Q. Dear Zenagos, I’ve had an idea to start a company for a while, and I want to do it now. But my friends keep saying I should just negotiate for a better salary at my current job because it’s a great job market and a recession is coming. Is now a bad time to start a business?
There are countless examples of successful businesses that launched during tough financial times. In fact, many entrepreneurs swear that they were successful precisely because they launched during a recession (Inc, 2018). Competitors who are borderline performers are often weeded out during recessions, while a newly built business has an operating model designed to function in that particular time. As the country emerges from a recession, customers hungry for a change may flock to a shiny new option. So, don’t let your friends discourage you with this logical-sounding economic argument. They are just guessing about the future, like everyone else. If they could predict the future, they’d already be billionaires.
If you are wondering whether to start your own business, ignore the naysayers and put your energy into making a marketing plan and then testing your ideas. If you have a clear strategy for how you will acquire customers at a reasonable cost, then you can test that concept in the market to see if it works in practice. If your idea works, then it works (at least for now), regardless of the overall economy. Taking some concrete steps to validate your idea can build your conviction and give you the confidence you need to make the leap into entrepreneurship.
Ironically, aspiring entrepreneurs tell us that their friends and family (who should be their most stalwart supporters) are often their biggest naysayers, trying to discourage them from launching a business. Perhaps these friends and family see the idea of starting a business as unrealistic, and they want to help their loved one avoid disappointment. They may consider it their job to look out for their people and prevent big mistakes. Regardless, you don’t need to own their opinion. Your job is to make a responsible plan for launching your business. Obviously, you should consider whether you would do better if you stayed in your current job, and you shouldn’t take a big risk if you cannot afford to take a chance. But, you can make that evaluation for yourself.
To increase your probability of success, build relationships with real business experts whom you can trust and ask for their help avoiding common pitfalls. The best friend you can have when you are new to running your own business is someone who has been there and done that and can keep pointing out new opportunities as you grow.