President and CEO of Swiftpage.
There are so many things to consider when thinking about starting your own business. Making sure you have a business plan, financing, an ideal location, the right market for what you’re selling and a comprehensive understanding of your competition are the more well-known prerequisites to your entrepreneurial endeavor. There is one critical element, however, that many business owners fail to consider when embarking on their business startup. Timing!
Creativity, motivation and drive can get you far, but is now the best time to take the risk? You must ask yourself several key questions to determine if your idea will work for you in current market conditions. An idea does not stand alone. Chances are, that the business you are thinking about starting is not the first of its kind. Although you may have a unique element to bring to your industry, you have to consider if it is the right time to present it to the open market. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
How is the current market and local economy? Do your research! Make sure there is a current need or desire for the product or service that you want to offer in the area in which you are considering starting your business. Look at the local business trends as well to determine if there is a strong entrepreneurial environment for you to lean on. Researching the local demographic is of utter importance in determining if it is conducive to small businesses. Are other small businesses or start-ups succeeding? You must know your intended marketplace to be able to determine these things.
What is the current competition like in your industry? Sometimes competition can lend credibility to an endeavor. You can use competitors as tools to improve on a product or service by identifying the weaknesses and strengths of what they are providing. Then you must ask yourself if you can surpass them. Do you have the ability and resources to stand out against the competition? On the contrary, perhaps there is too much competition at the time. If this is the case, it might not be the right time to join the competition.
Do statistical market trends seem favorable for the start of your business and its future growth? According to the Small Business Association, seven out of 10 new employer firms survive at least two years, half at least five years, a meek third at least 10 years, and merely a quarter stay in business 15 years or more. Looking into the future of business trends for your industry can help you to determine if now is the optimal time to hit the market and if you will be able to sustain long-term success. You have to hit the target when timing the opening of your business. If you put yourself out there too early, the market may not be ready for you and you’ll flounder. If you open the business too late, somebody else may beat you to market and steal render your business dead in the water before it even gets going.
Do you understand the timing involved in customer outreach? Do you know when the best time is or how frequently you should reach out to your target demographic or have you even considered it? Customer acquisition will be your primary concern when you open your doors so you’d better have an informed game plan regarding customer outreach going in. Set yourself up to do too little outreach and you won’t get the business you need to stay afloat in your business’ infancy. Time your outreach to be too frequent and risk being tuned out by the market. Timing is delicate when it comes to customer outreach and you’d better have a well-thought-out strategy for client acquisition prior to setting up shop if you want to see success.
Is this the right time for you? You are the one who ultimately has to make your business succeed, regardless of market conditions, the economy, competition, and trends. So, perhaps the most important question to be honest with yourself about is if you are truly prepared right now. Are you truly an expert on the product or service that you are hoping to sell or could you use some more time to learn your craft? Being an expert requires knowledge, experience and, most importantly, a passion for what you are selling. But you must also be schooled in basic business and accounting, or at least have access to an experienced brain trust that is prepared to assist you. There are many who can get a business license and lease an office or retail space. There are far fewer who can honestly say they have the know-how, resources and fire in their belly to will their business to success at the time they go to market. Don’t forget about the physical commitment. Do you have the time to put into making your business a success? Forecast your own future to determine if you have the availability, support, funds and readiness to take on what could be the most challenging, and hopefully most rewarding, venture of your life.
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