Yesterday I was talking with an entrepreneurial civic leader and he was telling me about the pre-accelerator program they do. Hmm, pre-accelerator, I hadn’t heard of that before. With the incredible growth of programs like Y Combinator and TechStars, and the corresponding level of difficulty to get accepted, it makes sense that programs are emerging to help prep startups for the application process.
Here are a few components of a potential pre-accelerator program:
- Pitch Practice – Entrepreneurs love to talk about their vision. Only, 9 times out of 10 it is too jargon-filled and complicated for the average person to understand. Refining this message and coming up with a written elevator pitch that’s 30 seconds long is a great exercise.
- Goal Setting – When asked, most entrepreneurs say they want to be successful. Then, the next logical question is “how do you define success?” and there’s rarely a concrete answer. Entrepreneurs need to think through and write down SMART goals.
- MVP Development – Many startups applying to an accelerator program already have a minimum viable product (MVP) and some even have a number of paying customers. No longer is it enough to apply to an accelerator program with only an idea so there’s a need to put a prototype together in advance of the application.
- Executive Summary – Building a simple two page document that succinctly describes the main aspects of the startup is a start rite of passage for entrepreneurs. The executive summary should contain information about the idea, team, market, product, and more.
Look for more pre-accelerator programs to form and entrepreneurs to get value regardless of whether or not they’re accepted in an accelerator program. Entrepreneurship is hard and programs that help increase the chance of success are an important part of the community.
What else? What are some more thoughts on pre-accelerator programs?