First, my apologies for the late publication this week. I’ve fallen a bit under the weather and was subsequently in bed, making “Operation Vertical” more of an undertaking than I wanted.
But all clouds have a silver lining, and as I was stuck sick in bed, I knew the subject of this week’s entry: business incubation.
I’m sick. Everyone in my life has been giving me advice. There’s Team “Drink OJ” vs. Team “Drink Tea.” There’s the crowd telling me to stay in bed vs. the one that advises I force myself to stay active. And that wasbefore I called my mother.
The same is true in business. When you’re starting a new venture, or are in your first growth phase, everyone is giving you advice. It can be completely daunting. And let’s face it, like any infant, your business is still weak.
But imagine if you had a place to grow responsibly. Imagine a place that offers small business services tailored exactly to your needs as a new business owner. That’s what a business incubator is: it specializes in nurturing infant businesses. They offer programs and resources to help guide the way. They offer access to local business networks and can even help find lower-than-market rent for new office space.
For my local readers, a good resource to check out is the Roaring Fork Business Resource Center in Glenwood Springs. I am on the Advisory Council as a business plan and marketing consultant. If you are an RFBRC client, you’ll enjoy $75 off your business plan and 10 percent off any other purchases with The Write People LLC.
I worked for the National Business Incubation Association’s publications department for almost two years during my time at Ohio University. It was the first time I had ever heard of the business incubation industry. Two years later, I still think it is sincerely undervalued.
Business incubators’ missions focus on stimulating local economies by making communities more entrepreneurial friendly. By helping foster new businesses, they inadvertently create new and retain local jobs.
If you think your business could benefit from a business incubator, don’t wait! Incubators focus on emerging businesses; if your business is established but still in its first phases of growth, consider a small business development center (SBDC), which offers programs for businesses at all stages.
Of course, incubators and SBDCs, while usually non-profit organizations, have to pay staff and maintain operating costs, etc. Which means there is a minimal fee structure for clients. If you’re on a tight budget and need access to free education tools, the Small Business Administration offers free training on everything from accounting to advertising.
Looking forward to your success story,
Have an issue that you want addressed? Leave us a comment with your suggestion, and we’ll tackle it on next week’s blog entry!