do not be defensive.
CREATE A NETWORKING THAT STICKS
Every business person knows that networking is the key to success but few startups take advantage of the networking opportunities available to them in an accelerator environment. Networking is more than shaking hands and trading business cards. When you meet someone, discreetly make a small note on the back of their business card that you can later refer to as a reminder of where you met that person and a few notes about the topics you discussed. Every few days, sit down and go through the business cards you have collected and send an email to the owner of each card. Tell them that you appreciated meeting them and include details of the meeting so that they remember you and so that they know they are not receiving a form email. Include details like “It was a pleasure to meet you Thursday evening at the accelerator reception” and “I have thought a great deal about the advice you gave me regarding the redesign of my primary coding system.”