What is the best time of year to start a business? Is it January, when many of us make (and sometimes break) resolutions, or is it best to wait until the beginning of a new UK tax year in April? Do small businesses fare better in winter or summer, or is there no clear-cut season for startup success?
We’ll explore the subject of season in this guide — and then we’ll talk about six reasons to launch your brand new business.
What’s the best time of year to start a business?
According to the results of a four year study by software company Redbooth, workers tend to be 20 percent more productive in autumn. So, should you start your venture when the leaves start to fall? Maybe; maybe not. Let’s unpack three seasonal reasons to delay — or bring forward — a business launch.
Do you need daylight?
The first reason to begin trading at a particular time of year is daylight. Do you plan to work outdoors? If so, consider launching your business in spring. You’ll benefit from progressively longer days, which you can use to build your customer base and make an impression in the marketplace.
Small businesses that kick off in the spring tend to do remarkably well, according to a recent Aldermore Future Attitudes report. Nearly 90 percent of entrepreneurs whose businesses started trading in spring said that their ventures were blooming.
Do your costs vary from season to season?
Some raw materials cost less in winter. Wood costs more in the summer, for instance, because of the seasonal demand for lumber. Ingredients like apples cost less in autumn; Scottish langoustines are available from May to September; UK-grown strawberries are cheap and easy to find in the summer.
If you plan to build bespoke garden sheds, it makes sense to stock up on lumber in the winter. If you specialise in niche gourmet foods, you’ll save money if you launch your business while ingredients are in season.
What’s the customer perspective?
Some ventures are seasonal or semi-seasonal. Take gardening, for example: if you want to be a gardener, launch your business in late autumn and begin promoting your brand over the winter. People start thinking about their gardens while the ground’s still frozen — and that’s when they’ll begin looking for a gardener.
If you plan to sell wholesale products to seasonal resellers, do a little market research to find out when they usually purchase bulk lots, and set your business up well in advance. Send marketing materials — emails and flyers, for instance — to potential clients during the off season.
Some entrepreneurs habitually launch retail ventures in spring to take advantage of the buoyant market after consumers rebound from Christmas spending. Others launch products in October or November, just before the seasonal rush.
When should you really launch your business?
Season might play a role in your business launch decision, but it’s not the only readiness indicator you need to track. Ask yourself these five questions before crunch time:
- Are you prepared to be a business owner? If so, the right time to start your business might be right now. Follow your instincts, write a rock-solid business plan and ride your inspiration out of the gate.
- Do you have a great idea? If you don’t need seasonal ingredients or supplies, there might not be a ‘perfect’ time to launch your venture.
- Have you set a date? If you know you’re ready but work best under pressure, you could simply set a date for your business launch and go for it.
- Have you created a buzz? Are people excited about your product? Use existing buzz to create momentum for your launch.
- Do you have pre-sale orders? Don’t wait too long after a pre-sale event to make those orders concrete. If you have a loan pending, accept its terms and speak to your product manufacturer.
Preparing to launch your business
You have a solid business idea in a growing niche and you’re ready to move forward. Next, you need a business plan. Most business plans include the following seven elements:
- An executive summary: This is a one-page overview of your company, your objectives, your products, your marketing strategy and your financial strategy.
- A business overview: Here’s where you go into a little more detail about your company.
- A market analysis: Write about your industry, about emerging market trends and about your competition.
- A description of your products or services: Tell the reader about the products or services you offer, and why they’re better than the ones sold by your competitors.
- Your marketing plan: Explain your marketing strategy, and talk about how and where you intend to advertise.
- Your operational strategy: Describe your physical business space and your operational needs — equipment, machinery, supplies and revolving financial requirements, for instance.
- Your financial strategy: Include an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement to prove you know how to handle money.
A well-written business plan can help you land funding from the bank and from investors, and it can also help you craft a crowdfunding campaign.
Save time on business admin with a simple app
In most cases, there isn’t really a ‘best time of year’ to start a business. If your venture doesn’t depend on seasonal ingredients or raw materials, you can launch your company whenever you’re ready to do so.
New beginnings bring with them new opportunities — and new challenges. As a small business owner, you’ll need to manage your online presence, your marketing campaigns, your supply chain and more. You can save time and stress by automating consuming financial admin with the Countingup app. ? Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app.
With automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances from the start and save yourself hours of accounting admin, so you can focus on doing what you do best. Find out more here.