Starting a new company: Timing

Entrepreneurs—especially first-time entrepreneurs—often feel anxious about the timing of their fundraising rounds and initial launch. And their concerns are sometimes valid. Here are a few timing issues to consider before launching with a new endeavor.


The state of the economy

The “state of the economy” is such a general term that pundits and policy makers can’t agree on a clear set of metrics that define what this really means. Maybe the stock market appears to be struggling as you put your plans together, and a plunge could set you back. Maybe the market is soaring as you prepare your launch, and your grand opening will coincide with an overdue correction. Maybe the job market looks great right now, so you’ll have trouble competing for talented candidates…or maybe the opposite will happen. Maybe consumers are eager to spend, or they’re about to close their wallets in anticipation of lean times. Whatever the global financial forecast looks like as you prepare to start your business, proceed. If you’re ready to go, go. Don’t let something so vague hold you back.

Market competition

If you know or suspect that a better-equipped player in your marketplace is planning a launch that will coincide with yours, it’s okay to factor this into your plans. If you can, move first. Don’t let your competitor race ahead hoping to step in later after the initial spark dies down. Even if you’re entering a marketplace that’s well populated, it’s not a bad idea to check the landscape and make strategic calculations that can leave you with a bit more market share. People open coffee shops and bars every day, and those types of companies have been around for thousands of years. So if your new app only has a couple players in the market, you may be far from a “saturated space.”

The needs of your investors

If you have an investor or potential backer who happens to be subject to timing constraints, work to accommodate that person (or entity). Opportunities for capital don’t come and go easily for most new businesses, so if small adjustments in your schedule or plans can bring you into alignment with your investors, it’s okay to assess the risks involved and then rush ahead or slow down.

Cultural trends

Right now, some games, apps, tools, products and services are heating up. Some are riding a sustained wave. Some are about to peak and fade. Some are making comebacks that didn’t seem likely when they first left the scene. Some are waiting for anticipated comebacks that aren’t showing up. Whatever you have to offer will arrive on the market at one of these highs, lows, or middles on the graph of public interest. But since none of us can predict these rises and falls with perfect accuracy, you’ll need to enter when you’re ready, not wait for the cultural landscape to be ready for you.

And the true artist, the true alchemist, also understands that her entry into the market may be the catalyst that prompts those epic cultural trends.

No company opens its doors onto a world that’s totally predictable and free of risk. But if you’re armed with a strong team, a cool head, and flexible expectations, you’ll be as ready as an entrepreneur can ever be.