Friday, September 25, 2009

Incubator Syndrome

I was reading a blog entry on incubators, and the author advised prospective clients to watch out for incubator syndrome: "in which the entrepreneur allows their initiative and judgment to be replaced by those of the consultants in the center." I had never heard this term used, but a quick Google search showed others have referred to the same.

If you are starting a business, and the incubator manager says he has started multiple businesses, and met with many companies, and here is what you need to do, you might well decide to follow me, rather than your vision.

And that would be bad.

But is it a 'syndrome'? I am no more easily able to manipulate your initiative than any other person you might depend on for advice.

It is true that I have to be careful to acknowledge that what advice I provide is just that - advice. My confidence of how you need to sell or market your product, while based in experience, is not the 'truth'.

What is more important than worrying about whether you will fall susceptible to the incubator manager's beguiling, is whether you really are making good decisions based on the advice you receive, and what your action will be. If you refuse to listen to advice and want to go it your own way, then why come into the incubator in the first place? Get clear in your mind what you want to do to be successful and then pursue that.

Most incubator managers are there to help you, not manipulate you into their vision of your company.

Of course, when I heard the use of the word 'syndrome' - i was reminded of the SNL skit "The Pepsi Syndrome"! I assure you, incubators are not like the nuclear power plants of the skit.

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