My cofounder and I have been running a business for the past two years, but it feels like we’ve completely lost the momentum and excitement that we had in the first 6 months.
Now it seems like we’re both content to manage the few customers we have. We haven’t been discussing a growth plan. Someone mentioned that joining an incubator could be a way to re-motivate and re-focus our company.
I think we would also like to be around people who can help us with some of the things we aren’t good at, like marketing and strategic sales. We’d both like to find new people to sell our product to. In the past we just avoided putting too much effort into these growth channels.
What would you say are the benefits of joining an incubator? Are there reasons we might want to steer clear?
No one in an incubator will motivate you or your partner to grow. If you two have reached a plateau, you might consider (a) bring in a third co-founder who can breathe a new life into your venture, (b) put the company up for sale, or (c) assuming the business is generating enough cash to support you two, just operate it and enjoy life!
I am in Mountain View today at a venture conferenc. In the opening panel the participants uniformly said that they do not find involvement in an incubators or accelerators of value to them finding investments. Some were vocal that it just increased the noise. If ou want to be involved for the community, great. If it is to get visibility with BCs, likely not that great of value.
If you're willing to spend a few months spending time re-assembling your business (model) and don't have too much hassle running your daily business it can be a great experience!
We just finished an incubator program and learned that, when already having a validated business, an incubator doesn't boost growth, as it's mostly focussed on the phase(s) before.
If you're thinking about joining one, I'd advise to look for one that is adding value in terms of mentors, partners, etc. that benefit your business directly. E.g. if you're targeting financial sector, aim for an incubator that has the most partners/contact in that industry.
Being around other startups in a similar setting could provide some motivation, depending on the program. There also may be value in utilizing any corporate perks, mentors, networking, or partnerships which could reduce some of your costs or open up new markets.
However, I have seen some incubators that pretty much offer low rent options and minimal to zero support. If your passion is gone, this can be like putting your startup in a retirement home and slowly watching it die.
Again though, the value depends on the incubator program itself and you and your co-founders passion for your company. I would look at the program details and even talk with them to see what they offer aside from maybe discounted office space and then talk with your co-founder to figure out what your goals are.