Coworking

Coworking spaces provide entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs with an environment where everyone is working on their own thing, but doing it together.

When you choose to ride the lonely roller coaster of entrepreneurship, coworking can provide a cooperative, fun, and supportive environment. Coworking spaces are built to energize your work and provide a professional location to host meetings as well.

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Coworking Day is August 9th.

As you might imagine, working around others naturally leads to more interactions. A good coworking climate offers more than trendy office space. It provides members a sense of community. With so many good people in one place, coworking spaces often become a prime location for a variety of events as well. This allows you to get more involved with less effort required. Whether it’s educational sessions, random conversations throughout the day, impromptu happy hours, or larger community events, coworking connects you to more people who “get it.” The home office or local coffee shop is still great, but joining a coworking community allows you to focus on your work while enjoying a communal experience with more people who share an entrepreneurial spirit.

Incubators

Incubators warm you up until it’s time to hatch.

They are similar to coworking spaces, but incubators often focus on entrepreneurial education. This developmental focus attracts newer entrepreneurs and has incubators most often found in educational environments, with semester or year-long programs. Incubators can also be found outside educational environments. Public incubators may have less rigidity, but there’s still urgency that most entrepreneurs benefit from. The timelines of an incubator are not as compressed as accelerators, but there is usually a beginning and an end to these programs.

This rotational nature of incubators provide a cyclical, yet stabilizing effect within startup communities. Entrepreneurs working through incubator programs become stronger founders eager to stay connected. As founders transition out of an incubator, they add human, intellectual, network, and cultural capital to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their departure also makes room for the next class of entrepreneurs eager to develop a business within the incubator.

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Wondering how your business should evolve? Work around other entrepreneurs.

Another common draw of an incubator, is less expensive office space. Low rent alone attracts early tenants, but here lies the motive for many unhealthy incubators. If an incubator is only about cheap office space, the lack of heart will suck the cool right out. A fixation on cheap rent leads to less interest in helping entrepreneurs. This leaves floundering tenants starving for community. As cultural starvation occurs, entrepreneurs migrate and programs fail.

Incubators must be safe cocoons for less experienced entrepreneurs. They should allow entrepreneurs to repeatedly test, fail, and improve alongside their peers. With a supportive space dedicated to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit, incubators allow connected entrepreneurs to hatch fresh ideas ready to fly.

Accelerators

Accelerators are incubators on steroids.

These programs recruit scalable companies that have shown early promise. They coordinate dramatic transformation within a compact timeline.They are like early-stage investment firms, as they provide seed funding in exchange for equity. Accelerators hedge bets by connecting entrepreneurs to resources, mentors, customers, investors, and community allies.

The rise of the accelerator model is interesting. Accelerators help entrepreneurs build stronger companies, but they need money to function. How do they support the financial investments in each company? What about staff salaries, community events, and all the resources they provide? There’s usually an initial fund raised to start these programs. Some accelerators also have financial infusions from sponsoring organizations. With this financial foundation in place, accelerators then depend on the performance of the companies in their portfolio. When a portfolio company is acquired or exits, the accelerator’s equity converts to cash or ownership options in more successful businesses.

As an accelerator’s portfolio performs, its reach widens and the program prospers. This motivates program directors to pick the right companies. It also gives founders the confidence that the experience is built for them to succeed. These complementary relationships are how accelerators make a lasting impact in less time.

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Incubators vs. Accelerators vs. Venture Studios vs. Coworking

For entrepreneurs, so much potential makes it easy to fall in love with the idea of being an accelerator-backed company. As business owners consider applying to accelerators, it’s important to understand the terms. When startup accelerators first started in 2005, they were industry agnostic. As this collaboration-based investment strategy has evolved, industry-specific accelerators have also emerged. This means there are more accelerators than ever and not all of them will be the right fit. The educational, networked, and cultural experiences matter. Entrepreneurs must vet accelerators like they would other equity investors. Do terms of the accelerator align with the long-term goals of your company? Will the implied results outweigh an intense time commitment? Even if it’s temporary, will the team be required to relocate? How deep is the network of fellow founders who have worked through the accelerator? Do portfolio companies stay connected? If so, how does that connected landscape support your work beyond the program?

