This article is sponsored by Comcast Business, but all opinions belong to the author.
It seems nowadays that everyone wants to start their own business; within your own network of friends and family, there’s likely at least one person who has expressed that desire. But just as common, though, is the reluctance of these same people – these “wantrepreneurs” – to actually start those companies. The problem, it seems, is not that they don’t want to start a business (since they’ve clearly expressed the desire to do so); rather, the issue boils down to whether they’re ready (or, at least, feel ready) to start a business. To help those still ambivalent about going off and starting their own companies, Tech.Co reached out to entrepreneurs and asked them: when did you realize that you were ready to start a business?
Entrepreneurship has seen a dramatic increase in the past few years. While this trend has been made apparent through the popularity of shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley and the prevailing rhetoric surrounding “startups” and “founders”, The Kauffman Foundation reports that there’s been a recent resurgence in new entrepreneurs, starting in 2013 – with the rate of new entrepreneurs increasing from 0.28 percent in 2013 to 0.31 percent in 2014 (per its latest stats). To prevent your company from being one of the many that fail every year, though, you need to make sure that you have a right strategy in place and that you have the necessary resources to thrive. Whether it’s providing your company with cloud solutions or fast WiFi, Comcast Business will make sure your business has everything it needs to survive.
If you’re still holding back on pulling the trigger and starting a business, read what these entrepreneurs had to say about when they were ready to start. And, if you want a little more insight on how to start your small business or want to hear more from other entrepreneurs, check out the Comcast Business Community page.
“I felt that starting my own company would allow me to really spread my wings professionally. During the second half of 2015, I began to toy around the idea of launching a company and what it would take to actually do it. I started the branding of it, defining the business model, identifying potential clients, etc., and realized I had all the pieces in place to realize my dream of entrepreneurship. And then I did it. It was tough – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – but launching my own agency has been one of the best decisions I've made in my life and I haven't been this happy in a long time.” – Bilal Kaiser, Principal at Agency Guacamole
“I think people know, in their hearts, when they are emotionally and intellectually ready to start their own business, they just have to be willing to listen and follow that instinct. However, there is the consideration of being financially ready. Starting your own business means you are willing to accept that you may not have someone writing you a check for a while. When you work for someone else (assuming it is a financially viable organization of course!), you don’t even have to think about getting paid. You get paid – period. When you work for yourself, there isn’t someone in HR that is going to write you a check, and that might not happen for a while, perhaps until you get new clients or outside funding. So, you have to be financially ready. This is not easy, and it can take a toll on you, your family, and your retirement savings. However, when the money does start coming in, there is nothing like it. You did it. You made it happen. You are providing something of value and someone is willing to pay you for it. For me, it has been worth it.” – Victoria Rossi, Managing Director at i-media-international
“I think it is rare that there is just one thing that pushes someone toward an entrepreneurial path. I think it is a combination of many experiences, failures, and successes that you can kern from that push you in a specific direction…I figured that if I tried and failed the worst thing that would happen is I would have to go back to work for a corporation, and if that was the biggest downside, then I would be a fool to not try and make it happen. But the other truth was, I was never all that great of an employee, and I was always trying to fight whatever system I was in and create one of my own.” – Carlos Hidalgo, Founder, CEO and Principal at ANNUITAS
“If you are starting a business make sure you are willing to, at least, take it all the way to proof of concept. If you are not all-in from day one, you shouldn’t start at all. One of the hardest things to do is to get to MVP: you have to face the naysayers, the constant rejection and hesitation that will come not only from outsiders but also from those closest to you – and even sometimes from yourself.” – Pablo Borquez Schwarzbeck, CEO and Founder of ProducePay
“You will never be completely ready to start a business, but you have to take advantage of the opportunities presented. I had $800 saved up, and I was living with my mom at the time, so I decided to start Shofur. I bought the domain, built the website, taught myself to code, and started aggregating every single bus company I could connect with nationwide. Today it is profitable without any investor funding.” – Armir Harris, CEO of Shofur
“Creating a new business puts an individual at the helm of an entire operation, which can be daunting to some but super enticing to someone like me. I wanted to start a company so I had the ability to succeed or fail on my own terms, which wouldn't have been possible anywhere else…To be honest, I still don't know [when you know you’re ready to start a business]. I never woke up and said ‘today is the day.’ You just have to start. There's a steep learning curve for new entrepreneurs and the only way you can get the knowledge you need is to get your hands dirty. If you wait for the perfect moment to start a company, you'll never find it. Plus, your competitors won't be waiting for you either.” – Jessica Elle, Cofounder of Localturf
“I would also like to think that entrepreneurs have the self-awareness to recognize that it is easy to say ‘I could do better’ than what (or whom) is out there at that moment, but they want to prove that this is true[…]In terms of when is the right time for you to start a business, it is a pretty complex equation that spits out a different answer for everybody. You need sufficient drive, you need minimized downside (e.g. a financial safety net if you're older, or a low personal burn rate), you need some sort of plan, and then – like jumping off a cliff – you need something slightly more instinctive to take over your body for a moment…a rush of blood or a strong gut instinct.” – Adam Edgell-Bush, CEO and Cofounder of Homyze
