Looking back over the last few weeks there have been some momentous events that have certainly made or broken some businesses. Brexit has been banded around as an excuse for many things. People have pulled out of deals, negotiated hard to get a better price and delayed making decisions based on the result. Perhaps it was for genuine reasons, or down to convenience for some - either way there was an element of luck involved, good or bad.
This got me thinking about ‘timing’. Timing is an interesting concept in business that many attribute to their success or failure. I started thinking about my experiences, recent and old, in launching a business. Whilst I have been lucky enough to be on the right side of it, timing has certainly played a major factor. But how much easier would it be if timing wasn’t a factor - are there ideas and businesses that are just so good that they transcend timing, changing political and economic climates?
If we look at airbnb, there is a famous infographic that talks to the merits of never giving up. Between 2007 - 2010 airbnb faced stagnant growth, VCs turned them down and the business looked like a non-starter. And then almost overnight it became a huge success (I summarise of course). Now whilst there is the ‘never give up’ element, it is also hugely down to timing. The market changed, attitudes changed and the timing was right. This allowed other businesses like Uber to also go into the market very effectively, as the timing was right for this new way of thinking.
So when is the right time? It’s a hard question to answer, especially as many ideas come to us from our everyday experiences. From what I’ve seen, I think there are lots of ways you can minimise the risks associated to your business, that’s why creating a diverse structure within a company is so important. We minimise risks by breaking everything down into minute details, divisions, teams and roles so that there is collaboration around the vision. The better the idea, the research and the team - the less risk there is involved. But I think ultimately every business is vulnerable to timing and events out of their control.
So with my pondering over I guess the key thing is to prepare for all eventualities, when timing goes your way - go as hard as you can and maximise the opportunities available to you. And when it goes against you, be prepared to fight, not give in and get through it. Working life is a long old game and the law of averages means we are all going to get a good moment in time. So how do we ensure we are ready to embrace it? In my next article I’m going to look at how the best start-ups succeeded, and by engaging a few key and well know methodologies you can set yourself up for success.