The Right Moment

The Right Moment

A few weeks ago I got to have a couple drinks with a guy I really respect, a seriously successful entrepreneur and VC.  We talked about a range of topics but one stuck out to me, “Jonathan, if you’re going to start a company you have to have the right idea and the right timing.”  Here’s an experienced entrepreneur who’s not telling me I need to start a new company as soon as possible, but to think about my options.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently as there have been several recent posts written about the thrill of starting a company.  They all talk about the gutsy entrepreneurs and their heroic feats.  The harrowing tales of living off of credit cards, remortgaging your house and working 100 hour weeks.  They also talk about the rewards, the money from an exit the opportunities that are open to experienced entrepreneurs.

I agree with both the guy I had a couple drinks with and all of the hype in the blogosphere.  Starting your own company can be the thrill of a lifetime, require amazing sacrifices and result in great rewards.  But, you can’t just force it.  I’m not saying you should wait until you have no doubts, the day will never come.  But you need an idea that is worth those amazing sacrifices or you’ll be doing it all in vain.

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  • Brett Satterfield

    Jon,

    I was thinking of writing a guest blog post on this exact subject about a week ago! Granted my experience as an entrepreneur didn’t come with the same risks that other entrepreneur’s usually go through, but I do feel that I have some valuable advice to pass along. You know the genesis of my venture, but for your readers that might not have read my guest post I wrote about a year ago, I started an online division of my family’s hardware store, http://www.hardtofinditems.com. Our concept was to sell our more hard-to-find items online. After going through some preliminary research we worked through developing the knowledge to launch an eCommerce store. Three years later we have a business that is on pace to do more than $6 million dollars this year with only the addition of a few employees on our staff, which only make a nominal amount of money with respect to our top line revenue number.

    Along the way I have learned a few things that I believe most entrepreneurs could benefit from. 1.) As much as you think you know about something before you get involved with a venture, you will learn so much more. This will result in finding different ways to generate sales, revenue, visitors, etc. Good ideas can’t be found too often, they are stumbled upon. However if you don’t dive in you will never find them . 2.) With every good idea, competition will follow. Therefore, the ability to adapt is critical to your success. 3.) In the case of one of my friends that is a highly-successful entrepreneur. His first venture failed, but his experience from his first venture allowed him to relaunch a similar business, just under a different concept. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. Learning, adapting, or even starting over is ok. Working more, working harder, or pouring more money into something won’t work if it is flawed from the core. 5.) You want to dream, experiment and invest in new avenues with a start-up, but financial prudence with the respect to time and money invested in the business must be constantly evaluated to determine if these ideas are worth pursuing/continuing. There have been cases where my emotions got the best of me and I spent more money than I should have on. Thankfully, my family has been there to help me question my new ideas for our eCommerce business or help me operate more slowly until ideas were tested and proven to be financial viable additions to our business.

    I’d be glad to write a more thorough guest post or two for you. This is just off the top of my head. Let me know.

    Brett

    • I love the sentiment here and it echos most of the things I hear from other
      successful entrepreneurs. Since this post is a little older and few people
      are still following the comments, I think it would be appropriate (and great
      for the readers of this blog) to get these thoughts in to another guest post
      on the topic.

      • Brett Satterfield

        Will do. I’ll work something up this week.