Many wannabe entrepreneurs have good intentions to start a business “someday”. They think they will get to it eventually, when it’s the “right time”. This usually means when everything in life calms down, you have some money saved in the bank, and the kids have left home. That gives you enough confidence to be able to start your dream all by yourself. Unfortunately, they miss out on owning their own business, and controlling the majority of their life, because for too many entrepreneurs, “someday” never becomes “today”.
So when is the right time to start a business? This article is going to explain why waiting for the right time to start a business is a myth. There is never a right time to become an entrepreneur because every aspect of your life is never going to perfectly align to give you a golden vision and opportunity to immediately succeed the way you imagined it in your head.
Get it out of your head that being an entrepreneur is some glamorous thing. For the majority of us that is simply not the case. Now don’t get me wrong, running your own business has its advantages and is by far the most rewarding thing many of us can do in our professional lives. But it’s hard. It’s a grind. And you aren’t likely to be successful overnight.
Let me say it again in a way I hope you ingrain into your brain and actually inspires you to take action. The time to start a business is never right. It never will be right. And you’re better off starting today and slowly growing than you would be if you weren’t growing at all.
What do the Experts Say About When to Start a Business?
We asked many entrepreneurs and small business experts when the right time to start a business is. Their suggestions are very similar to what we’ve been saying above, and they have many of the same types of thoughts about the subject. Here are the common themes about when you should start your business:
1. Just Do It – Today is the Day to Start Your Business
Too many needed business ideas never materialize because of a failure to just take action and get it going. Many of the experts we asked were specific about taking action being the most important thing. No day is better than today. Here are some of their thoughts:
Today is the day. I cannot stress enough that there is never the “right” time to start your own business, because it’s not going to be a perfect process. Especially when you have the tools, resources, and the drive. No matter what industry you’re in or what business model you have, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. However, that can only happen by taking the first step.
– David Mitroff, CEO of Piedmont Avenue Consulting
We started Geeks Chicago as a side company on nights and weekends. I knew that holding back and not being sure if Geeks was viable was holding us back. My gut told me that we just needed to jump in and grow. We took the mindset that we would try it for 6 months and if it works it works. That was 5 years ago.
– Mark Tuchscherer, President of Geeks Chicago
The time is always right to start a business, as long as you have a clear idea of what you do, who you serve, and how to get your ideas out to the world.
– Melanie Downey, Brand Innovator and PR Strategist
The right time to start a business is now! Of course it is important to have a few things lined up like a business plan, budgets, and financing in order. But sometimes it works out best if you just rip off that band-aid, jump in, and launch! Trying to get everything in perfect order before launching a business will never happen, and going for it now instead of waiting has worked wonders for many entrepreneurs I know.
– Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet
NOW. The best time to start is now. There are so many free and cheap resources available today, that you can start almost any business as a “side hustle” while fully employed. And if you don’t have a regular job, there’s even less reason to start immediately. Procrastination comes in many forms (learning, thinking, talking about it with friends, etc..) but ultimately it’s just delaying the thing you really want to do.
– Tyler Benedict of BikeRumor.com
2. Find the Pain Points and Test Your Theory
While the most important thing may be to just take action and start your business, you also need to make sure it’s a business worth starting. Many experts believe that the first step is to test your business idea, and if it looks like it will be successful then you go head-first into your new business as quickly as you can.
The first thing you need to do is test your theory. I saw a gap in the marketplace based on the insurance industry I was working in at the time. Because of my experience and ability to pay attention to pain points I was able to get plenty of clients right away.
– Luke Kinton, a small business strategist
If you can sell 10 of your products in a local market, your business idea is viable, because if your idea is big enough to attract 10 people, it’s big enough to attract more. This allows you to determine if there is an interest in one area and expand to others with similar interests. Dismissing an idea as too small without giving it a chance to grow is the worst thing an entrepreneur can do.
– Vladimir Gendelman, Founder & CEO of CompanyFolders
3. Start When You Can Devote the Needed Time to It
Building a business may not be about finding the right time to start, but it certainly is important to be able to devote enough of your time for it to become successful. While many businesses have survived without a lot of startup capital, no business has ever gotten off the ground successfully without enough devoted time to let the business idea breathe.
