In the previous articles we have talked about the differences between a startup accelerator and an incubator. Now, assuming you’ve followed the path of Pangea.app and joined an accelerator, how can you maximize this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Before we go on this journey together, let’s quickly revisit what an accelerator is, and how it helps startups.
Accelerators are institutions designed to spark and fuel growth in startups through mentorship, education and investment opportunities in a very short period of time. That last part is imperative, because that’s what separates accelerators from other institutions.
In just 6 months, accelerators will propel your startups to the point where “non-accelerated” ones would take 2 years. Essentially, this means that you must take all advantages and be proactive rather than reactive to ensure you have the best growth opportunity within the program.
Here’s how you can leverage your time in an accelerator to grow sales, add to your product, build your team, and make a name for yourself with press.
Network, network, network
One of the biggest advantages of accelerators is the vast network and alumni of successful entrepreneurs and mentors. Not to mention the other founders and the community of the cohort. Networking is your best friend. You should try to become friends with as many people as possible regardless of their business vertical or background, you never know who can help.
This network will help you learn, grow and explore to enhance your business. It isn’t just building friendships with random people, it’s akin to building a data storage of resources that you can use to shortcut the startup world!
Take full advantage of the meetings, events, and life at the accelerator. You might just meet your newest developer, or discover an idea that changes your business.
Houston, time for lightspeed
As coined by Techstars "Do more, faster." The short, action packed timeframe for accelerators means that you have to accomplish a lot, in a short amount of time. This is accomplished through the mentors that you have access to. The feedback from them will help your startup expedite any processes meaning you can shortcut your way through business development, funding, marketing, sales and much more. Moreover, due to the restricted time frame, you will need to prioritize. Know what is important and don’t waste time on things you can fix after. To do this, setting KPIs is very helpful. Using data to analyze your growth and progress will help you keep track of what to focus on.
I'm not mad, just disappointed
Finally, failure. Now this isn’t a bad thing and although it is a cliche to “fail fast” and pivot, it is useful to know. The thing is, if your startup idea or company constantly changes and with the opinion of countless other people, this may happen. However, you must stick to your guts and try to fix your original ideas before completely scrapping them.
If you do decide to pivot, make sure you identify the key areas of growth and development. Once again, to maximize your time, you need to prioritize.
With all that being said, the six month time period you’re in an accelerator program will be the best time for your company to grow and for you to grow as an individual. Use the time wisely, but most importantly, don’t overstress and enjoy yourself.