Tag Archives | mentorship

Business Accelerator

See also:
Dilemma of Financing a Start Up Company
Why do most startups fail?
Financing a Startup

Business Accelerator Definition

The business accelerator definition is a program that includes mentorship, education, and typically a “demo day” where companies are able to pitch their business to the business community. This business community is typically comprised of potential vendors, investors, partners, and customers.

Start ups, early stage companies, or subsidiaries of existing companies participate in business accelerators to accelerate their sales, operations, and financials.

Business accelerators are either publicly or privately funded. Publicly funded accelerators are funded by the government. They typically do not take any equity. But they generally focus on a specific industry – including biotech, fin tech, med tech, and clean tech. Whereas privately funded accelerators are funded by private entities. Because there is a higher risk for the investors, they typically take some equity or provide capital as debt.

Regardless of the type of business accelerator, it’s important to note that they are highly competitive. Application processes are usually extensive as each accelerator needs to protect their reputation – the companies they “pump” out.


As an introvert, business accelerators can seem daunting, but it is great networking place! Click the button to download our Networking for Introverts Guide.

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Purpose of a Business Accelerator

The purpose of a business accelerator or accelerator programs is to grow young companies by nourishing them with the support, connections, and knowledge they need to be successful. Many times universities will have an accelerator program to monetize the intellectual property created. Likewise, governments will host these programs to fill a gap in their initiatives.

Should You be a Part of a Business Accelerator?

Now that you know what an accelerator can do for you, should you be a part of an accelerator? It all depends on the size of your company, whether you need further mentorship and coaching, and if you are preparing for a round of financing.

Need to Mentorship & Coaching

Many of our clients don’t realize how valuable mentorship and coaching until they become coaching participants in our Financial Leadership Workshop. Mentorship and coaching can help further your network, your product, your process, and your brand. They provide a non-filtered, un-biased support that, while may sometimes be harsh, will help further your company.

Preparation for Financing

If you are preparing for your Series A, seed capital, venture capital, or angel investment, it’s important that you see all your options. As more companies are starting up, you will see the investor pool growing. Just because you know only one Angel investor now does not mean that is your only option. Accelerators help connect the right investor for your company to you.

Business Accelerator vs. Business Incubator

One question we get often is, “what’s the difference between a business accelerator and a business incubator?” A business accelerator can often last anywhere from a couple weeks up to a year. Whereas a business incubator holds companies from a year up to several years. An incubator’s goal is to develop a successful company, so until they are ready to fly, they continue to incubate them.

Need guidance in networking and taking advantage of your business accelerator experience? Download your free Networking for Introverts guide and start building your network today.

Business Accelerator, Business Accelerator Definition, Purpose of a Business Accelerator

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Business Accelerator, Business Accelerator Definition, Purpose of a Business Accelerator

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Designing an Internship Program

5 Steps to Designing an Internship Program

Internship programs are a great way for your organization to bring in new talent and fresh ideas with motivated and knowledgeable interns. Many companies offer internship programs for college students. Both the organization and the interns benefit from the value of an internship experience. Establishing successful intern programs involve several key steps that are simple to implement and maintain. Following are five steps to designing an internship program:

1. Planning your Internship Programs

The first step to designing successful intern programs is to plan ahead. Decide on your company’s goals and expectations for your internship programs. Do this by creating an internship job description, establishing intern responsibilities, and planning on internship projects. Setting an internship plan of action will facilitate the accomplishment of both your company’s and your intern’s goals and expectations. As an employer, you should decide on the conditions of your internship program. Establish clear terms for the intern’s work schedule and the internship time frame so that both the organization and the interns are in agreement for how long the internship program will last. In addition, determine whether your internship program will be paid or unpaid. Follow the Fair Labor Standards Act for more information about unpaid internship legal requirements.

2. Internship Program Orientation

Establish internship orientations before your interns start their internship programs. Intern orientations introduce the interns into the company and ease the interns’ transition into the workplace. Company cultures vary across organizations. Internship orientations enhance interns’ awareness of the company culture, introduce your interns to the company and to other employees, and offer an inside look into the workplace environment. It is important for you to clarify in your orientation the internship program policies and procedures and to address the interns’ initial questions or concerns. Interns will work better for you and your company if you offer them insight into decision-making processes and organizational culture. In addition, organizations should develop intern training plans during the intern orientation process to help the interns identify, develop, and learn the skills that will be necessary to excel in the internship program.

