Nov 7, 2022 | Starting a Business

How will I know when it’s the “right” time to start a business?

Q. Dear Zenagos,
I’m married but have no kids. My husband and I both have professional jobs. I’ve been thinking about going out on my own for a few years, but something always stops me. My husband tells me to “just go for it.” How will I know when it’s the “right” time to start a business?
–Mimi

A better question might be why might you think this isn’t the right time to start a business? You can start a business at any time. Here are some common reasons why aspiring entrepreneurs might think it’s not the right time to start a business:

“What if I fail?”
This is a very common fear. It is natural to fear failure when you try something new and challenging. However, inaction has its own risks: Do you want to look back years from now and wonder, “What if I had gone for it?” Every day that you do nothing is another day that you don’t move closer to your dream. Only you can know what level of financial and personal risk you can bear. But can you carry the burden of disappointing yourself? If you try and fail, at least you will have tried.

I don’t know what to do first
Unless you have started a business before, you will not know what to do first (or second, or third). For this reason, it is smart to build connections with some experts who have been through the full process of starting and growing a business multiple times. You can get a free mentor at SCORE, or you can take a program on how to start a business like Zenagos’ Innovation Trek. Having experts in your corner will not only bolster your confidence, but it may also increase your probability of success.

I’m too busy right now
Many people put off starting their own business because they are too busy at work or raising their children. If you enjoy your work, then it makes sense to keep doing it. However, you need to balance that satisfaction with the opportunity to build your own wealth with a business. Only you can know which is the better decision for you.

I’m not sure it will work
Believe it or not, most entrepreneurs aren’t certain that their idea will work. One way to build your confidence is to start talking to people about your idea and see if you can get some validation of customer interest. Why not try taking an informal survey amongst your friends and acquaintances? Tell people what kind of potential customer you are looking for, and you will begin connecting with people who are interested. Once you have had one or two conversations, each of those people can suggest one or two other conversations. Soon, you will have a very good sense for whether people are interested in what you want to offer. . .or you will learn what people really want that you could offer.

I don’t have enough money
It’s rare that an entrepreneur starts a business with a big pot of money, feeling flush with cash and ready to go. It’s normal to feel that things are tight and risky. You can get a stronger sense for how much money you need by working with a mentor to create a financial plan. Then, you will have a more realistic sense for how tight things really are. And, if you need to raise money, you can talk with your mentor about how people raise money to start a business. It may be possible to bring in investors to close the financial gap.

One of our truisms at Zenagos is “The way to get started is to get started.” Take one small step toward starting a business, and then see if you can take another small step. You will be surprised where you can go. Trust your wings!

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