Startup incubators seem exciting, but you'll want to ask these questions before you dive in.
Things look glamorous when you're an entrepreneur. You're excited about your idea, eager to make new connections and learn new things, and be a part of this "golden age" of entrepreneurship. But you need to think things through carefully, and realize not everything is as straightforward or as outright beneficial as it may seem.
Startup incubators are fantastic places to work, make connections, find resources, and even attract funding for your business--but before you just up and join a network, it's important that you ask these questions:
1. Why do you want to join? Think about this question carefully. Are you joining because you want access to specific resources and opportunities the incubator can give you, or do you just want to be a part of the community?
2. Are you willing to forgo some degree of control? Most deals within incubators demand that you give up at least partial control of your company, even if it's just for a single decision (or on a temporary basis). Are you willing to forgo that control?
3. Do you meet the acceptance criteria? Different incubators have different standards and areas of expertise. Have you done the research to know you meet all the necessary criteria to join your startup incubator of choice?
4. Is this the best incubator for you? You have tons of choices when it comes to incubators, so don't just go with the first one you happen across. Think carefully about what the "right" incubator would look like, and open yourself up to travel.
If you can answer these questions and learn more about your own motivations and needs, you'll be able to make a clearer decision about whether or not to move forward. There are plenty of ways to find resources for new companies, and incubators are only one of them.
Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.