3. Intern Supervision and Mentorship

Provide internship program supervision and mentorship throughout the internship experience. Coordinate a designated employee to be the intern programs supervisor. Most interns are new to the workplace environment, so organizations should offer direction and support to maximize interns’ productivity. However, it is also important to offer interns autonomy and responsibilities. If the interns don’t know how to do something, you should instruct them to go and figure it out. The interns will improve their skills and learn to problem solve on their own. Young interns are high on energy and are excited to learn new things. Give the interns meaningful and internship responsibilities and projects with foreseeable deadlines in order to build a sense of task accomplishment and completion. This will motivate the interns to think outside the box and bring fresh, creative ideas into the organization.

Communicate and meet with the interns regularly to review progress and plan ahead. Communication is the key to building trust between the interns and the employers so that the interns can effectively make progress and accomplish tasks. Interns are eager to receive affirmation that you are pleased with their work. Mentor and support the interns to maximize the interns’ potential and to maximize the value of the internship program for both the organization and the intern.

4. Internship Program Problems

Prepare for internship problems or issues ahead of time! Things might go wrong, so it is important for you to create back up plans for urgent issues. Identify problems early and designate someone to get involved to create effective and easy to implement solutions.

For example, if interns are overwhelmed or intimidated by a task or project, offer them the support and guidance to come and talk to you about it. If the interns have any questions or concerns, make it clear that there is always someone in the organization to be their internship supervisor. Internship mistakes are bound to occur during the internship experience. Turn interns’ mistakes into constructive feedback and learning. You don’t want your interns to lose confidence in their abilities or motivation to do things. Learning from mistakes leads to improvement and lays the foundation for future success.

5. Internship Program Mistakes

Avoid these common intern program mistakes:

– Some employers do not communicate, offer feedback, or provide support for the interns. They seem to throw their interns into the deep end and then expect them to figure out a way to survive on their own. Internship communication and mentorship are vital to instilling interns’ dedication to their work. If you do not communicate or offer feedback, how can interns feel confident that they are doing a good job?

– Another intern program mistake is that the organization provides the interns with busy work rather than meaningful internship projects. Do NOT establish internship programs for “cheap labor.” Instead, design internships to bring in new perspectives, ideas, and skill sets to enhance your organization. An effective internship program will have value for both the interns and the organization.

– There are some organizations that push the interns into a corner and segregate them from other employees. If full-time employees do not know the first name of the interns, the interns become demoralized and feel like outcast within the organization. Employers should introduce the interns to other employees and invite them into some meetings so that the interns feel like they belong. When you encourage dedicated interns to be involved and active within the organization, it leads to increased intern productivity and creativity.

Determine which candidates are the right fit for your company by downloading our 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team.

designing an internship program

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designing an internship program

See also:
Recruiting a Winning Team

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Advisory Board Best Practices

See Also:
How to Run an Effective Meeting
Future of the Accounting Workforce
How To Train People For Success
Advisory Board Agreement
How to Hire New Employees
How to form an Advisory Board

Advisory Board Best Practices

Best Practices of advisory board management include setting an agenda, communicating with members and soliciting recommendations. Once you set up your advisory board, all of these goals can be relatively easy to achieve.

Advisory Board Agenda

Meetings are typically a routine – a pre-planned event with an advisory board meeting agenda. They are usually a lunch meeting that lasts into the late afternoon or it can be an early dinner meeting that lasts into the early evening. You can hold these meetings in a private room at a restaurant or club. You want it to be somewhere that is quiet and where you and the advisory board members can have an uninterrupted conversation with food and drink provided.

Advisory board meetings typically last between three and four hours, depending on how full the agenda is for a meeting. It is a good idea to publish an advisory board meeting agenda in advance. If members are required to read or prepare anything, then they will have enough time to be ready for the meeting.

