This is the year you’re ready to start your own business. And you’re trying to decide whether you should join an entrepreneurship program, such as a business incubator, accelerator or class, or go it alone. This week, find out how an entrepreneurship program can help you lay the foundation to create a thriving business.
Learn the Essentials
Starting and running a business isn’t just about getting a product or service out there. To create a thriving business, you need to have a firm understanding of business concepts and possess certain skills and mindsets. Entrepreneurship programs provide curriculum and expert instruction to help you develop your product or service to meet customer needs, reach your target market, create a business plan, forecast your numbers, develop business processes and infrastructure, navigate the fundraising process, and operate your business sustainably.
Focus on Your Business
Participating in an entrepreneurship program requires a commitment of time and energy to developing your business. Entrepreneurship programs provide structure, such as coming into a class every week or completing certain activities, to support you in focusing on what’s necessary for you for you to turn your idea into reality.
Entrepreneurship programs provide access to mentors and business advisors. This might range from a dedicated mentor to provide guidance throughout the program to matching you with an advisor when you have a specific need. These mentors typically have experience as business owners and can provide valuable perspective on the development of your idea into a business.
Because most entrepreneurship programs require an investment of your money into program fees or tuition, the potential savings might not seem obvious to you right now. But, the skills you learn and mentorship you receive through an entrepreneurship program will help you accelerate the development of your business and avoid common pitfalls, saving you time and money over the longer term.
When you’re just starting out and don’t have a track record with your business, it can be difficult to get the time and attention of potential customers, partners, and investors. Completing a known entrepreneurship program can give you more credibility. It shows people that you have gone through a selection process and done the work to develop your business.
Be Part of a Community
Starting a business can feel lonely. In the earliest stages of the business, you are holding the vision and doing all the work. It helps to have a support network of peers who are sharing the same experience with their businesses. By joining an entrepreneurship program, you become part of such a community and receive insights, encouragement, and accountability from your peers.
To get started as a freelancer, small business owner, or startup, check out our programs in San Francisco and Oakland. Applications for Launching a Business module and Freelancer Accelerator are due January 19.
Rani Langer-Croager is co-host of Envision radio show on the VoiceAmerica Variety channel and co-founder of Uptima Business Bootcamp, a network of member-owned business accelerators dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with greater access to hands-on education, mentorship, resources, and community to create thriving businesses.