With a growing number of startup accelerators, bootcamps and incubators out there, here are some tips for having a good experience once you’re in a program. This comes from running two startup accelerators (three-month full-time programs) and three bootcamps (three-month part-time programs).
Be Coachable. Disagreeing with feedback is fine and necessary at times but be open to new ideas and ways of operating. There’s no point to participate in a program if you’re not willing to try something new.
Be Social. There are a few types of being social. One is getting to know the other startups in the program, helping each other out, going out for drinks or dinner. Too much of that and you wake up to find you didn’t get enough work done. Not enough and you leave without getting to know new people who you might work with in the future and without getting their assistance during the program. Find the balance that works for you.
Don’t Disappear. I’ve seen startups withhold news that is obviously bad but necessary to share, such as the loss of a co-founder or issues with money. Disappearing means that we can’t help — because we don’t know.
Don’t Lose Momentum. After the program, no matter how disciplined you are you will probably lose momentum. We try to keep things going by continuing to talk to the startups afterwards, but it doesn’t compare to being in the thick of things during the program. Create habits that will help you continue after the program ends, such as keeping a regular group meeting and using mentors’ and advisors’ expectations to keep the pressure on.