There is no perfect timing for starting a business. Do not wait until you have the perfect idea or product before you take that bold step to start a business. If you really believe in your idea, give it your best with the resources you have right now and make the necessary changes as you grow and develop it.

Entrepreneurs always start out with an idea they passionately believe will fly, but for some strange (well not so strange) reasons 90 percent of all those ideas do not make it after first year. The big question is: why do so many businesses fail? Richard Farleigh (serial entrepreneur) is of the opinion that the problems arise from one of three causes: the original idea is no good, the execution of the idea fails or unknown unknowns emerge with disastrous effects.

You can always plan ahead and write out a complete comprehensive business plan, but you will never know how the industry will change tomorrow, what your target customers will respond to your product or service or what your competition is planning to introduce. But if you do your homework, and adequately prepare before starting a business, chances are good that you can make it work. And remember that not attempting something you really want because you’re afraid of the risk involved might be the biggest failure of all.

Even when you have grown past your first year of operation, you still don’t know what the future holds for you. Some things are just out of your control. But what you really need is to be in control of the ‘known’. Some of the possible ‘knowns’ are how much you really have to spend getting started- you may not have to spend all that money you have planned for marketing.

You may not have to take huge investor funds from investors. If you can bootstrap your way to success for some time, you should consider it. Once your business has started and you have stood on your feet, the business will be a lot more valuable and you can have good control of how the business needs to be managed. If you can, you should avoid expensive marketing and cut down on your expenditure at the early stages of the business. But do not compromise what can contribute to the success of the business.

Sometimes with good research you will find out that the industry trends are moving away from your product or service or potential customers are already locked up by competitors. You may have to do a very good job to gain a percentage of the market. This could delay your time to really success in that space.

When planning a new business, you should decide which tasks you should concentrate on personally and which ones you need to outsource or hire smart people to perform. You may not need too many people in the beginning but you need to know what you can competently handle and what needs to be done by another expect. This will give you the time you need to focus on vital business functions in your control.

In the words of Richard Farleigh (serial entrepreneur) ‘Use the first year as a research project: test the idea and business plan as much as possible, for as little money as possible’. A marketing plan can help define marketing areas as well as uncover customer needs.


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Thomas Oppong is the founder @Alltopstartups.