Many people have thought about starting a business but stopped themselves because they were afraid, worried they’d get out of their depth or concerned they didn’t have the time and energy. Quite frankly, starting a business involves all these things (and more).
Knowing when to start your business and knowing when you’re procrastinating so that your business is forever a day away can really help get you started. The perfect time to start your own business may be very personal, but identifying that time isn’t as hard as you might think, either. There’s no such thing as a “perfect time” to start your own business. You have to choose the right time for you. So, this article offers as many viewpoints as possible to help you make that decision.
So, the most secure start is one where you have six months’ worth of expenses in the bank, where you have done all the preparation work and you have clients already on the line so that you’re earning from day one. That’s a pretty fair definition of the most secure start, but bear in mind two things:
Don’t let the perfect start put you off starting forever.
Many people have succeeded in starting with none of those advantages. They had no money and no clients, and they wouldn’t go back to a 9-5 job for all the tea in China.
Kind of like deciding to have a baby, timing to start a business is never going to be perfect. There’s only so much planning, dreaming, and plotting you can do before you just have to take the leap. You’ve garnered some motivation, your business plan is written and your website is perfection. What are you waiting for?
Here are a few tips for you about timing and starting your business:
As soon as possible
According to Patrick Lee from Rotten Tomatoes, launch “as soon as possible…research isn’t supercritical.” Don’t take this to mean that you can just throw a mediocre company together and hope for the best. However, Lee is very much a doer who’s balanced out by dreamers. Trust your instincts and you’ll see when you’re digging in your heels for no reason.
When you feel comfortable internally
Follow in the shoes of Uberconference, with Craig Walker saying, “As soon as we feel comfortable internally, we generally let it out to everyone. And hopefully, we’re responsive to issues as soon as they come up.” Bear in mind that there’s doesn’t need to be a “hopefully” in this sentence. You’re in total control of how responsive you are, even if you can’t necessarily fix issues right away.
When you’ve set a date
If you tend to work best under a pressure/under deadline, “just set a date,” says Mikkel Svane of ZenDesk success. “We had so many ideas, so many plans, that it would all just take times and make things more and more complicated.” A challenging yet feasible deadline can keep you motivated and without procrastination excuses.
When you’ve generated some buzz
From soft launches to beta testing, there’s a good chance your business will get some exposure before (full) launch. Secret’s Chrys Bader-Wechseler says, “when the conversations were rich, I saw this was something in the community that was very, very good,” and that’s when he knew business was about to blossom.
When you’ve made some early sales
Whether it’s a pre-sale, revenue from a soft launch or you have orders placed but haven’t accepted that loan to fulfil them, and if money’s coming your way from customers, you can’t wait another day to launch. Anthony Soohoo of Dot & Bo says, “We started feeling like we had something” when customers started handing over their credit card information. Sometimes the best tips are the most obvious.
When Perri Gorman started the concept for Archive.ly, she said she didn’t know what she had. It took a friend-become-coach to show her a new angle. “Through getting coached, and looking at different things, and researching different ideas, I started to see how it could actually be a more valuable product,” she shares.
You have an incurable obsession
Start a company after you sit on your idea for a while and you can’t get it out of your head. You’re obsessed. You’re incurable. No matter how much you try not to think about the business, it keeps coming back. You start working on the idea during all your free time. You can’t stop talking to friends and family about it. And you feel like you will never forgive yourself if you don’t take a chance.
This incurable obsession must be consistent over an extended period. Let it sit. Let it settle. And don’t confuse it with the entrepreneurial seizure, a more temporary excitement that will wane if you give yourself time to really think about the idea.
Do it today
So let me make it simple for you – the best time to start a business is TODAY. Not tomorrow. Not in two weeks. Not after you get promoted, pregnant, married, or your MBA. TODAY! You’re not getting any younger. Your life is not getting any simpler.
Truthfully, only you can decide when you’re ready to start. You may find it’s better to start when you feel ready than to wait for a perfect start. Certainly, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s a good place to start to determine whether you’re ready to start your own business. If you’re not, consider this your guide to the steps you need to take to get there. Have fun, and good luck!
Remember: Timing will never be perfect for anything, including your business. However, understanding the best time within a reasonable timeframe is all you can do.