Timing Is Everything
Ever wondered why big budget blockbuster films always seem to come out in the summer or winter, while horror films are generally autumn fare? Why entertainment media in general tends to release in the holiday window, or in the three months directly following? The reason for this is simple. The various companies responsible for their release have tracked when they do well and when they don’t, and adjusted their release schedules accordingly. Other companies picked up on the trend, and voila. The same holds true when talking about any other product, service, or business. Selecting the right launch window can have a huge effect on whether your business succeeds or fails.
Obviously, you want to succeed, so selecting the right launch window for your business is extremely important. For some of you, it doesn’t matter when you launch, as dates will ultimately have no effect on your business. It won’t matter if you start up a graphic design company or a blog in the middle of summer or the dead of winter. The work is there regardless of what day of the year it is. For the rest though, like the title says, timing is everything. So how do you go about selecting a date that will assist in maximizing your earning potential and granting you the biggest slice of PIE?
Common sense is a good place to start, and really all you need to at least get a general idea of where to begin. You wouldn’t, for example, open an ice cream shop in the dead of winter. Nor is it a good idea to say…start selling custom designed snowboards or importing winter coats in the spring. Common sense dictates that if you are providing a product or service with a somewhat seasonal nature, you want to launch close to that season so you’re up and running and ready to go when the time comes. But even though that seems like an obvious bet, selecting the right time does still require a small amount of finesse. Launch just a little too soon, and you miss the opportunity to take advantage of “grand opening” hype to hook in new customers or clients, and keep them. Launch too late, and you miss the boat entirely. Your competition will already have a foothold, and you’ll be playing catch up. Not an ideal situation.
So you’ve got a vague idea of when the best time to launch is, how do you narrow it down further? Take a cue from the entertainment industry and gather information to help identify trends. Going back to that ice cream shop example, now that we know late spring is the best time to open, how do we pick a month? Well, future ice cream shop proprietor, why not take a look at weather trends in your area? In parts of North America the temperature doesn’t head up into summer temperatures until June, making May an ideal month to open in. In some places, by the time May hits it’s already hot out again (looking at you, Phoenix!), making April a better pick. Some quick information gathering (I found Phoenix’s average monthly temperatures in about five seconds with Google) can be all you need to make an informed decision on when the best time for you to open up shop (figuratively speaking, though I wholeheartedly support anyone planning on opening an ice cream shop) is. In some cases, that may not be enough. You may have to dig a little deeper. Check in on your future competitors, see when their business starts picking up. Do as the various entertainment industries did. Gather information, identify trends, and act accordingly.
It seems such a small thing, selecting the right time to launch your business. But your success can, does, and probably will hinge on it. An ice cream shop opened in the middle of January likely won’t see summer, unless you plan on keeping it afloat (pun intended) by paying business expenses out of pocket. A landscaping business launched in November isn’t going to see much work until the Spring thaw. Timing your launch window is critical, because it can ultimately decide whether in a year’s time when your anniversary rolls around, your business is alive and kicking, or melted away like so much vanilla ice cream on a hot summer day.
You want to succeed. You’re driven to succeed. It’s why you’re here. It’s why you chose to take those first steps onto your path to PIE in the first place. Time it right, and that is exactly what you will do.