When is the right time to start your own small business?

It’s not easy to start a business. You’ll need to decide on your service or product offering, what your target audience will be—and when it’s a good time to launch.

Vistaprint’s study found that 62% of Americans want to be business owners.1 But how many actually know what it takes to start, run, and grow a business? Is it the right time of their lives to start one?

“Not all ideas are unique, and they are not given to just one person,” said Toni Coleman Brown, founder of the Network for Women in Business, in an email interview with The Balance. “It’s the person who takes action [who]Everyone wins eventually. Therefore, as soon as you get an idea, you should act on it.”

Entrepreneurs cite many reasons for starting their businesses, including disliking their current job, needing a creative outlet, or just feeding a desire for more money. Whatever your motivations, setting up a business is important.

Here are some important steps and considerations to determine if it’s the right time to bring your business venture to fruition.

Find your target audience by conducting research

Who you want to serve is the core of any great idea. Your target audience is the people who will use your product or service. This can make your business more successful. Failory, a startup content site, published a recent study showing that 90% of startups fail.2

Research is essential to determine if there is actually a market for your product or service. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the keys to discovering your strengths and unique selling propositions, and ultimately identifying your target market, are:

  • Market research includes gathering data about age, wealth, and population.
  • Analyzing consumer behaviour and economic trends

For example, Jazmine Thompson established her vegan hair care brand Winnie & Co. after not being able to find moisturizing products for her daughter’s hair.

“In my search to find the right product for my daughter, I realized other moms were having the same problem,” Thompson said in a phone interview with The Balance. Thompson used her Facebook parenting group membership to connect with other mothers and receive feedback about their hair needs in order to create her vegan-based products for young children. Thompson was inspired by this feedback to start her own business.

Check out your target market to see if it is interested in your idea 

If you have a business idea, but are not sure that it’s going to work, the best way to find out is to test the waters.

Tonita, the owner and founder of Dopely Lit, came up with an idea to launch a fragrance for home. Her goal was to market soy candles to what she calls the “urban consumer”.

“I just kept coming back to the idea of a home fragrance line,” White told The Balance in a recent phone interview. “I needed a creative outlet, and I wanted it to be something I loved and enjoyed.”

Two fragrances were created by a busy mother of twins. White then made a budget for supplies and opened pop-up shops. After exploring her business idea and finding that her products were popular, White decided to take her ideas forward for 2020. To further her business, she created a website and a social presence. White also added holiday fragrances to her line and candle melts.

Do you have the time, energy, and resources?

To launch a business you need to be able to dedicate time, energy, financial resources, and support from others.

Time and energy 

Although you might be eager to start your business, it is important to remember that time is an important factor, particularly in relation to your personal and professional lives.

Imagine that you are a stay at home mother with small children and no other child care options. A business that requires you be available 24/7 might not be feasible. If you work in a high-stress profession, starting a business can cause you to burnout quickly.

It is important to believe in your idea. Consider how you can realize your vision in a more practical way.

“Patience is important,” said Teresa Satchell, business strategy coach and founder of Kingdom Legacy Partnerships, via phone to The Balance. “There are seasons of life and seasons in business. Due to life or circumstances, you will have to adjust or provide fewer services, but it does not mean you stop.”

Financial Resources 

How will you finance your new business? Many entrepreneurs will need to create a budget for the legal structure, marketing and supplies required to launch a business. And as part of running your business, you will have recurrent expenses.

The type of business you have will determine the amount of money that you need. An entrepreneur starting a blog, for example, will not need to spend much. However, a person who wants to start a business that will require a storefront or a lot of equipment will need a business plan. They also need good credit to finance the idea.

These important financial questions will help you decide if now is the right moment to start your own business.

  • How much have you saved to finance your business?
  • How is your credit? Will it help you or hinder your business’s growth?
  • If your credit is not good, what do you need to do to build your credit so you’re ready to launch your business?
  • What startup capital do you need to fund your business?
  • What are your business’s expenses?
  • How can starting a business (especially if it means quitting your job) help your personal finances?

Network Support

The ability to network with others—through social channels like LinkedIn and industry-related professional organizations, for example—is crucial to starting a business.

“Before starting a business, speak with a business consultant to help you make a wise choice,” said Satchell. “Entrepreneurship is a journey. Your success will be boosted by connecting with the right partners. You need to meet the right people and make connections.”

Seasonal Considerations

Your ability to start your business may be affected by the time of year. Because of the promise of a fresh start, some people start businesses at year’s beginning. Others believe that starting a business should be done when the market is ready to accept their product.

If you’re a baker for example, it makes sense that you start planning your business in the summer. You can start marketing your business with tasting events by the fall in preparation for the holiday season.

You’ve Made a Plan

Whatever your industry, the best way to launch a business is by developing a robust and strategic business plan and being realistic in your ability to execute and sustain it. Running a business, after all, requires dedication and an understanding of your target audience, your industry’s economic outlook, and your own financial capabilities.

However, a strong business plan, complete with your competitive and market analysis, can reinforce your vision—and help turn your idea into a reality at whichever time feels right for you.

Get latest news from African Startup ecosystem

Latest stories

You might also like...