You might be excited by the idea of running your own business, living the laptop lifestyle, working on a beach in Hawaii or at home in your underwear. But before you take the leap, here are some things to consider.
Instead of asking “when should I start” you first need to answer why you want to start your own business. Are you doing it because you’re running away from something or are you looking to start a business, so you’ll have something worth running towards?
Starting your own business and working from home is not as easy as some people make it look. You must be willing to put in 10 or even 20-hour days sometimes. If you want to succeed, you must be willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life. And the reality is, even when you work your butt off, you might fail. But it’s the failures and the bumps in the road that drive an entrepreneur even harder the next time. The things that hold most people back are the things that push the willing entrepreneur harder, faster, and with more passion the next time.
If you think you have what it takes, here are a few pointers to help you get started with the best chance of success.
When is the right time to start a business?
The best time to start your business is when you’re ready. I wish I could tell you “the best time to start was yesterday”, but sometimes that just isn’t true. According to 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.
When it comes to starting a business, less is more. The lower your startup costs, the better chance you have at long-term success. Think about how much it will cost to sell the product or service you’re offering.
If it’s a physical product, how much will it cost to buy or build yourself? Can you afford to give out samples or will clients buy before trying it?
If it’s a service, think about how you’re going to deliver it to your clients. Do you need a website, or can you build your business by meeting prospects for coffee, reaching out to people on facebook, or talking to them over the phone?
Think about what things you absolutely must have to get your business off the ground and what things you can do without. It’s safer to start small and grow over time.
Is there a bad time to start your business?
Take a serious look at your life. What are some things that could get in your way of starting a business? Do you have the money and the time it takes to get started? Can you handle the work and stress of running your own business?
Be honest with yourself. Starting your own business is a great way to invest in yourself and make more money, but if you don’t have the time or you can’t handle the stress, now might not be a good time to start.
Are you just about to get married? Did you just have your first kid? Do you have financial obligations that you can barely keep up with and you’re already working 80 hours a week? “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 Ivana Taylor, founder of DIYMarketers.
“You can only commit as a small-business owner if you are drawn toward entrepreneurship, not as an excuse to run away from something.” Tweet this Quote by Susan Payton, President of Egg Marketing & Communications.
If you believe that now is as good a time as any to get started, here a few tips to increase your chance of success.
Tips for starting your business successfully
1. Treat it like a business. It seems like being an “entrepreneur” these days is treated more like a popularity contest or a title to brag about. If you want to run a successful business, you need to treat it like a business. Building a business can be a lot of hard work, long hours, and stressful days.
2. Don’t expect overnight success. Yes, some businesses have gone from launch to huge success virtually overnight. But if you want to succeed long-term, you must start your new business knowing it could take months or even years to get your business off the ground. Start by making a business plan with realistic goals so you can track your progress and adjust growth strategies when necessary.
3. Set realistic expectations. Starting a business takes time. Sometimes businesses fail. The best thing you can do to keep your sights on success is to set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. It’s better to have goals that make you stretch a little than it is to have goals that are far out of reach. When you’re setting your goals make sure they’re Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, & Timely (S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting)
Do you believe there really is a bad time to start your own business or is there never a bad time? Maybe you think “the best time to start was yesterday”. Let me know in the comments below.