Timing is everything, they say. And when it comes to starting a business, your timing can make the difference between success and failure. But when is the ideal time to launch a new venture? And are there times when you’re better off waiting to dive in?
We asked small-business owners and experts about the best — and worst — time to start a business.
What’s the Right Time to Start a Business?
While waiting for the stars to align may keep you from your dreams of starting a business indefinitely, having your plan and resources in place is the best place to start, says Kimberly Crossland, owner of The Savvy Copywriter. “The best time to start a business is when you have your financial ducks in a row, have a backup plan [for] when things go south, and [have] the support to work longer days while things get going,” she says.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you’ve got enough in your savings account to cover at least one year’s worth of business and personal expenses before you start your business.
Support from family is key, says Franchise King‘s Joel Libava. “Involve family members who will be affected by your decision to start a business at the beginning,” he says.
If you feel the constant pull of solving a problem for a group of customers, says Ivana Taylor, founder of DIYMarketers, you may be ready to start providing that solution to people. She considers the entrepreneurs who appear on the television show Shark Tank good examples of entrepreneurs who “are so driven by the need to solve a problem that they devote their life and savings. They can’t imagine doing anything else.”
What’s the Wrong Time?
You may be eager to start your new company, but before you do, consider whether you’re really ready for the work and stress ahead of you.
“If you have commitments that will preclude you from giving 150 percent of your time and dedication to a new startup, think twice about moving forward,” advises Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com. “Someone who is planning a wedding, or is having their first baby, or is dealing with huge family commitments such as multiple young children with no real support, should think twice about the timing of launching a new business.”
Another less-than-ideal time to start a business is if you’re in the midst of getting out of a bad situation, like a job you hate, says Taylor. You can only commit as a small-business owner if you are drawn toward entrepreneurship, not as an excuse to run away from something.
Tips to Ensure Your Business Launch is Successful
If and when you do decide to start a business, says Brenda Stoltz, founder of Ariad Partners, there are a few key ways you can mitigate risk and make the process easier:
- Don’t start your business until you’ve written your business plan. Have someone you know who has built a successful business review it and provide feedback.
- When estimating your sales and how long it will take to become profitable, double that estimate. Being conservative can help ensure you have ample time to start turning a profit.
- Set money aside in savings so you can cover all your expenses until your business is on its feet and can support you.
- If possible, work another job while you’re building your business. Sometimes, having a steady paycheck as you’re starting up can help you reinvest in your company so it can grow faster.