Starting a business is never easy. You need to decide your service or product offering, what your target audience is – and when is a good time to launch.
According to a Vistaprint study, 62% of Americans want to be business owners. 1 But how many people really understand what it takes to start, run and grow a business? Is now the right time in their lives to start?
“Not all ideas are unique, and they’re not just for one person,” Tony Coleman Brown, founder of the Women in Business Network, said in an email interview with The Balance. “In the end, it’s the people who take the action. So, once you have an idea, you should act.”
Entrepreneurs cited numerous reasons for starting a business, including not liking their current job, needing a creative outlet, or simply satisfying a thirst for more money. Whatever your motivation, the timing and reason for building a business must be purposeful.
Here are some important steps and considerations to determine if it’s the right time for your business to get results.
Research and find your target audience
At the heart of every great idea is who you intend to serve. Your target audience includes people who need or want your product or service, which, in turn, can help your business succeed. A recent study by startup-focused content site Failory found that 90 percent of startups fail. One of the main reasons is that the product is not suitable for the selected market. 2
To determine if there is a market for your business, conducting research is essential. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the keys to discovering your strengths and unique selling proposition and ultimately identifying your target market are:
- Conduct market research, such as gathering demographic data on age, population and wealth
- Analyze consumer behavior and economic trends
As you develop your business idea, survey your target audience frequently to see how you can solve their problems and meet their needs. One possible way to find your target audience is through dedicated Facebook groups.
Test your idea in the target market
If you have a business idea but are not sure if it will work, the best way to find out is to test the waters.
You could sell the products to your firends or local communitiy, and get feed back from them. If they love it or not. Or you could try to open online store.
Do you have the time, energy and resources?
If you’re ready to start a business, you’re going to need time to devote to it, energy to get through tough times, financial resources, and a network to support your efforts.
time and effort
While you may be in a rush to start your business, time is a key factor you need to consider, especially when it comes to your family and professional life.
For example, let’s say you’re a stay-at-home mom with young children but not a lot of childcare. Starting a business that requires you to serve customers around the clock may not be a realistic option. Or, if you have a demanding career, running an equally demanding business might burn you out quickly.
You should still believe in the value of your ideas. Just think about how to implement your vision in a more rational way.
If your schedule is constrained by other responsibilities, create a workable, efficient schedule to manage your business. This will help you feel motivated to stay in business while managing your operations effectively.
How are you going to fund your new business? For many entrepreneurs, starting a business means budgeting for legal structures, operating costs, marketing, and supplies. As part of running your business, you will incur recurring charges .
The amount of capital you need to run your business will largely depend on the type of operation you are building. For example, an entrepreneur starting a blog will cost very little. However, people starting a business that requires a storefront or a lot of equipment will need a business plan and good credit to fund their idea.
As you consider whether now is the right time to start a business, ask yourself these important financial questions:
- How much have you saved to fund your business?
- What does your credit look like, and will it help or hinder your business?
- If you have bad credit, what do you need to do to build your credit so that you are ready to start a business?
- What start-up capital do you need to fund your business?
- What are your business expenses?
- How will starting this business help or hurt your personal finances (especially if you quit your job to start this business)?
For example, the ability to connect with others through social channels such as LinkedIn and industry-related professional organizations is critical to entrepreneurship.
“Before starting a business, talk to a business advisor to help you make an informed choice,” Satchell says. “Starting a business is a journey. Connecting with people in the right partnership will propel you to the next level. You need to meet the right people and make connections.”
The time of year may also affect your ability to start a business. Some people may start a business at the beginning of the year, believing that the new year will have a fresh start. At the same time, others may think that when the market is suitable for their product, they should build a business.
For example, if you’re a baker, it makes sense to start planning your business in the summer. Come fall, you can market your business products with tasting events to get you ready for the holidays .
you’ve made a plan
No matter what industry you are in, the best way to do business is to have a robust strategic business plan and be realistic about your ability to execute and sustain that plan. After all, running a business requires dedication and understanding your target audience, the economic prospects of your industry, and your own financial capabilities.
However, a strong business plan, along with your competitive and market analysis, can strengthen your vision — and help you turn your ideas into reality in no time.