Is This Really a Good Time to Start a Business?

Last Updated Feb 18, 2009 10:21 PM EST

Everybody says this is a good time to start a business. Well, is it?
Business Week: Starting a Business in a Downturn: It might go against your instincts, but starting a business in a soft economy has advantages.

USA Today: Strategies: It's a good time to start a business. Really
The Industry Standard: Five reasons why a recession is a good time to start a company
A poll: Is it a good time to start a business? shows 69 percent of 843 voters say yes.

BNET's Big Think: Five Reasons To Start a Business Now
Also, I heard somebody say it on CNBC this morning, so it must be true, right?

What do I think? Well, assuming you've come up with a really good idea, developed a business plan, and all that good stuff, well, who the heck knows. Let's look at the pros and cons:
  • Investment capital is tight; you need to plan for a very, very long runway
  • Tough to find customers of any kind (consumers, small businesses, enterprise) with money to spend
  • Easier and cheaper to find qualified workers and talented managers; same goes for material, equipment, office and manufacturing space
  • If you've been laid off and there are no jobs, what else have you got to do?
You know, I can go on and on with the pros and cons, but let's just stop here. I've got the answer. My gut tells me that, all the complex factors notwithstanding, it's probably no better or worse a time than any other time. The answer is it depends. It depends on timing, specifically, you want the business gestation time to be long enough to intersect the economic recovery, but not so long that you run out of capital.

Look, this is actually pretty straightforward. If you've got an idea, can get your business plan ducks in a row, can find capital, and have a long enough runway to survive until customers have money to spend, then it's a good idea. If not, then it's not. But that's just me.

What do you think?