Some incubators require owners to attend regular business management seminars.Â Ashtae Products Inc., a haircare company in Greensboro, North Carolina, partners with North Carolina A&T University to operate the Business & Entrepreneurship Skills Training (BEST) Center, a local business incubator. Entrepreneurs affiliated with the BEST Center must take a nine-month course on business ownership, says Michael Woods, Ashtae CEO.Â â€śParticipants have to spend the time in the classroom to understand the financials.â€ť
Network, network, network. Once accepted into a business incubator, entrepreneurs should take advantage of the networking opportunities they bring, including attending any sponsored seminars or lectures.
There are also informal ways to network.Â Jackson says that the AACCCPâ€™s incubator houses companies in diverse industriesâ€”from legal representation to event planning to trash haulingâ€”and owners often meet with each other to discuss their business needs.Â â€śEntrepreneurs can find new customers within the halls of their own incubator,â€ť he says.
Leave the nest. If there is one disadvantage to incubators, itâ€™s that their guidance doesnâ€™t last forever, Mixon says. â€śThe typical length of time for services is about five years,â€ť she says. At the five year mark, start-ups should have had time to establish a solid sales history and a healthy balance sheet, and be ready to function without start-up assistance, says Mixon.Â â€śEntrepreneurs have to make sure theyâ€™re constantly planning, so theyâ€™ll be ready to move on when the time is up.â€ť
Entrepreneurial Development Center – African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Pennsylvania