The right time to start your own business

This morning I was interviewed by Allison Hemming, founder of TheHiredGuns, about a workshop I’m doing for them on business planning. Among other questions, she asked me “Is this a good time to start a company?”.

I thought about telling her that many successful companies have been started during recessions, including GE, HP, Fedex, Microsoft and Burger King. Yawn.

Then I thought about making my usual pitch for bootstrapping… As I’ve said before on this blog, bootstrapping is about starting with limited funding, operating on a limited budget, concentrating on cash flow, etc. It’s always a great way to start a business, because it forces entrepreneurs to be resourceful, flexible, and tenacious, etc.

But then I thought of a painfully simple alternative. When you’ve got a good idea and the right team to execute it, that’s the right time to start a business. Of course, proven demand and favorable market conditions help define a “good idea”. But there are many other factors – plenty of which are personal. So, it might be the right time for you to start a business with person Y about idea X, but a bad idea for some other combination of ideas and teams.

Bottom line:  Focus on the fundamentals, and don’t get scared off by the headlines.

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