As numerous entrepreneurs understand, a business incubator can be priceless in converting an idea for a product or service into a promising business. Though did you know that multiple business incubators have connections with local lawyers?
When an entrepreneur is in the process of beginning a business, they may have extremely little room in which to work and not enough time or funds to locate all the space and resources they require for the business. This is where business incubators arrive.
Business incubators work to assist start-up companies to become financially self-sustaining and feasible. They can deliver the following help for a new business:
- Rooms that are generally relaxed and leased for a low-rate
- Help for funding and financing a business
- Group rates for health, life, and other insurance policies
- Resources that will benefit your business such as libraries, meeting rooms, access to fax and copy machines, and secretarial aids such as telephone answering and bookkeeping
- Networking with other start-up company owners
Through these connections, entrepreneurs can frequently take advantage of complimentary consultations, conferences, office hours, and written advice from certified lawyers. In addition, entrepreneurs may be able to find discounted hourly prices for legal assistance procured through the business incubator.
The lawyers who have forged connections with business incubators are experienced in dealing with standard problems among start-up companies and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs should take advantage of these attorneys’ knowledge, particularly if the gathering is discounted or free.
Among other legal needs, developing businesses may want to confer with professional lawyers for issues such as:
- Entity Formation: No business should be run – not even initial or rehearsal work – without the formation of a business. Designating a corporate entity is necessary to shield the principal’s personal assets from liability. Such liability can occasionally emerge very early in the process of creating a business idea.
- Outside the sheer registration of a company, a firm operating agreement is essential to designate the rights and duties of officers, shareholders, members, partners, and investors. Talks with a lawyer can help you select the proper corporate form and suitable governing documents for an entrepreneur’s precise needs.
- Protection of Intellectual Property: If your business centers around an unexplored concept or design, how do you guard it? Talk with an intellectual property attorney about patent registration, trademark registration, non-disclosure agreements, and other methods for shielding your vision.
- If your business incubator delivers access to an intellectual property lawyer, an initial consultation should give you an excellent understanding of whether your concept is protectable and the soundest way to safeguard intellectual property. This defense should be in position before you disclose the idea to potential partners, investors, or consumers.
In addition to shielding your own intellectual property, talking with an intellectual property lawyer may aid you in avoiding infringing on another person’s intellectual property or breaking personal protection rules. Will your company be gathering personally identifiable data? Is the title for your product already a registered trademark owned by another user? Did you use images, graphics, tests, or other content on your website that is the copyright-protected property of another writer?
If your suggested notion of content would infringe another party’s trademarks, copyrights, patents, or personal data rights, it is most reasonable to understand and handle the issue early. Otherwise, important assets and charity could be relinquished, and significant liability could materialize.
How Do I Learn Which Business Incubator Is Good for My Business?
There are some characteristics you should contemplate when determining which business incubator is most suitable for your needs:
- What benefits does the incubator deliver?
- What are the prices for the assistance supplied by the incubator?
- Are existing tenants happy with the incubator?
- What guidelines and policies do you have to obey?
- Can you get out of the lease agreement without much annoyance if your business does not completely work out?
- How is the management of the incubator? Does it have satisfactory ties to the business community?
Keep in mind that incubators do not operate your company for you. You will still have all the responsibilities of the business owner and must put forth your own personal action and resourcefulness.
Benefits of Incubators
Given the various benefits associated with membership in an incubator program, small industry consultants often guide their clients to at least explore the chance of reserving a spot in one.
Strengths of incubators include the following:
Shared Basic Operating Costs
Tenants in a business incubator share a wide range of overhead expenses, including utilities, office supplies, computer services, conference rooms, laboratories, and receptionist services. In addition, basic rent costs are usually below average for the region where the rookie company works, which lets entrepreneurs discover more savings. It is worth mentioning, however, that incubators do not let tenants stay in the program forever; most lease arrangements at incubator facilities operate for three years, with some programs presenting one or two one-year renewal opportunities.
Consulting and Executive Help
Incubator leaders and staff members can often deliver insightful guidance and knowledge on a wide expanse of business topics, from trade to business development financing. Small business owners should recognize that the individuals responsible for managing the incubator program are usually fairly knowledgeable about different parts of the business world. They are a resource that should be fully used.
Access to Capital
Many business incubators support entrepreneurs to obtain money by means of revolving loans and micro-loan funds. They connect companies to investors by referral. They aid entrepreneurs in readying presentations to venture capitalists and aid companies in applying for loans. Start-ups are supported in increasing capital simply by being accepted by an incubator program. These programs act as a qualifying filter. Those who are accepted boost legitimacy in the business community.
The Universality of Incubator Idea
One of the fundamental benefits of incubators is that the idea works in communities of all forms, sizes, demographic segments, and industries. In many circumstances, the incubator inherently takes on some of the attributes of the community in which it is located. For instance, rural-based incubators may establish companies founded on the agriculture present in the region.
But whether based in a little town in the Midwest or a big urban location on the West Coast, supporters of incubator programs claim that the small business individuals in the community would comprehend more about how to begin and manage such businesses than major corporations that concentrate on mass production.
Aspects to Consider in Picking an Incubator
Numerous incubators have been key in fostering small businesses to the point where they can make it on their own. But onlookers report that the programs are not infallible. Some small businesses fail despite their membership in such programs; incubators themselves sometimes fold, incapacitated by any number of facets. Entrepreneurs, then, must acknowledge that some incubators are better fitted to satisfy their needs than others.
Concerns to consider when selecting an incubator include the following:
- Is It a Real Incubator?—Some office building owners falsely promote themselves as incubators in order to attract tenants. Entrepreneurs need to learn the particulars of each offer to decide whether such claims are honest.
- Length of Process—Incubators take some time to confirm their standing in an area unless they are funded by an extremely high-profile business or a well-funded government agency.
- Incubator Leadership—Many reviewers claim that entrepreneurs can realize a tremendous deal about the fundamental quality of an incubator program merely by inspecting the program’s leadership. Is the incubator operated by individuals with experience in business or by general university or agency officials? Can the managers deliver long-term business plans that demonstrate how they plan to navigate the incubator to financial freedom?
- Location—Does the incubator’s location satisfactorily address your newcomer organization’s necessities in terms of a target market, transportation, competition, and prospective growth strategies?
- Financing—Is the incubator’s economic base trustworthy, or is it on unsteady ground?
Entrepreneurs curious about exploring the incubator idea can solicit facts from several authorities, including the Small Business Administration, area economic development agencies, area educational institutions, or the National Business Incubation Association.
Should I Consult an Attorney before Becoming Involved with a Business Incubator?
Most of the time, entrepreneurs will become involved with business incubators because they do not have the money and resources to support their business all by themselves. It is not really a surprise then that many entrepreneurs may not have the money to consult an attorney before getting involved with a business incubator.
However, keep in mind that when you deal with a business incubator, you are going to form a contractual agreement that is legally enforceable. If you have the time and money, you should consult a corporate attorney with start-up business experience. Your attorney will be able to go over any contracts with you and make sure your best interests and the interests of your business are adequately represented.