Acceleration programs are an integral piece of the puzzle when it comes to the success of any business during the stage when you require mentorship, access to investment opportunities and other logistical and technical resources. Your business should start considering an acceleration program when it is in its “adolescence” stage, meaning it has legs, but it is in need of peer support and guidance in order to become more self-sufficient and stable. Many entrepreneurs don’t take advantage of all an acceleration program can do for their business as it is mistakenly lumped into other institutions like incubators, early-stage venture capitalists, and angel investors which have different goals in mind.
The typical duration of an acceleration program usually lasts from two to six months. The ultimate goal is to give your business a strong position in the market you are attempting to penetrate.
Let’s take a look at the top 6 reasons why your business needs an acceleration program and what it means for your business.
Every business faces its challenges and there are many barriers and questions that you will have during the operational process that force you to become more resourceful and seek advice. It is crucial to find an acceleration program when you encounter these roadblocks because they have mentors who have experience and knowledge to help you make it over these hurdles. Taking the time to thoroughly understand your direction and purpose will significantly improve your transition into the next stage of business. Acceleration programs are also effective at providing the mental and emotional support during all the stresses your business puts on you by giving you an outlet to speak on issues that are burdening your business. After a thorough discussion, you are able to identify what is going wrong and how to solve it, in a safe environment, without compromising the prosperity of your business.
How This Helps You: Your business could be working towards expanding to an international market and there could be an acceleration program that specializes in the specific market you want to enter. Having a solid support system that understands the direction to take, has the right network connections, and understands different regulations and laws of the geographical location you’re targeting will dramatically increase your productivity. This will ensure you aren’t wasting time and resources with approaches that go against the laws/regulations of the area.
Every day spent at an acceleration program will be full of beneficial activities and workshops to keep you thinking about improving each aspect of your business. Typically, an acceleration program will offer feedback sessions, insights from other businesses, meetings with mentors and networking opportunities. These event-filled work sessions will give you useful information and resources to immediately apply to your business.
How This Helps You: If you are looking to learn more about leadership, and how it impacts your overall business objectives, there are workshops dedicated in the personal development of these skill sets. Understanding these key skills can positively impact performance and workplace dynamics if implemented correctly with proper guidance.
3. Connect with Key Players
Most acceleration programs work alongside well-established mentors, companies and investors to give you an opportunity to learn, build business alliances, and utilize their resources to become successful. It is important you prioritize the building of a strong network at the beginning stages of your business because it can push your business through hardships and with the right people supporting you. Many investors come to an acceleration program to seek out new business opportunities during the early stages and are frequently invited to attend presentations put on by entrepreneurs.
How This Helps You: A strong network during the process of building a business can encompass a plethora of advantages you would otherwise be left without if you didn’t join an acceleration program. It could be client leads, joint ventures, business and/or asset sales, or partnerships. The list of possibilities is endless with the help of a great roster of connections that would have been more difficult to come by on your own.
4. Access to Funding
Every acceleration program can provide you with funding directly or give you the information and resources in order to obtain funding from third parties, such as government and investors. The goal of one of these programs is to focus on learning and improving your business in several different areas. Focused on solely funding? Keep in mind that funding alone won’t be able to help launch your business to the next level and be prepared for new markets.
It’s important to note, that some accelerators may require equity or IP, in exchange for funding. The extent of which an acceleration program can potentially enhance your chances of further success may be worth giving up a small percentage of equity. For those that aren’t willing to or at a point where they feel comfortable giving up a small portion of their company, there are many acceleration programs that don’t cost a thing.
How This Helps You: Funding can be a difficult thing to fully understand because there are many different types and are specific to what stage your business is in. Taking the time to weigh out your options and deciding the funding that best suits your business can be exactly what your business needs to grow. Want to know more about the different types of funding? Read this blog for a comprehensive guide to business funding and investment.
5. Entering New Markets
If your business goals are for expansion, you should look for acceleration programs and accelerators that are designed to do just that. At the Canada-India Acceleration Program (CIAP), we connect and help prepare your business for the ever-evolving economy of India. Though our program is India specific, we provide a valuable toolkit for market entry that can be used for any markets globally. If you are considering an expansion and would like the tools and resources to get there, please don’t hesitate to apply or contact us directly.
How This Helps You: Entering a new market, especially on that is vastly different from your home market, can be riddled with many hurdles. There are many considerations that need to be well-thought-out prior to expanding, such as cultural nuances, language barriers, legal and taxation, how consumers buy, and much more. By utilizing an acceleration program, you can bypass numerous unexpected challenges in your new market.
An acceleration program works with businesses of different sizes and can tailor their programs, workshops, and conferences to cater to their needs. Receiving assistance to overcome risks as you are establishing your product-market fit, marketing, sales, funding, competition, legal and financial aspects is tremendously helpful. Using an acceleration program can help you avoid roadblocks that would normally impede your business’ success, as you work alongside seasoned mentors who provide insights and direction. It is crucial to challenge your business plan to ensure there is a definitive strategy to generate constant revenue streams that are sustainable and scalable.
How This Helps You: If you are testing your business plan’s potential, you want to be sure there is a definitive set of strategies to generate constant revenue streams that are suitable for your business model. With the guidance of a mentor, you are able to better identify holes in your model or market segment that could affect your business’ traction in the real-world by pivoting your plans accordingly.
The right acceleration program for you is based on your unique needs and if you have all the requirements to be accepted. Do your research to evaluate all your choices and ensure you are able to commit your time to the program. Did you know that some of the largest companies used an accelerator or acceleration program in their earlier days? Businesses like Dropbox and AirBnB are just some of the ones who took advantage of the guidance, mentorship, and challenges to their business models.
Have you used an acceleration program for your business? What did you like about it? What could have been improved?