The business benefits of joining a small business incubator
Small business incubators can be supportive environments for you to finesse your business idea, and access resources to get it off the ground.
All new business ventures are risky. Most entrepreneurs are usually going it alone and working with very limited resources. That's why some small business owners, solopreneurs, and freelancers try to run their operations as lean as possible when starting out. In order to effectively and efficiently grow a business, however, you must have support, and business incubators can help provide that support.
Incubators are not just places to get free swag or attend events; they can also provide solid business resources for entrepreneurs working to get their businesses successfully off the ground.
The benefits of using a small business incubator
There are a variety of business incubator types, such as the International Business Innovation Association, but the mission is usually the same: offering resources and a network to smaller businesses in need.
In addition to the resources offered, leveraging a business incubator can positively impact your business by providing you with:
Cost reduction opportunities: Access to office space and supplies for free or at a reduced cost helps ease the pressure of being cost-conscious.
A professional environment: Home offices aren't always conducive to building, managing, or growing a business. An incubator can provide a safe, supportive space to take meetings and present a legitimate front to prospects and investors.
A productive environment: Along those same lines, an official workspace plus administrative resources are helpful in giving business owners the space, freedom, and peace of mind to focus on growing their business. Internet access, if available, is also an added perk that can help you be productive.
A support network: Incubators can also offer business owners the opportunity to join a network of peers with whom they can consult, collaborate, learn, and grow. In exchange, you can bring a set of skills and knowledge to that network that will help others. Some incubators even include access to an advisory board and outside networking opportunities.
Educational opportunities: To succeed in business, you must always be open to learning. Mentor relationships, workshops, and other business training opportunities abound within business incubators.
Access to funding opportunities: A major obstacle when first starting a business, is getting that initial funding. By leveraging the incubator’s connections, business owners can have greater access to investors, loan opportunities, and other financial guidance.
Marketing support: Consumers want proof that a brand is trustworthy, which can be difficult to provide when you are starting out. The connections you make with those who have marketing know-how and first-hand experience can help you determine how to build your marketing strategy at the start of your business.
Before applying to join an incubator program — an application process can be common — research the incubator and make sure it aligns with the needs of your business or specializes in your desired industry.
Startup owners, solopreneurs, and freelancers in the clean-tech and energy-efficiency industry can look into Wells Fargo’s Innovation Incubator for more information. For entrepreneurs in the financial services and innovation fields, visit the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator.