Entrepreneurs: Collaborate, Incubate, Accelerate Or Go It Alone?

Entrepreneurs come from all backgrounds and bring with them different skills, abilities and ambitions. Some want to change the world; others just want to start a business. Some want advice and support; others just want to do their own thing.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the support available in the form of collaboration space, incubation space, accelerator programmes and, more recently, going it alone can be attractive.

1 Collaboration, co-working or hot-desk space is cheap, easy to find and provides a way to meet people facing similar challenges. This type of space usually consists of a desk in a shared office with minimal back-up support, so the entrepreneur experiences the reality of running a business from the start.

2 Incubation space provides an office or workshop to help develop the business to the point where it is ready for investors. This approach can add value through the provision of administrative advice and business support. When an entrepreneur is supported in this way, it is argued, they can better focus on growing the business.

An unintended consequence, however, can be that the entrepreneur is sheltered from dealing with the day-to-day issues of running a business. Such support may cause them to get stuck in the early stages of development, rather than develop the resilience and resourcefulness needed to succeed.

Some entrepreneurs take exception to the term incubator, as it implies the business needs high-level support to survive. Similarly, the value of general business advice can be questioned, as entrepreneurs may want help with specific issues relevant to their particular needs.

3 Accelerator programmes shift the focus from general business advice to specific mentoring and networking. They provide a shorter more clearly defined period of support to accelerate the development of the business. Other entrepreneurs who have been through the start-up process provide the mentoring sessions and networking opportunities. This approach can make it more meaningful, as it helps build specific industry relationships with experienced business owners.

4 Going it alone is an option given mobile technology, internet access and the growth in the number of free business seminars, networking events, tech meets and even ‘pub summits’. In this scenario, the entrepreneur simply links into what is happening on the start-up scene and makes the connections they need along the way.

SO, if you are thinking of starting a business and want to collaborate, incubate, accelerate or go it alone, there is a place for you. You just have to look around and find what’s best for your business.

What do you think? Do you want to collaborate, incubate, accelerate or go it alone? Get in touch, we would love to hear your views contact Nick on 028 8224 9494 or via Twitter @nick_oec.