You’re looking into starting your own business. Right now, you may feel like you’re in the larval stage — you have a bank account, you’ve got a decent understanding of bookkeeping basics, and you’ve purchased your Shopify domain. That doesn’t mean, however, that you are 100 percent sure of the idea that you’ve got kicking around your head. If you feel like you need support, you’re not alone. Many young professionals are now turning to collaborative environments as they embark on their businesses.
These shared work spaces are commonly called Incubators, and they are designed to accelerate the development of new products and businesses, according to Entrepreneur.com. The shared work spaces came about as a way for people to have an office to go to while not having to take on the entirety of the rent on their own. After being accepted into the incubator, you’re expected to contribute either to other businesses in the form of your own expertise or assist with paying the rent. Modeled after shared art spaces that are popular in artistic communities, the business model can be engaging on many levels. Is this sort of environment right for you?
Incubators are good for second opinions
If you have an idea that just needs to be fine-tuned, you could get a lot of benefit from putting it in front of others. Since incubators tend to interview the people who come on and work with them, odds are that you are going to be in the company of like-minded people who are working in your industry. Being included in the incubator means that you have free access to their knowledge as they have to yours. The benefits of collaborative environments are massive and include a cheaper travel and consulting budget, according to the Ivey Business Journal. Studies by the University of Phoenix have also shown that people innovate faster and with more enthusiasm in group environments. Relying on the strengths of your group fosters a sense of accomplishment when members succeed. This will help you overcome your own dry spells in progress.
Some people may be conflicted with sharing the ins and outs of their business with strangers. Because everyone is working on their own projects, however, theft is very rare. Instead, these environments tend to harbor an extremely active working environment that allows people to trial many different ideas before committing funding to them.
Another issue with incubators is that there is such a thing as too much feedback. With ideas consistently flowing it can be difficult to pin down where you need to go. It can also cause a new entrepreneur to try to take on too much with their first business venture. It’s best to try to keep a simply paced flow for your first idea, get something working in place and then expand your ideas.
Incubators are busy
While the idea of working in a fast-paced kind of environment is fun for many, some people get overwhelmed easily. They are more easily married to web and tech interface sorts of companies. People that are easily distracted by others coming in and out or conversations around them can find the Incubator environment to be too much. Instead of being inspired by everything going on around them, they lose focus. Some people find that they need a more rigid sort of schedule and environment. Many people find a lack of structure to actually be a source of stress, according to Forbes. While there are resources to help budding business people manage their time, in reality some people simply need a day to day structure.
The bottom line with incubators is that people are starting to get away from the idea of a 9 to 5 office and a 40-hour work week. Instead, the office is a place one goes when they need or want to and the work is something that isn’t beholden to a clock. This is why many people choose to start their own business to begin with.
Incubators foster a sense of community
For many people, the idea of leaving the office life can be both freeing and terrifying. They know that they are driven to work for themselves, but they also know that they will be in charge of making their own structure. Without a firm place to be everyday, many people can feel depressed or like they are just coasting by in life. Without people to report to, even in a vague sense, a new entrepreneur can feel like they’re not succeeding.
While you are not required to keep to any schedule with an incubator, you are going to be around other people who are motivated. They will ask you about how your work is going and give you a sense of accountability. As you foster relationships within your incubator it can also be a networking stepping stone to more work opportunities.
About the Author: Simon Davis has been a full-time business writer four years and has had the privilege of attending some of the most renowned business conclaves across the world. When not on business, he loves spending time with his girlfriend and a bit of adventure sports.