It was surely hard work; filling out applications, hours spent crafting your pitch deck, revisions, corrections, etc. After many iterations and weeks of work later, here come the magic words: You – are – in!
Fireworks, champagne, smiles and phone calls… enjoy the time to celebrate. Being accelerated is a true privilege and there are hundreds of thousands of startups and co-founders battling for the spot you just got.
It’s time to rely on a cliché to bring founders back to reality and warn you: This is just the beginning. And as co-founders, you have no time to lose.
So, forget your hangover, gather your co-founder and check out our pro tips on how you can better prepare for your accelerator program. Its a unique opportunity and you will want to make every single effort to maximize it – so start here:
1 – Talk to family, friends and lovers
Its easy to imagine that everyone who loves you is going to feel happy for you, right? Right! And we’re sure they will. That does not mean, though, that they will understand that they, also, are part of your efforts.
As a startup (under acceleration or not) you are pretty much married to your company. It will be the first thing you think when you open your eyes and for several nights in a roll it is going to be the one occupying your thoughts. It will be the owner of your schedule, the one deciding where you live, how much you sleep, what (if) you eat and much more.
Be sure to set clear and basic rules with your beloved ones so they can be understanding when you cannot make it for that dinner or when you seem to not be able to focus on anything.
(Hey – we believe that founders have to care about their quality of life and all successful founders manage to have a healthy and happy personal life – you should as well. For more tips, check out this article here)
2 – Learn about the lean methodology
No, It is not a secret. Yes, it is free and open source knowledge. Of course: You should know it. In fact, everyone knows it, right? Lean methodology, Lean Startup, Lean canvas.. I’m sure you heard these words before and if you are not on top of the topic: it is time to be.
Start with the basics: Steve Blank, Eric Ries and Ash Maurya have their publications widely available. Open your wallet, buy the book/ebook/audiobook, and use some of your time to really understand the concepts and applications of the lean methodologies for Startups. It is very likely that the accelerator you’ll be part of will work based on this methodology and being on top of the whole thing will just spare you some precious energy that can be fully applied into building a product that users love.
3 – Is your idea a business?
It’s great to have an idea – even better if you turn it into a product. Have you considered what are the business aspects of the venture you are on the way to build? We all know that – if you follow the Lean methodology properly – several aspects of your idea will be pivoted. Changes will be made and definitely it will look different than you originally envisioned it. This is not a reason though to treat the business aspect of your startup as secondary.
As Mike Baur, CEO of the Swiss Startup Factory, said “the bottom line is that investors will need to see some financial potential in your startup so they can be on board as well”. Be sure to keep in mind who are your competitors, how you plan to make money and draft a long term strategy. Jeff Bezos and Ellon Musk did it, why wouldn’t you?
4 – Be ready to be a founder
At the moment you’re a hustler. A designer, a developer, an engineer, a banker… You are a person with a dream and that is admirable. You have to be aware – though – that things are going to change.
You’re becoming a founder. You’re becoming the brain, the arms, the feet and especially the heart of a living organism; Your startup depends heavily on you and your energy. it sounds very obvious, doesn’t it? And it is.
It is so obvious but still we see founders forgetting to be founders. And this reminder is exactly for you to prepare to be one. Be ready to be accountable for your own decisions, to be in charge of things you’ve never thought before. Train yourself, study, read, follow good examples and don’t worry: You’ll learn a lot during the process.
It’s time for us to get going. Your accelerator program starts soon (and so does ours) and there is a lot for everyone to take care of. We’re so excited to hear back from you all soon with follow up information on how your accelerator program is going.
Meanwhile: Work Hard, Play Hard!