When Is the Best Time to Start a Business?

It depends on the person starting it

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Starting a business is similar to starting a relationship; the best time to start a business is when you have the time to devote your attention to it.

This isn’t to say that there's anything wrong with starting a part-time business or starting a business when you are still working at a job. People have different energy levels and different capabilities. It’s just to say that to give yourself the best shot at starting a business, you have to be able to focus on it.

It’s the wrong time for starting a business if you are already experiencing a lot of turmoil or stress in your life. (Starting a business will be stressful in itself, even if everything goes smoothly.) If you are in the process of getting a divorce, have just lost your job, or are moving, for instance, it’s wise to put off starting a business until your life is once again on a more even keel.

The best time for starting a business has nothing to do with how old you are. People of any age can start a business and you may be surprised to know that most small business owners in the U.S. are older; 51% of owners of small businesses are 50-88 years old, 33% are 35-49 and only 16% are 35 years old and under. It's not a matter of age; it’s a matter of where you are in your life and whether you’re ready and able to face new challenges.

Your Readiness to Become an Entrepreneur

Should you even start a business and become self-employed? There are many issues to consider before deciding to start a business:

Your Personality

Not everyone has the required personality traits to thrive as a business owner. Aside from extensive knowledge about the particular industry, to be successful as a business owner requires self-motivation and a variety of organizational, management, and marketing skills, as well as the ability to deal with customers and vendors. Think you’re ready for starting a business but are concerned about whether or not you have the “right” traits and attitudes to be an entrepreneur?

Your Financial Situation

Your financial situation is a key consideration when determining whether to start a business. How much risk can you tolerate? If you are currently in a stable employment situation and have a family do you really want to strike out on your own? (Providing you have a good relationship with your current employer one way around this is to see if they would consider a contract arrangement. Starting a new business can also take significant amounts of startup capital if you have to purchase equipment, rent/lease business space, and hire employees. Do you have savings or access to funding from family, or the ability to secure debt financing from a lending institution or equity financing from angel investors?

Effect on Family

If you are married be aware that running a business is a family affair. Aside from the family financial considerations stated above starting a business generally requires much more of your time than regular employment (and will likely continue to do so for years). The time commitment and the associated stresses and uncertainties of running a business can place an undue strain on family relationships. Note, however, that involving family members in your business can also be very beneficial. Aside from providing trusted help employing your spouse and/or children has great tax advantages.

Of course, the timing of starting your business in just one consideration; you must also take all of the necessary steps to ensure that the business is successful.