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The right time

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 | By Polly McGee

Time is the subject of many a truism and in fact infiltrates an inordinate amount of every aspect of our lives.


We have too little time, too much time on our hands, the quest for me-time and time that flies, but the question I get asked most often in relation to start-up is when is the right time?


The right time is seen as some mythical moment when your business can perfectly launch and evolve with certainty into the next big thing. When it comes to women in business, we seem to endlessly postpone the right time in the acquisition of more knowledge, more courage and often more attention to other people’s priorities.


I’m yet to find a business that opened at the right time. I have, however, met many women who identified the conflagration of opportunity and offering, took a deep breath and abandoned their fears for the adventure of a lifetime (see, time still got a look in!).


More than once have I been told in workshops and seminars by doyennes of successful start-ups that there is no right time to start a business – so why wait?


I agree wholeheartedly, as you can never know enough, have enough money or enough crystal balls to foresee the inevitable changes in direction and refinements of your business, but there is nothing more powerful than to simply start.


The rise and rise of mumpreneurs as a business sector globally is an interesting phenomenon of both starting and timing.


Once a mumpreneur embarks on the completely foreign, often random and definitely unpredictable journey of motherhood, the fear or hesitation of starting a business that will enable them to pursue their passions, values and income on their terms is suddenly completely achievable.


There are many allegories with motherhood and business ownership, spanning the visceral lows to the ecstatic highs, and unconditional commitment to both owner and entity surviving and thriving.


The anticipation of failure with a business – the projection of all of the risks and unknowns is undoubtedly a massive block to starting something up, often outweighing the equal amount of gains and freedoms that entrepreneurship can bring.


The key to alleviating some of that anxiety is less about looking for the right timeframe in which to launch, rather, it can be found in robustly addressing the risks and mitigations of your start-up so you have a strategy to manage the knowns, and more capacity and time to weather the unknowns when they arise.


Many investor friends and associates of mine actively seek out what are couched as “bad times” for business as it is in these windows of uncertainty and doubt that the low hanging fruit – and some higher hanging equity falls nicely into their hands.


There are plenty of markets crying out to be serviced when the economy is a little shaky, and smart operators jump in when others are biding their time.


So if you are sitting on the fence, waiting to strike, hedging your bets, then stop wasting time, have confidence in your idea, (hopefully) robust risk management and market analysis and get started, after all, there’s no time but the present.