To be competitive, pitch your company early and often. If you can't articulate your company’s value proposition to family, friends and peers, then your company’s story won't connect with investors or customers. Additionally, great pitches don’t come from an echo chamber, so be on the lookout for those who you know will disagree with you. When your pitch day comes, you’ll already know how to simply and clearly communicate your vision so crafting your message to the non-believers in the room will be no problem at all.

In selecting an incubator or competition that is the right fit for your company, look closely at the program’s output and track record. Start with companies that you admire and study how the company benefited from the program, either through financing, marketing or even recruiting. Look, too, at the program’s advisors. Find people from whom you are excited to learn and who have networks that can help you. Also, look closely at how these programs support companies after they have "graduated." Is that the end of the relationship, or the beginning of a long-term relationship that you will benefit from for years to come? Through these questions you can find the incubator that will best suit your company’s needs.

Related: Thinking of Joining an Incubator? Check Off These 5 Things First.