Timing is not everything. It’s not even the only thing. It’s, simply, the most crucial thing for a startup entrepreneur. When in doubt, consider this poor fellow named Ronald Wayne. He co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 (now Apple Inc.) partnering with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. His task was to provide administrative oversight and documentation for the new venture. After spending 12 days, he decided to sell his 10% share for this staggering startup - as he saw it. He sold his shares back to his co-founders for US$800.
Now that Apple has hit the $237 per share price, Wayne’s 10 percent stake in Apple would be worth more than US$95 Billion. Should he master the timing of getting in and getting out, Wayne would have been the richest man in the world. Failing to master the art of timing is not restricted to business, it encompasses every aspect of our life. Choosing the right time or, better say, the right season to attack would have saved Napoleon Bonaparte his leadership as a great emperor. To dominate Europe, he chose bad timing to conquer Russia. Instead of summer, he made the conquest in The Winter where everything is freezing. That was the prime reason for losing the war. The root cause of Bonaparte’s and Wayne’s tragedy is the lack of patience. Patience is the cornerstone in mastering the art of timing.
Related: 3 Things you need to invest in… NOW
Striking a perfect timing is what makes or breaks launching your product or service. According to the reputable CB Insights, mistiming is one of the crucial reasons for startup failures. Mistiming comes as No. 10 reason, out of the 20 reasons for the failing new ventures according to the insights that come out of the startup entrepreneurs who couldn’t make it. When Bill Gross, who spent a decade trying to understand why most startups failed, researched the factors that help startups succeed, he found a startling findings. The five main factors, or parameters, are: Market, Idea, Team, Business Model, and Timing. The number one factor, or parameter, that determines startup success, Bill concludes, is Timing.
Timing is a tricky element that is hard to gauge, except when reflecting on the experience afterwards. Still, it is a skill that can be mastered through building 3 pillars. The first pillar is Identify your Customer. Start with the reason behind your survival in business – your customers. What are their pain points? Are they happy with the products and services offered? Are they hungry for something that is not provided by competitors? Do customers really, really want this problem to be solved? How dissatisfied they are with the products that are offered to him?
Most importantly is your effort in reaching out to potential customers who refuse to buy from all your competitors. What are their pain points that kept them from buying from all the competitors in your industry? Do you find common complaints from those customers that competitors are not supplying? Do you think there are commonalities in their complaints that you can make use of? Your value comes out of understanding these commonalities and finding a solution.
The second pillar is preparation. You should take your time armored with patience and guidance. Having studied the market, you need to be honest with yourself and pinpoint where you stand versus the competition. Next, chart a strategy that illustrates how you can compete and differentiate yourself through offering value. You need to be patient in this stage. When you control your emotional responses and take time to plan and study the triangle of your market, competitors, and yourself, opportunities will present themselves in front of you.
The third pillar is Ruthless Offence. Because you’ve taken your time to study this triangle and made your homework, opportunity will come your way. Now, your pace must be changed. You need to speed up and execute with force. Now, you are sure that the market is ready and hungry for such a solution of yours. Forget about patience in this stage, you got to be ruthlessly impatient and bring things to a close. The pain points that were long-awaited to be solved are now at your disposal. Communicating your value and knowing how to finish forcefully will put your competitors off guard. In so doing, you will be messing with their timing.
The success of your business depends on knowing the right time to launch. To master the skill of hitting the right timing, lot of homework needs to be done. You need first to understand your market thoroughly and have the feel as when it will be ready to accept the value you offer. Second, know your competitors and to what extent they are not meeting market expectations. Third, study yourself and strategize when to slow down and when to speed up as the opportunity comes.