The best time to start a business is when you have plenty of time to devote your attention to it. You need to be able to focus your time and energy on it in order to have the best shot at succeeding.
– Erin Bhoorasingh, Owner of Grand Lens Photography
4. When Your Business is Setup for Financial Success
Too many people believe that a business being set up for financial success means having plenty of money in the bank to cover any and all potential expenses for the next year. That is not what we’re talking about, though. Being set up for financial success just means that you have all the resources you need to make money, and you have enough cash to last until you actually do make money.
One of the most important parts of starting a business is understanding budgeting. Will you be able to get a return on your investment? Can you afford to market your business properly in order to have a successful launch? If you can then you’re ready to start your own business.
– Alex Reichmann, CEO of iTestCash
A would-be entrepreneur needs to look at their finances and make sure the numbers work. Can you make a profit at what you’re doing or want to do? If so then the business can begin, even if it has to start as a side hustle until the business income outpaces their current full-time job.
– Debbie DeChambeau, Business Strategist at Select Business Team
If you feel like everything is lined up for you to begin your entrepreneur journey, but you still need the capital to make your dream a reality then check out our SBA loan checklist or our article on the best short term loan options to get your business off the ground.
5. When You Feel the Itch
Some believe that the right time to start a business all depends on you. You can have the time available to take action, the capital to build off of, and the right business idea, but if you’re not ready then it simply won’t work.
Others also believe that when you feel the itch to be an entrepreneur then you need to scratch it. Become what you want to be and let yourself grow in ways you can’t imagine.
There is no black and white answer to when to start your business. It is a mix of you being emotionally and financially ready, as well as when you have a solid enough concept to take to the marketplace.
– James Pollard, a Marketing Consultant
I knew it was time to make the leap when I was thinking non-stop about business ideas and questioning what I was learning in college. I started having business ideas racing through my mind non-stop while sitting in history class during my junior year of college. I decided to take the leap and have never looked back.
– Bradley Shaw, an SEO Expert
6. When You Can’t Take Your Job & Think You Know Better
If you’re struggling with the management team at work, thinking you know better than they do, and you really don’t want to go to work everyday then the time might be right for you to take the leap and start out on your own. This isn’t a healthy environment for anyone, and taking the leap can provide you with a lot more clarity and rotate your frustrations from people to processes.
Take the leap when you just can’t take it anymore at your current job and you’ve saved up enough money to take the financial risk.
– Kelly McMenamin, co-author of ORGANIZE YOUR WAY: Simple Strategies for Every Personality
Being an Entrepreneur is Hard Work
While our experts have made it clear that you shouldn’t wait to start your entrepreneurial journey, you also need to keep in mind that it isn’t going to be easy. If you’re not willing to put in the hard work then you simply shouldn’t do it. You’ve got to be fully committed to being an entrepreneur every single day – even when you’re sick, struggling to get a sale, or just want some time to binge watch your favorite tv show. You have to push through those times and realize that in order to be the hero of your own personal story you have to earn it.
These days the barriers to entry of starting your small business are lower than they have ever been. Most every small business can start out as a side hustle after just hours of work. If you want it bad enough the time to start your business is now. Make it your nights and weekends gig if you have to. Sure you may not be able to watch football on Sundays, or binge watch Netflix on a Saturday. However, entrepreneurship is living like nobody else will so that later you can live like nobody else does.
– Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal
The Smart Hack
In many ways starting a business is like being a parent. No one can tell you or teach you the best way to raise your children. You can learn plenty of things that might help, but all children are different and need different things throughout their life. If you spend your time learning enough to raise any type of child before you have children then you’ll never become a parent.
Much like parenting, businesses are unique. No one can teach you how to deal with all of the unique challenges that you could potentially face. The best way to learn is to start building a business and then adapt and learn as the challenges come. If you wait until everything is perfect then you’ll never become a business owner.
You just need to learn to take the first step forward and then worry about what the rest of the staircase looks like. Get started today by building out your business idea through an effective business plan. Our recommended partner to build the right business plan for your business is LivePlan. They can help with the entire process from start to finish so that you can focus on taking action and building your business.