Posted by admin-innovationcenter 7:28 am


The determination of whether it is the right “time” to start a business is, by its very nature, an entrepreneurial question. Challenges in the economy are generally characterized by most people as “bad”; these same economic challenges are usually viewed by entrepreneurs as “opportunities”. A recent study released by the Kaufman Foundation for Entrepreneurship found that over half of the Fortune 500 companies started out as small businesses during challenging economic times.

Entrepreneurs that are looking to start an enterprise certainly need to be mindful of the larger economic picture in planning for a business. Does the national economic condition seem favorable to small businesses? Does the current macroeconomic environment support the hiring of employees, borrowing of money to get started, and adequate tax incentives for purchasing equipment? Knowledge of the environment, both local and national, is part of the job of entrepreneurship. Business plans force entrepreneurs to look at the national (and international) business climate in planning a business venture.

That being said, entrepreneurs tend to focus on the small picture. Entrepreneurs tend to focus on the microeconomic environment, on the local problem that they are trying to solve or the local opportunity that they are trying to exploit with their businesses. Part of determining whether the time is right to start a business must include an understanding of the larger economic picture. How do you react to the condition of the larger economic picture? It depends whether you see “bad” conditions or “opportunistic” conditions.

So, what do I say when I am asked this question? I always answer in the same way by stating that “you are asking the wrong person”. Why am I the wrong person? Because in looking back at my own history of launching enterprises, I found that most of the businesses that I have started have been at some of the “worst” economic times. During these “bad” times, I saw opportunity.


My answer to this question is always “no”. Sorry, I can only find businesses for me to go into. Our Business 101 Series features a “Let’s Find A Deal” seminar that highlights the methods that entrepreneurs use to find businesses to go into. It is an involved, innovative, and personal process. It is also the part of the job of entrepreneurs. The question should be “how do I know when I have found the right business?”

The book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins (Harper, 2001) presents three conceptual understandings that have been used to turn many good companies into great companies. I feel that these understandings are present when an entrepreneur finds the right business to go into. That “right” business for you will be one that:

you are deeply passionate about
you know you can be the best in the world at
that you know the economic engine of (exactly how you are going to make money with it)

While simple, these three understandings can help you land on the “right” business for you. This is a book that I highly recommend to entrepreneurs in the pre-venture stage.

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Business 101 Series

Business 101 Series Gulf Coast (GC) and USM Schedule GC Email: USM Email: To Register: go to…

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