When is the best time to start a business?

Allan Johnson of Johnson & Tennent Chartered Accountants
Allan Johnson of Johnson & Tennent Chartered Accountants Janie Kayes

WE came across an interesting infographic the other day that dealt with this topic - and it was rather thought-provoking.

Although not everyone is called to be an entrepreneur or business owner, I'm sure there are many out there who have dreams of sacking the boss and starting out on their own.

What holds these people back? Excuses, excuses.allan

My picks of the bunch were:

  • Just broke up? Now you have more time for constructive business.
  • Just moved? Now you're in a better place, do better things.
  • Just got fired? They made leaving the job easy - now get to work!
  • Just got sick? Now you're lying in bed, you have time to dream up a business plan.
  • Just got married? You got yourself a co-founder.

Amusing, but quite true. The best time to start a business is right now!

I will qualify that statement with the following:

1. The best time to start a business is after you've got a business plan.
It's an old adage but it's true - if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Your first business plan doesn't need to be a 50-page prospectus outlining the 20-year strategy for investors...but it should at least outline the following:

  • Your target market (or niche) and how big it is
  • Your expected and required sales levels (if you don't have goal posts you'll never score!)
  • Your methods for getting your first paying customers in the door
  • Your plan for promoting yourself (and this can be as simple as word-of mouth)

If you spend some time thinking and planning, you will be more in control.

However, don't over-analyse, remember the 'ready, fire, aim' principle for entrepreneurs. Try something and then 'aim' to make it better.

2. The best time to start a business is after you've got some guidance.
Yes, I say this as a business coach but I really do mean it. A business plan and a dream is a great place to start, but instead of heading off to make your own mistakes, take a moment to talk to someone who can help you 'aim' better.

If you're the type of person who likes to just go forth and do, perhaps look at a longer-term accountability program with an experienced business consultant. This doesn't have to be expensive and the rewards will more than outweigh the cost.

So the best time to start a business is really after you've done your homework - but that should be a minor hurdle if you really have a passion for what you do. Stop making excuses and start making plans!


Anna Vital

Topics:  allan johnson opinion small business

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