So, I love learning about my ‘industry’ and how we can create stronger, better startups. If you’re a startup founder, serial entrepreneur or an incubator employee and love learning – keep reading! If you’re none of the above and still love learning, read away – you won’t be disappointed.
A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to represent the YBI at The 2018 World Incubation Summit (WIS), powered by UBI Global and in partnership with DMZ at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.
This was an invite-only summit for university-linked business incubators and accelerators connected to the UBI Global network. The summit will recognize the best performing incubation program as part of the 2017-2018 World Benchmark Study sponsored by Cisco. The 2-day program focused primarily on corporate-incubator partnerships and best practices.
The theme for the summit was CATALYZING IMPACTFUL COLLABORATION with a heavy focus on corporate-incubator partnerships and best practices. Over the course of the three-day conference, much information was shared, all for the betterment of organizations like the YBI, but this information could, and should, be shared with startups as well. All of the information and concepts presented should, of course, be applied contextually.
Now, they’re pretty simple – and some may even seem obvious – but here are 10 takeaways that I think startups should hear, too…
1. DEFINE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION(S)
Be clear and confident in your value to customers, investors – all stakeholders, really – and deliver on it! You heard that right – be clear and confident. Quick…what’s the one reason why your ideal prospects need you? Can you sum up what your company does and offers your consumers in one quick sentence? Once you define it – deliver on it!
2. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
This one is pretty simple…Innovate or Die. Be lean and agile. Power ahead and stay focused!
3. DIVERSIFY REVENUE STREAMS
Funding is here today, gone tomorrow. Are you prepared for potential changes upstream? Does your business have the opportunity to offer a subscription model for recurring revenue? Are there add-ons or other product/services you can offer? Like Grandma always said – “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Diversify!
4. TRY, TRY, TRY AGAIN
Try something 3 times.Learn from your mistakes, but if it fails every time – move on! Remember, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results. Change things up, if they still don’t work – get a move on!
5. SOCIAL IMPACT IS EVERYTHING
You can make a profit and still make a difference in the world! DO and BE good!
For more information on YBI’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, So Good, click here!
6. DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
You can’t have effective innovation without inclusion. Make a commitment to D&I and stick with it. Seriously. Say it louder for the people in the back…! You can’t have EFFECTIVE innovation without inclusion! Hire to your teams weaknesses and always seek to diversify in both your hiring and your purchasing. Create a culture of inclusion, share ideas and experiences – we promise you’ll be stronger and better because of it.
7. COMMIT TO SUPPLIER DIVERSITY
Just as you diversify your team, diversify your suppliers, as well. Remember that commitment to diversity & inclusion in No.6? Stick to it! Seriously. Not sure how to build supplier diversity – check out YBI’s MBAC program.
8. HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
Don’t keep doing things for years that should take months. Step up your game! Make sure your team is giving 130% and they are passionate and committed to your mission. Building a culture of ‘doing’ is just as important as getting creative and innovative. Like Jim Cossler says “Killer Ideas are always welcome. Their execution will be worshipped”. Ideas without execution are worthless. Get to it!
9. DEAL FLOW
Now, for Incubators, there is never enough deal flow, that’s for sure. But just like Incubators – ALWAYS go for quality over quantity – but stop chasing unicorns! Let’s look at this from a customer/client perspective – We know you need a few validating customers, so chase them! But back to Grandma… “Pennies make dollars!”, remember? Smaller, paying clients bring value, too!
10. BUILD IT ONCE, USE IT MANY TIMES
The ultimate idea/application/product can do a multitude of things or work in a variety of industries. We all know you can’t launch into 4 different industries with 6 different products or services out of the gate. Go for the low hanging fruit, start small and perfect it – then launch into different markets as it makes sense!
Want to learn more about how you can disrupt the market with your killer startup idea? Apply here! We’re ready to help you execute.
Are you an incubator, struggling to get outcomes? We can help with that too! For some best practices and insights – email firstname.lastname@example.org.