The accelerator experience can be life changing for a startup. Based on a deep understanding of each company, these action-packed programs #GiveFirst and help build on what’s working. They also quickly identify areas for improvement. This empathetic support combined with a shared mission to grow allows accelerators and their portfolio companies to be more successful as everyone collectively builds to go big.

Ideaworks

As color pops in the night sky, let’s brew on how sparking innovative business ideas might be similar to how we experience a breathtaking fireworks show.

Alright, so you’ve got the chaos of life all around you, but this moment’s focus is first directed toward finding a place to park. This frenzy has me reflecting on how our daily lives gobble up so much mental bandwidth. If you’re interested in building a new business, interesting ideas may strike within the madness all around you, but innovation takes intention. Such intention can lead to momentary movement, but it’s unlikely that lighting strikes just because we decide to brainstorm in single servings. Instead, making creative day dreaming a habit will invite serendipity in the mind. As ideas emerge and connect over time, different combinations will help map out more valuable opportunities.

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You get what you repeat. I’ve enjoyed hearing readers share how the ideation exercise featured in YDNTB provided the practice they needed to become an idea machine.

Alright, so you’ve found a spot to enjoy the fireworks? The anticipation has the crowd excited and then… a bright light flashes, right before the unmistakable sound of the first explosion arrives. The show is underway!

Shifting this spectacle back into our metaphor for innovative ideation, I think about the fuse that starts it all. There must be a way to catch fire, eh. Perhaps a willingness to slow down while maintaining urgency, actively listening, being open-minded, allowing new experiences to shift your perspective, leaning into community, and always staying curious gives the idea machine more ways to continuously flip the switch?

As each fuse is lit, we hear that thump of a firework being shot into the sky. This sound of propulsion is like ideas darting into the limitless atmosphere of our mind.

With each idea sparked, there’s a thrilling hope that what’s about to pop is exactly what we’ve always wanted. Even if it’s not the show-stopper we wanted, each “ideawork” releases different colors, shapes, and sounds that inspire the sky and connect into the broader experience. Each blast is also seen in different ways based on the vantage point. This awakens the fact that every idea has value. Bad ideas lead to better ideas. This can spark great ideas that reverberate and when given the space to merge, different ideas combine into what can be evolved into a fantastic reality.

As individual ideas pop to create a tune over time, it’s like the grand finale everyone waits for. The audience may scurry in different directions after the show, but they’ll keep talking about the impact long after the floating smoke clears. When we consistently invite different ideas to form a melody, it nourishes a system geared to be remarkable when the fuel of habitual action is applied. Keep sparkling my friends.

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Don’t wait for next year.

Celebrate

Celebrate small wins, mini moments, and game-changing achievements. This reminds everyone how fun it is to be successful. Celebrating also recharges the intoxication that comes with building things that matter. This makes people more eager to tackle new challenges, so do it often. With a connected collection of diversified milestones to keep everyone united, accountable, and motivated, here are a few easy things to celebrate.

– New Hires
– Work Anniversaries
– Product Releases
– Fresh Features
– Customer Testimonials
– Record-Breaking Activities
– Community Gatherings
– Media Spotlights
– Industry Awards
– Event Highlights
– Holidays
– Failures

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Working to establish a few cool milestones and creative ways to celebrate them? Here’s an NFT to unlock some time together!

Most companies love to celebrate together, but too much of a good thing can lead to unnecessary drama. In contrast, when there aren’t enough good times, the team forgets how to have fun as a team. To stay equitable, listen and learn how different people respond to business breakthroughs. As you consider what and ways to celebrate, invite everyone into the activity planning process. Milestones may not change, but the way you celebrate them sure can. Connecting achievements with inclusive celebrations will motivate everyone, while also infusing a freshness into the mix.

As we celebrate in style, the entire team is supported by a performance-based culture where everyone feels included and has fun building as one.