“Timing was the key driver. There were three primary ‘timing events’ that aligned. First, the Affordable Care Act. It created a seismic shift in required regulatory changes that gave parity and opened doors to companies like Maestro Health. Secondly, consumerism and modern shopping techniques were finally becoming part of the healthcare scene. Add that to evolving regulatory changes and the door was opened for new employee benefit platforms to emerge. Lastly, personal timing for me was right.” – Rob Butler, CEO and Founder of Maestro Health
“I think that rather than it being a particular time or moment in a person’s life to start a company, for me it is when you have an idea that you can’t let go of. When you are looking at a market you know, you see what’s not working, you feel you have the answer and yet, you see no one taking any steps to resolve the issue…The issue kept gnawing at me to the point where I felt it was time to start a company that I felt had the solution.” – Tamir Poleg, CEO and Founder of Real
“When you can no longer ignore the voice in your head, [then] it's time to strike out on your own. Looking back over the arc of history, there has never been a better time to follow one's passions into business. Whether it's the cost of starting a company, access to capital, cultural acceptance of something new (and, increasingly, an acceptance of failure), the time truly is now. So, if you have a compelling idea or have always viewed yourself as an entrepreneur, don't be afraid to act.” – Mike Malone, Founder of Livestock Framing
“In my opinion, you are ready to start a business once you’ve mastered a high degree of proficiency and expertise within your domain, have worked in positions providing you with global experience and perspective, identified a real pain in a large market, assembled a core team ready to take on the challenge, and are personally aware of the risks to you, your family, your potential investors.” – Mor Assia, Founding Partner at iAngels
“I believe that you should never start something unless you are creating new value, or solving a business problem that others have failed to solve. Equally important to solving a problem is doing something you’re completely passionate about. Nothing shows that you are ready to start a business like being willing to put your own skin in the game. Starting a business is extremely hard work that requires a tremendous amount of perseverance and belief in what you’re doing. If you aren’t solving a real problem and don’t feel passionately head over heels about the idea, the probability of success is little to zero.” – Ray Gary, CEO and Cofounder of iDonate
“I think that you can never really be ready, but if the obsession is strong, you start anyway. You are so in love with the problem you are solving and the company you are building, that you are willing to dedicate a ton (or all) mental energy in that direction. You are willing to sacrifice important things. You are also willing to take risks and look absurd and be embarrassed…all because you want to solve the problem. When you’re starting up, nobody else cares about your company. So, if that passion and curiosity aren't at the core of what you are doing, then it would be really hard to continuously push forward against the gravity of the world’s existing state to make this new company exist.” – Amanda Greenberg, CEO of Baloonr
“I became a firm believer that mindset was the determining factor between those that were successful and those that were not. After an injury caused me to end my professional [NFL] career early, I shifted my mindset and goal to become a successful business owner[…]Even with that mindset, my very first business – a burrito shop – was not extremely successful. I still found myself working more than I wanted to, and having to do too many things (like delivering burritos) myself. I started studying successful business owners, and once again my mindset changed. I realized I didn’t want to be a business owner, I wanted to be an entrepreneur[…]For me, it was an easy decision. I knew I wanted to control my own financial future and that owning my business would allow me to do that….Shifting your mindset is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself to be a successful business owner.” – Than Merrill, CEO and Cofounder of FortuneBuilders
“There’s no ultimate definition of ‘ready.’ However, there are important things you need to check off the list before launching. For starters, it is important to understand what makes a business successful. A successful business requires a combination of better product, better experience, and competitive pricing, supported by a technological infrastructure that makes these possible. If you can’t check these off, then you’re not ready. There are many industries that command solutions and change; however, if you want your business to be successful you must build it from the ground up and rethink the entire user experience – not just some layer of it.” – George Arison, CEO and Founder of Shift
“Opportunity was the driving force – there was market demand for our products, we had the expertise and experience to go into business for ourselves, and we had a clear vision for how we wanted to build the company. Our three cofounders had spent decades in the software business and it was time to pool our resources and strike out on our own…It’s true that everyone can have a great idea, and that they’re not always ready to start a business. The only advice I’d give is to make sure you’re thinking about a path to profitability and revenue – if your plan is baked out to the point where you understand how to sell [as well as] the value of the benefits you’re providing, then you’ve got a leg up on a lot of other new entrepreneurs.” – Kirk Krappe, CEO and Founder of Apttus
“Regarding knowing the perfect time to start a business: you really don’t know for sure; it’s always a risk. The optimal time is when the potential for rewards outweighs the risks, and only you can determine that point. I’ve started two businesses, one that failed and one that is succeeding, and in both cases it was part calculated risk, part leap of faith.” – Max Brown, Founder of Silicon Beach Talent