When you’re starting a new business, there’s plenty of things to take into account – finding suppliers for any physical goods, suitable premises, a strong customer base, and so on.
But one thing that can often be overlooked is the timing of your launch; in many cases, you might be trying to get up and running as soon as possible, through necessity, but delaying for a month or two can make a big difference.
Just as cashflow is important to small businesses and new start-ups, it is equally important to maximise the money coming in during those first few months – and that’s why you should launch when your potential profitability is at its peak.
For many businesses, a launch in late summer is a good idea, as commerce cycles across the board tend to pick up in the months before Christmas.
That is when the weather begins to fade, fewer people take summer holidays abroad, and retailers can begin to capitalise on gift-buying as the festive holiday season approaches.
Launch into this cycle of shopping, and you’re in with a good chance of making decent revenues, helping you to cover those initial setup costs and establish a firm base for your business once the Christmas peak is gone.
However, as always, the precise timing is industry-specific; people tend not to give swimming trunks as a Christmas gift, so if that’s your chosen product range, you should probably launch early in the year to catch the summer holiday crowd.
Similarly, people tend to buy more food and drink when the weather picks up, so launch any such venture in late spring or early summer, when the first heatwave of the year usually hits.
Checking the Market
How do you know when the peak time for your chosen sector is? Well, there are a few ways you can find out.
Look out for inflation reports or studies from the British Retail Consortium, along with any industry representative bodies, to see if the market is currently growing or shrinking.
If you’re launching an eCommerce venture, use tools like Google Trends and Google Insights for Search to find out how many people are searching for your kinds of products.
These tools and others like them tend to return an index-linked figure between 0 and 100, rather than an exact number of searches, which can make it easier to compare different potential markets in terms of their growth opportunities, but doesn’t give you an idea of the size of each market right now.
By combining these index scores with reports from the BRC and industry bodies, though, you can create a good picture of both the current conditions and the long-term trends – and look for financial statements from the big brands in your target sector too, as these can be a useful benchmark of how things are going at the top of the tree.
Doing it Right
With all of the information at your disposal, it’s up to you to decide when to launch – do you go early, to try and beat any competitor start-ups and established brands? Or do you go late to enter the market at its absolute peak?
The decision is yours, so whatever you choose, make sure you’re happy that your launch date is based on solid evidence, and that you know what kind of a market you’re launching into.