Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Starting a business: Don't bite off more than you can chew

Regular readers of this blog will know that for the last few months I have been trying to set up an online business.  My original timetable has been blown completely out of the water as I came up against several challenges including
  • Not having certain skills and not realising soon enough that I would need to get them in
  • Over-estimating how much time I had to commit to the project
I have previous done a post on not having the skills and getting them in (see the link above) and this post will be on the second point which relates to committing to a project and then not having the capability and time to follow it through.

I imagine that most people who read this blog are either working in a professional context or are full time students who are interested in finance.  Either way, the chances are that you are at work or college a significant portion of the day, another portion of the day you dedicate to family and friends and the last part (if you have gone down the same path as me) you reserve for starting a business.

It is important early on in the process to evaluate how much time you can commit to the business.  In my case I thought I had done this.  I didn't not realise one crucial mistake I made:
I made the decision to start the business and evaluated how much time this would take when I was not busy
It is an easy mistake to make.  This is typically when our creative juices are flowing.  We evaluate the time we can allocate to the business based on the time we have when we are making the decision to start a business.

As an college or university student will tell you - it is easy to start a business in your spare time...EXCEPT around exams when you are so busy with study and passing subjects that you have been cramming for that you barely have time to think about your business. 

The same is true for working professionals as well.  There are always times of the year where you are busier than others.  Personally I found that the busy time in my current job is during report season (when companies report their results and I need to update my models and attend a crazy amount of meetings).  In fact it gets so busy that you may have noticed that I am down to one post a day on this blog (from two a day).

When you evaluate how much time you can spend on your new business, think about how much time it will require and whether you will be able to sustain this during the busy periods of your life.

The business I have planned can probably survive me not being present 2-3 months in a year but it also means that I should have extended the start up time for my business by this 2-3 months!  I am still going to pursue the idea and see how it pans out but I am now more realistic about timing and what I can and cannot do.

Have you started a business and had the same problems that I am currently having?  How did you manage it? 

1 comment:

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