Is time right to take the leap?

July 13, 2008
Filed under: Coach's Corner — Tags: , , — jonimar @ 5:00 pm

Q: I’m ready to leave my job to launch my own business, but I’m worried about the U.S. recession and the impact it might have on the Canadian economy and my business. Would you recommend I wait until the economy improves?

A: New businesses start and succeed at every point in the economic cycle. The advantage to starting up during a weaker economy is there are probably fewer competitors entering the market at this time and what better way to create a recession-proof enterprise than to launch a lean business machine?

For now, keep your expenses minimal and set up simple stream-lined systems. Resist the need to invest up front on glossy marketing materials, elaborate business cards or lavish office equipment to make your business “official.”

Focus your efforts on the work itself — and doing the kind of outstanding job you want to become known for. Start small by giving clients a low-risk experience of working with you. Your goal is to leave them wanting more.

Develop your reputation and build on their confidence and trust in you. Trust that word-of-mouth referrals will follow when you’re professional, deliver excellence and ask for more business.

Grow your market slowly and steadily, ironing out the kinks in your early days. A start-up business has the flexibility to respond quickly to consumer needs — an advantage in a constricted market when buyers are more value conscious.

However, if worries are getting in your way, it’s not unusual to hold a day job as a fledgling business is ramping up. Being hungry for the business can drive you; being desperate for the sale can drive clients away. Playing your cards right when consumers are belt-tightening could mean hitting the jackpot when spending confidence resumes.

Originally printed in The Province on July 13, 2008.


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