This Question Isn’t About incuTrack

Posted on February 5, 2017 · Posted in General

One major facet of the success of incuTrack is our support  — the best in the industry.  In our role as support personnel / consultants we get a lot of questions.  Typical questions might include “how do I set up a new incuTrack user”? , or, “how do I generate a report”?  These, of course, are easy for our support staff to answer and are also addressed in our training classes.   Surprisingly, we get many questions that are prefaced with the statement: “This question isn’t about your software but maybe you can answer it”.  We say “bring it on…”.

Here are a few of those questions (and answers):

“Do you have a sample lease agreement”?  “Do you have a Service Provider Agreement”?  Do you have sample language that requires the incubator client to report their economic impact data”?  “Where can I find a sample client handbook”?

There are a number of answers to these questions, but we find the best place to start is to go to the INBIA bookstore ( and purchase a copy of “Put It in Writing II: A Guide to Incubator Policies, Procedures, and Agreements”.

Here’s how it’s described:

NBIA’s best-selling book features a discussion of why written policies and procedures are paramount for efficient incubator operations and provides you with sample documents to help guide your efforts. This book doesn’t replace a lawyer, but it’s a great legal assistant. A zip file of sample documents from the book will be emailed to you following your purchase.

Oftentimes we will get a question about “best practices”.  “Do I need a written mission statement”?, or, “Do I need a marketing plan”?, and, “if I had such things how do they correlate to my success”?

In 2011, The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA), a longtime financial supporter of business incubators, funded a research study to examine the relationship between incubator best practices and client outcomes. This research – conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy; the State University of New York at Albany, the National Business Incubation Association, and Cybergroup Inc. (that’s us) – used a robust methodology to collect and statistically analyze data, and determine specific relationships between how an incubation program operates and how its client companies perform, as measured by a number of outcomes.

The purpose of the study was to test whether there is a causal relationship between business incubation practices and client firm success, particularly after these firms have moved out of – or graduated – from the incubation program. Using the results of this study, the research team also created a Web-based tool for incubation practitioners that measures their program’s performance compared with industry best practices and provides feedback about how they can improve their performance, and a brochure that highlights the study’s findings.  To learn more about the study and to compare your incubator’s practices to best practices, go to:

Many incubator and acceleration programs are either starting anew in mentoring or trying to equip their mentors with new approaches. Perhaps you have a new Entrepreneur-in-Residence and she asks the question we are often asked: “What mentoring tools do other programs use”?

One tool we frequently recommend is GrowthWheel ( GrowthWheel is a visual toolbox for decision making and action planning for startup and growth companies. It helps entrepreneurs build their businesses through a simple action oriented process that stays true to the way most entrepreneurs think and work. For the business advisor, the absolute flexibility of the toolbox means that it can be fully adapted to existing advisory tools and client needs, and it can even be used by clients themselves, thereby saving time for the advisor.

In addition to GrowthWheel there are valuable mentoring tools available through WKI ( WKI gives innovators the ability to discover the business value of their ideas and unlock their full potential. For more than a decade, their methodology has been helping to bridge the gap in understanding between innovators with new ideas and people who are looking to support those ideas.