Many people, especially aspiring entrepreneurs, don't seem to be taking full advantage of the benefits of business incubators. These companies designed to instigate growth and success for small to mid-sized companies through a variety of business resources and services (e.g. office space, capital, business coaching, mentorships, networking opportunities etc.). They miss out on the many competitive proficiencies that can help business owners become highly competitive and productive.
Typically, such incubation programs are initiated by private corporations or other public establishments (e.g. Universities) with the primary objective of creating and growing businesses in their infancy state.
For entrepreneurs starting off, working space is usually a major challenge; depending on the nature of the enterprise, they tend to quickly outgrow their initial designated areas (dining tables, studies or garages). As such, the manufacturing spaces that incubators offer provide refuge to these owners.
Asides from these physical and financial benefits that business incubators provide, there are other "soft" - yet poignant - capabilities that entrepreneurs from these establishments contribute towards their survival. They are as follows:
Skill 1: Be fast first and then perfect second
Most entrepreneurs, like other creative types, strive towards perfection - they want to make sure that the product, service or experience they're developing is pristine and error free.
While this intention is commendable, it's a wrong ordering of priorities.
The first critical skill that new business owners acquire from working at an incubator is the importance of "learning to be fast first and perfect second".
These entrepreneurs realise that once they get started, there are so many business imperatives and stakeholder expectations that need to be met, as such, they don't have the luxury of attaining product/service supremacy - a harsh reality encapsulated in the this truism: "sometimes good is good enough".
Bottom line: successive approximation regularly trumps perfection.
Skill 2: The importance of continued learning
Another humbling skill that these new entrepreneurs uncover is that there is no destination when it comes to the development of their product
Essentially, they will have to re-learn the vital skills in their business segment and further develop those skill sets as well.
Bottom line: Continued knowledge is power.
Skill 3: The importance of outlearning your business rivals
Young entrepreneurs learn that it is critically important to cultivate the ability of learning faster than their competitors - this is the sole tactic in attaining a visible and sustainable unique selling proposition.
The incubator offers them an environment where they're inundated by challenges, see different changes, and are required to come up with new solutions.
Bottom line: Learn how to outsmart your competitor.
Skill 4: The power of collaboration
They learn how crucial it is to be able to relinquish control, collaborate and draw on the talents of the people around them and on their team.
“Bottom line: You can't do it alone!”