Joe Johnson, Ph.D.
Entrepreneur. Investor. Startup Expert.
If you’re considering starting a business, you’ve likely debated whether the time is right. Dependent on whom you ask, you’re likely to receive a range of answers. However, there’s a unique startup and entrepreneurial culture in the United States and, while TV shows may focus on Silicon Valley unicorns, the truth is that there are amazing startups and business ventures found in every geographic region, prospering and paving the way for ever more new startups.
Our economy has mostly recovered from the so-called Great Recession and, while some banks remain reluctant to make new small business loans, they aren’t the only game in town. Part of the credit for the economic recovery is due to the amazing entrepreneurs and small business owners who have continued to deliver the products and services that we both want and need in our communities. These individuals constitute a vital part of our nation’s economy. As a direct consequence of their impact and influence, it’s a good time to start a business.
Five Reasons That Right Now is the Best Time to Start a Business
There’s a rich lending environment in the United States; startups can choose to bootstrap, seek investors, take a loan from either traditional or nontraditional lenders, or crowdfund. Never before have there been so many options for funding a business. While not every funding stream is easy to tap, the varying options enable each would-be entrepreneur to blaze his own path to business ownership.
Technology continues to make our lives easier. For entrepreneurs, software can help to alleviate some of the workload. Project planning tools, bookkeeping packages, and even personal digital assistants can aid one in remaining ahead of the many essential tasks incumbent upon any business owner. Tech has made it simpler to scale operations and to connect with people throughout the world, both manufacturers and consumers. There are companies which provide call center, analytic, and underwriting services for insurance agents and others which support retailers with cloud-based and VoIP phone services so that customers are always able to reach them. Services that once required numerous employees to provide are now performed with software.
Budgets are frequently tight when starting a new business. By utilizing the “gig economy,” you can engage freelancers to shoulder some of your workload without having to worry about the many expenses concomitant with hiring an employee. Contracting a freelancer to complete nonessential or one-time tasks can save precious resources so that you can focus on hiring the right long-term people. Whether you need a website built, branding assistance, or proofreading of marketing materials, there are freelancers available with the right expertise to solve your problem.
Making prototypes and creating new products used to be cost-prohibitive. Today, when applying the lean method and the minimum viable product (MVP) concept, businesses can quickly get a product to market and utilize feedback to innovate and adapt to the target audience’s needs. This “fail quickly” method saves time and money, two assets with which entrepreneurs are frequently in short supply.
Timing Is Key
As we all know, timing can sometimes be key for success. Introducing the right product at the right time or beating a competitor to market can have a huge impact on revenue. Being late to the proverbial party may facilitate picking up some stragglers, but it’s not a sound business plan. In order to compete effectively, you must not only be in the game, but be one of its leaders. Ideas age quickly and yesterday’s hot business concept may be tomorrow’s bust. If you have a golden notion, it’s time to begin researching, exploring, and planning so that you don’t allow the opportunity to pass you by.
Are You Ready to Start a Business?
Now is a good time, generally speaking, to start a business – but is it the right time for you? Consider whether you possess the following characteristics:
If you’re excited about your idea and won’t be able to let it go until you’ve brought it to fruition, start taking steps today to make that vision a reality. Even if you’re only able to work on your business in the evenings after hours, getting started on the planning process and creating your business plan will both be necessary before applying for any funding.
You Have the Time
Your new endeavor will require a great deal of time. If you have those extra hours to devote, then by all means do so. This may require you to keep your day job and work on the new business in the evenings vs. working 15 hours per day in order to get your enterprise up and running. Often, entrepreneurs end up doing most of the work themselves when a business is just beginning. Be realistic about the extent of the commitment involved and resolve to give it your all.
You Have an Idea
If you have an idea, start researching to see whether it’s already been done and, if so, what approach has been taken. An idea is a great place to start, but it needs to be fleshed out. You must both investigate the logistics of running a business and compose a business plan. Along the way, you may learn more about your idea’s viability and whether it merits a continuation of your efforts.
You Spy an Opportunity
Sometimes opportunity knocks and we’d be foolish not to open the door. Whether it’s a turn-key business or a real estate deal, if you discern an opportunity which you believe will be beneficial or one that you feel should be investigated further, get your due diligence process underway.
You Have the Money
Sometimes all that’s needed to finally get your business underway is some cash. If you’ve been saving to bootstrap or are able to take out a loan so that you can ensure the ability to meet living expenses while money is tight, it may be the right time to turn your passion into a career.
You Have a Plan
Before embarking on a new endeavor, you’ll need a business plan. Whether you’re a fan of the traditional business plan or enjoy the simplicity of the business model canvas, there’s no substitute for a well-conceived plan that incorporates in-depth, accurate information about your industry, competitors, and target market.
If you’re still not sure whether now is a good time to start a business, that’s OK. It may be that you aren’t ready for the many risks which inevitably accompany entrepreneurship. That doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your idea, though. Continue investigating your industry and crafting a business plan so that you’ll be ready when the right time comes for you to join the ranks of entrepreneurs.
About the Author
Dr. Joe Johnson is an entrepreneur, investor, and startup expert. He is the founder and principal of GoodField Investments and the GoodField Foundation (www.GoodField.com).
Joe has a Ph.D. in Entrepreneurial Leadership and an MBA. He is the author of the upcoming book on The Science of Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail and Some Succeed.
Most importantly, he is the incredibly blessed husband of one amazing wife and father of six wonderful children. He resides in Bradenton, Florida. For more information on Dr. Johnson and his work, go to www.JoeJohnson.com.