Making Decisions – Part 3 of 6

Tomorrow Never Comes!

How do you start a business? What are the steps to take? We learned last time that you must apply a process to figuring out who you are, what you want to do, when you’re going to do it, where you’re going to do it, why you want to do it, and how you’re going to do it.

Let’s talk about when.


“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” – Thomas Edison

“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” – M. Scott Peck

What are reasons people go into business? (Please feel free to write in and tell me your reasons!)

•    You grew up in a family business
•    You had an idea that your boss wouldn’t let you implement at work
•    You retired and want something else to do
•    You like working with your hands and/or don’t have a higher education
•    You got laid off and couldn’t find a job
•    You want more money than you can earn with a fixed wage
•    You want a flexible schedule or more time to do what you love

With the exception of the first example, each of these situations requires making a decision about WHEN to go into business.

The oldest woman lived to be 122 and the oldest man lived to be 115. My guess is that most of us have a lot less time than that, especially assuming that at some point our energy levels and/or physical capacity simply diminish. We all make the assumption we’ll have a tomorrow but there is no guarantee of that.

Unlike time, money is limitless. We are so trained to feel limited by financial resources while living with the illusion there is always some other day for us to get motivated to change a life that is less than fulfilling today. Do you see how you need to adjust your thinking? More often than not we are faced with the unexpected – loss of work, health issues for us or for a family member, financial pressures that might result from either of the first two. Unfortunately no matter how well we plan or how much we want to think we’re in control, often outside forces step in – sometimes in a big way!

The good news is there is a lot to be said for the rug being pulled out from under your feet. In this situation, when you are intently focused on regaining your balance, your imagination about all the things that might go wrong is temporarily suspended.  Although there are things you should and must consider, at some point you simply have to DO something. Otherwise, before you know it, the game’s over and you never got a shot. So if something unexpected happens forcing NOW to be the time, take a deep breath and know that you’ll look back on this at some point and be grateful for the nudge.

Remember a few weeks ago when we started this conversation, I recommended applying common sense to your decision-making? You, as an entrepreneur, don’t live in a vacuum. Who knew? So the other thing about timing is to recognize you are a whole person who fits into a larger fabric. As you think about when to make a move, recognize that there may be other areas of your life to focus on before you exert energies towards business. Therefore, consider which areas of your life are a priority demanding attention for improvement now, which areas are in a state you are comfortable maintaining, and which you’d like to see improve but they can wait awhile. It may be that you decide to postpone focusing on business temporarily. Don’t worry, though. Business ideas ruminate and life lessons are always useful when you are paying attention!

Here’s a little chart to help you decide both when and where to exert effort, see what you’re already managing beautifully, and determine what can get done later. At least you now have a plan of when to look at each facet of your life, acknowledging you are integral to your family and your community!

•    DO consider your stage in life. If you are single, without children, without a mortgage, without student loans, and not in need of major healthcare, what are you waiting for? Get started NOW!
•    If you need healthcare, have a mortgage, are paying someone’s tuition, or are the major breadwinner for a family, DO consult WITH your significant other to determine what amount is acceptable, in terms of time and money, to spend on getting a new venture started.
•    DO consider working part-time in your off-hours to start your venture to determine if the market is willing to pay for what you offer
•    DO maintain a sense of urgency. Remember tomorrow never comes and there is no time like the present. If you have always had a dream to start your own venture, make plans to get started sooner rather than later. You deserve to have your dreams come true!
•    Don’t jump into the deep end without some preparation. At a minimum you must determine what you want to accomplish in the next 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months.
•    Don’t get started without some pre-determined boundaries in place: for example, you will devote 40 hrs/wk to your job, no more than 15 hrs/wk to your new venture, and at least one hour of focused (not distracted, shared, multi-tasking!) time each morning and evening with your family plus one full day on weekends. There’s no point in having a business if you lose the respect and friendship of your loved ones along the way! Also have financial limits in place – make an agreement with all interested parties that you won’t spend more than X dollars or Y months getting going.
•    Remember that starting a business is a process, not a one-time event. You are in the stage of building your foundation and outlining your strategy to bring your vision to life. Review and write down what you have accomplished so far in making decisions about who you are and want to be, what you have and what you need, and when to get started.
•    Explore the myth that there is plenty of time and no urgency to make plans and consciously decide a go/no-go date. Think of two or three instances of friends or family members in which time ran out before they took a chance on their dreams.
•    Plan to keep checking in with this blog to learn next steps to start a business.
•    Please contact me with any thoughts, reactions, or questions you have so far! Thank you!


Read more So, You Want to Start A Business