When To Launch A New Business

So, the past 3 years I’ve had a project “on the sidelines” waiting to launch.

You probably ask… “For 3 years? Seriously?  Why’d you wait so long?”

Truthfully, I never intended on it.  Originally I had planned on launching this new service (more on it later in this post) in 2010.

But didn’t.

Until last week.

Here’s why.

How Many Rabbits Are You Chasing?

Today I was reading a post from Tim Berry on his blog. Great post by the way.  You should read it.

He shows a quote from this article... which reminded me of really why I’d waited so darn long to launch this service that I know will absolutely crush it with the approach we’re taking… in a market that needs disrupting.

To boil it down, this passage says it well…

Remember this: More companies die of indigestion than starvation. When you look back five years from now, your success will based much more on the times you said “no” rather than the times you said “yes.” As the old Chinese proverb states wisely, “Chase two rabbits and both will escape.”

When A Business Idea Is Ready To Roll

For me, this idea was ready to roll in 2009. But the problem was that I wasn’t ready to roll until the last couple months.

There’s a big difference.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011 my team wasn’t built out enough to be able to handle it.  I was working on running my online publishing company (which I sold actually June 1st of this year to my crazy awesome business partner Patrick Riddle who is taking it over 100% to grow and prosper), starting our software company Automize, our entrepreneur co-workspace The Loft here in Roseburg, and just couldn’t add another rabbit to the mix.

But, once the sale of my publishing company happened… the timing was right.  3 years after I not only had the idea but a fully working beta system with 300 beta users in the hacked together system.  3 years.

When I was 12 I remember my mom driving up to this drive through ATM machine off the busiest street in our small town of Klamath Falls, Oregon.  She drove up, put in her card… punched some numbers… and out popped some cash.

But, 15 minutes before that we were at the video rental store getting a movie.

While at the ATM the idea came to me that it would be really cool if I could drive up and get a movie the same way people drive up and get cash.  Cool right?  Ya, Redbox has made a billion dollar industry out of that one idea.

The idea was right, but the timing for me when I was 12… wasn’t (but I wish it was :-).

What I Need To Be Ready To Launch A New Business

I didn’t realize this when I started my first company… really I didn’t realize this stuff until the last year or so.  But, now after starting 4 companies… selling 1… and currently growing 2… I’ve figured out what I need to keep me sane in the business, having fun, and make it profitable.

  1. Focus: For me, I get distracted pretty easily by new ideas. I’m getting better now… but still am a pretty darn optimistic guy who sees opportunity everywhere.  So, for me I can’t have more than 1 main focus… and no more than 2 side projects.  That’s it. Anymore and I start to drop balls everywhere and end up wasting time juggling stuff and buried in planning and email all day. It sucks. So, for me… it’s one main project that I focus 80% of my time on (or more)… and at most 2 side projects to grow… with a team helping me. Right now Automize is my main thing (we have big plans for it)… and my 2 side projects are this new service currently called REItheme and my local entrepreneur things (the Young Entrepreneur Society and The Loft entrepreneur co-workspace).
  2. Help:  I used to get off on thinking I could do things myself.  I’m a quick learner and tend to do a pretty darn good job at most things. But, it took me a few years to learn that asking for help is a good thing.  Especially when I can solve the problem with a bit of money… that would give me leverage so I could focus on better stuff.  Now, I can’t launch a new venture without having a team ready to take on the bulk of the dirty work.  This new service is a software as a service currently aimed at the real estate investor market (we’ll be quickly growing outside of this market in the next 18 months too).  Before I was ready to launch it this year I recruited my brother, Kyle Mauch to dive in as the head of operations, secured our lead tech person for the build outs and tech side of the support, and the next move is bringing in support staff and then eventually a sales/marketing lead so I can step away and just run the business from the strategy side of things.

    It’s not easy for me to pass things off. I’m getting better at it… but this new business would never have been ready to launch last week if we didn’t have at least a skeleton of a team ready to roll so I wasn’t doing everything.

  3. A Leverage-able Advantage: For me this is a biggie. This new service would have fell by the wayside long ago if this didn’t exist for me.  It’s not easy to launch a new business or service into a market that you don’t have a foothold in already. Can it be done? Yep, I’ve done it. But it took some damn hard work and didn’t happen quickly.  But, now I look for places where I have leverage in the market that I can play toward my advantage to get the business launched more quickly.  In this particular market, the real estate investor world, I’ve built up a lot of knowledge in this world as an investor myself (so know the product and customer inside and out), I’ve built up a lot of goodwill and relationships with people in the market who have influence, and we have assets (i.e. – websites and email lists) in this market already that we can immediately spread the word to about our new service.  But, let me be clear on this… the real estate investor market isn’t our main goal with this service. In fact, we see it being a small part of the business long-term. But, it’s where we can come out of the gates quickly… grow the business and the team… provide a lot of value to the customers… then we can roll out in a bigger way with the momentum we’ve already created in a market I know well.

For me, thats what I look for now.

It makes starting a new business or launching a new service a heck of a lot easier, quicker, and more profitable.

Time To Grow.

So, here on my blog I’ll chronicle the growth of this company as we go.  It should be fun.  It’ll be my first business working with my brother which will be awesome.  This business has a huge upside exit potential (you’re probably thinking “how?”… we’ve got some big plans. More on that later).  And I’m excited as heck to roll this puppy out in a big way.

We’ll be learning a ton as we grow this company… and I’ll pass on the good stuff to ya.

So, are you waiting for the right time to launch a new company?  First off, if you already have a company or two… wait until you don’t have so many rabbits in the race (or until you have more people with you on your team to chase the rabbits) to launch. If you don’t have a company yet… that’s called procrastination ;-). Get started, hit it hard, and stay focused.

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2 responses to “When To Launch A New Business

  1. You’re a tease!  I thought you were going to talk about what the business is about. Looking forward to the next update with more details. 

    Meanwhile, I guess this is related – I had wanted to change the name of my blog for about a year now. I realized over a year ago that the domain name wasn’t appropriate and wasn’t representative of my focus. I didn’t do it for a long time because I was worried about losing existing traffic and also I didn’t want to pick a new domain name that I would have to change again later, if my focus shifted. Also, like you, I wasn’t ready – I wasn’t ready to completely shift my focus. So I thought long and hard about it – although I probably shouldn’t have waited 12 months.  The switch was from calawreport.com to http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com. The new name is more representatives of my target market and focus (entrepreneurs and business owners). 

    Give us an update when you can about the new business!  Hope Automizeit is going well. 

  2. Ha ha, I actually linked to the website in the post. My CSS styling sucks though so the hyperlinks are gray… so basically invisible. I need to change those puppies. 

    It’s a software as a service for the real estate investor world.  It’s funny… we turned the website on on Friday… Saturday we had a customer sign up at $89/mo… 2 days later… another at $49/mo… another yesterday, etc. Doesn’t sound impressive like that… but, all we did was turn the site on. Hadn’t even had a chance to start the marketing yet… those were people who just randomely found the site through google… and bought. So, we’re ready to crank. But, the site is http://www.reitheme.com . Should be fun… but we’re thinking MUCH bigger than the real estate investor world.  This is just a start. Hope all is well man!  You need to make your way up to our neck of the woods sometime. Meet up w/ me and Ben. 

    – T

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