The expected outcome of the advisory board meeting is for you to get some recommendations, advice, and perspective. It is not necessarily to make decisions as in a traditional board meeting, with votes taken on motions and minutes of the meeting taken and published.

Advisory Board Communication

You can include advisory board members in the distribution of your monthly financial and operational reports for the company, in order to keep them up to speed on how the company is progressing. This can be beneficial if your advisory board meets on a quarterly basis. You can communicate via email. Furthermore, some advisory boards will have members who engage in discussion between meetings, via email or in person. In addition, advisory board members may meet individually with the company’s president or CEO in between advisory board meetings.

To learn more financial leadership skills, download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs.

advisory board best practices

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advisory board best practices

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UH Entrepreneurship Mentor Program

The University of Houston Wolff School for Entrepreneurship is looking for seasoned, compassionate entrepreneurs to mentor a university student through an experience that has the potential to change both lives. The UH Entrepreneurship Mentor Program has changed lives.

Every year the University of Houston educates 2,000 students in entrepreneurship. From this pool, the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship selects 40 students to participate in a year and a half, lock-step entrepreneurial experience. In addition to six courses spread over the three semesters, the student participates in sixteen programs and experiences that are outside the classroom.  (These are as diverse as spending a week-end with Warren Buffett to traveling to a prison to coach a prisoner in the Prison Entr. Program.)

UH Entrepreneurship Mentor Program

The single most important part of the WCE experience is creating a relationship with a personal mentor. The program provides each student with a personal mentor that not only coaches and advises on the student’s business, but equally significant, helps the student develop a vision for their future and helps identify stepping stones going forward. Most mentors believe they derive more benefit than they deliver from this relationship. (Our students would not agree, and for many of them, these relationships carry on for years after the student gets out in the real world.)

Ideal Mentor

The ideal mentor would be someone who had:

  • Entrepreneurial success and failure
  • A willingness to share their experience and Mentor an undergraduate entrepreneur
  • The capability to understand a student and help them turn their passion into success
  • The time to attend a monthly meeting for two hours (No meetings in summer or over holidays…total of 9 meetings over the year and a half.)
  • Meet informally once a month

If any of you believe that this opportunity might be a fit for your life, please contact: info@StrategicCFO.com

Mentoring is another way you can also be a trusted advisor to your CEO. Learn how you can be the best wingman with our free How to be a Wingman guide!

UH Entrepreneurship Mentor Program

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UH Entrepreneurship Mentor Program

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3 Things – Selecting Advisory Board Members

Discover 3 things you should know about Selecting Advisory Board Members. In the video Jim Wilkinson, President and founder of The Strategic CFO discusses 3 useful tips you should know about selecting members for an Advisory Board.

Selecting Advisory Board Members

Watch the following video to learn about selecting advisory board members.

1. Do Not Add More Board Members You Are Willing To Impress

You must be able to share mistakes and shortcomings. Adding board members that you want to impress is counterintuitive. The purpose of the Advisory Board is to help and guide – not affirm and praise.

2. Pick Board Members With Unique Talents

Pick board members that have unique talents that are different from your own. For example, if you are strong in accounting and not in sales, consider selecting a member that is strong in sales. Also, consider picking board members that have been there, done that. Another option is having a former customer on your board to provide a different perspective.

3. Do Not Be Afraid To Swap Out Board Members

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to contribute equally. Some members are simply going to be “duds”. Do not be afraid to swap out that member for another that will be more valuable to you.

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Selecting Advisory Board Members

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Forming Advisory Boards for Entrepreneurs

Dave Steitz with Steitz Partners discusses forming advisory boards for entrepreneurs. He also discusses the compensation of advisory boards and management of the advisory board meeting. An advisory board is one of the most powerful tools an entrepreneur can implement to spur growth and profitability!

Forming Advisory Boards for Entrepreneurs

The advisory board is meant to be a support or advocate for the company’s leadership. They are also meant to be a resource for the President or CFO. Some of the advantages include providing diversity of perspective that would not be present inside the organization. When forming advisory boards, understand your expectations of the advisory board.

forming advisory boards for entrepreneurs

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