Do you have a business start-up project or an idea to grow your current business: do you wonder where to start?

Whether you are in high technology or in a traditional sector, here are some tips that can help you: find mentors, act quickly and develop a winning argument.

These tips are based on the techniques used in acceleration programs, which are increasingly being used by Canadian technology entrepreneurs to turn promising ideas into profitable business realities.

These programs are not only aimed at young companies in new technologies.

Established companies in traditional sectors can also benefit from the mindset of a start-up company.

How does it work?

Here’s how an acceleration program works: you are given the opportunity to discuss your promising idea with 120 venture capitalists and mentors from companies like Amazon and Facebook, while immersing yourself in an intensive 12-week program designed to help you move from concept to a viable business plan.

Participants have the opportunity to obtain start-up funds and find customers and potential investors.

“We give these entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet very influential people and build useful and lasting relationships,” says Ian Jeffrey, general manager of FounderFuel, a Montreal acceleration program that has helped several companies raise venture capital.

Here are some tips from these programs that may be useful for both start-ups and existing companies looking to grow.

Find mentors

In acceleration programs, mentors (accomplished business people who want to “give to others”) are essential to the success of entrepreneurs.

Tip: Use your networks to find mentors. They can provide you with very valuable feedback. You should also consider creating an advisory committee for your company.

You can look for mentors at your local chamber of commerce, in industry groups or even on professional networking sites, press release, and discussion forums.

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