Kind of like deciding to have a baby, timing to start a business is never going to be perfect. There’s only so much planning, dreaming, and plotting you can do before you just have to take the leap. You’ve garnered some motivation, your business plan is written, your website is perfection, and you’ve even caught the eyes of a few investors. What are you waiting for?
Consider a few tips form StartupGrind founders who are eager to pass down their knowledge to newbies just like you. Here’s what they have to say about timing and starting your business:
1. When you have a jumping off point for your customers
If you really plan to give your customers what they want, (and you should!), let them tell you what they want. Julia Hartz of Eventbrite says, “We fundamentally believe that our users en masse are much smarter than us.” This doesn’t mean you can squeak by with a subpar product, business model, or goods. However, do remember that you don’t have to have everything before launching. Your customers are going to come up with more ideas regardless. Keep a pulse on Eventbrite by following them on Twitter.
2. As soon as possible
According to Patrick Lee from Rotten Tomatoes, launch “as soon as possible…research isn’t super critical.” Don’t take this to mean that you can just throw a mediocre company together and hope for the best. However, Lee is very much a doer who’s balanced out by dreamers. Trust your instincts and you’ll see when you’re digging in your heels for no reason. Check out the latest Rotten Tomatoes happenings on Twitter.
3. When you’ve honed in on the best idea
You’ve done six different prototypes, talked to a bunch of people, conducted research, and now you know which of your ideas is the best. Now is the time to act according to Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures. “At some point, you will not have perfect information, but you will have a good stance of "I’m not going to get any more information, so I should just decide." Follow Khosla Ventures on Twitter to find out what’s next for the company.
4. When you feel comfortable internally
Follow in the shoes of Uberconference, with Craig Walker saying, “As soon as we feel comfortable internally, we generally let it out to everyone. And hopefully we’re responsive to issues as soon as they come up.” Bear in mind that there’s doesn’t need to be a “hopefully” in this sentence. You’re in total control of how responsive you are, even if you can’t necessarily fix issues right away. Don’t miss anything from Uberconference by following the company on Twitter.
5. When you’ve set a date
If you tend to work best under a pressure/under deadline, “just set a date,” says Mikkel Svane of ZenDesk success. “We had so many ideas, so many plans, that it would all just take times and make things more and more complicated.” A challenging yet feasible deadline can keep you motivated and without procrastination excuses. Discover more about ZenDesk on Twitter.
6. When you’ve generated some buzz
From soft launches to beta testing, there’s a good chance your business will get some exposure before (full) launch. Secret’s Chrys Bader-Wechseler says, "when the conversations were rich, I saw this was something in the community that was very, very good,” and that’s when he knew business was about to blossom. Find out more “secrets” by following on Twitter.
7. When you’ve made some early sales
Whether it’s a pre-sale, revenue from a soft launch, or you have orders placed but haven’t accepted that loan to fulfill them, and if money’s coming your way from customers, you can’t wait another day to launch. Anthony Soohoo of Dot & Bo says, “We started feeling like we had something” when customers started handing over their credit card information. Sometimes the best tips are the most obvious. Get more stories from Dot & Bo on Twitter.
8. When people are telling you you’re ready
When Perri Gorman started the concept for Archive.ly, she says she didn’t know what she had. It took a friend-become-coach to show her a new angle. “Through getting coached, and looking at different things, and researching different ideas, I started to see how it could actually be a more valuable product,” she shares. Keep up with Archive.ly on Twitter.
Remember: Timing will never be perfect for anything, including your business. However, understanding the best time within a reasonable timeframe is all you can do.