The Importance of Timing

The 1 Line Description

Why timing matters so much, even if it is not always in your control.

When to use it

At all stages of your startup journey.

Key Ideas

* This article is a snippet taken directly from Andy's Blog Post titled "My Street MBA: Lessons learned from Real Time Win

* His LinkedIn Profile gives a view of his tremendous accomplishments as a serial entrepreneur.

** Thank you Andy for your willingness to share this content with the world!

Timing Is Everything

The importance of 'Timing' cannot be overstated. Even if you do everything perfectly, sometimes you have to be patient and wait for the often elusive 'right time'. During my Real Time Wine journey, my investors and I presided over 3 failed acquisition/merger opportunities. I say acquisition/merger because in reality, no-one buys a 1 man team unless the product has really shot it out of the park in terms of revenue and traction. But there are plenty of opportunities to fold that product into another stable, use it as a framework for a round of funding and crack on together with a bigger proposition.

One attempt failed due to some flip-flopping on loyalties and questionable business ethics (although you have to keep reminding yourself that you probably didn’t want to partner with anyone that had these ethics in the first place). One failed due to culture fit and timing. The final one, a promising merger even if a bit of a long shot, also failed due to timing.

Timing is never anyone’s fault. It’s just a reality. And you’ll see it in the startup space from two angles.

Firstly, timing for finding a co-founder or business partner. In my first startup at university ( – don’t go there now, very long story) I had people lining up to get involved. We were students. Our risk profiles were the same. We didn’t need a lot of money, we wanted to have fun and we had tons of energy. In fact, if I remember correctly, gAL was the subject of 5 third year theses. That was 5 people, including myself willing to put a pile of work into a project, for no monetary reward (although there was plenty of beer).

Since then, finding a co-founder has been an eternal struggle for me. I’m not sure if it’s the slightly elevated public profile – a friend calls this the “lone wolf” theory – people think you’re on a path that would never include them. That you’re Uber successful – they believe my PR! But it’s more likely risk profile. Finding someone in their mid 20’s to mid 30’s who can make enough money on the side to pay the bond and feed the kids – and still put 90% of their time into a startup is tricky. Timing!

You’ll also encounter timing on mergers, deals and sales. If the timing isn’t right between 2 businesses, that may have extremely similar needs, wants, desires and shareholder forces – it doesn’t matter how sexy the deal may be, it’s unlikely to happen.

I’ve come to learn that deals require both momentum and hunger from both sides. Sure, every now and again you’ll find an exception. But I’ve rarely seen something happen where one side is chasing harder than the other. Unless it’s our good friend Timing at play again. I’ve definitely made some sales in my life where the initial chat and the actual sale were years apart. Having the tenacity to survive the ups and downs of timing is an important characteristic of entrepreneurs.

There’s not much you can do about timing – it’s the 'luck' portion of starting a business. Just keep having conversations - as many of them as possible. Be brave. I’m certainly going to be using the phrase “We should look at working together” a lot more in the next phase of my career.