Can You Really Start a Business in Three Weeks?

Yes, you can. Maybe not all businesses. Maybe not any business. Some businesses, though, can start in three weeks. My first business started the day a former client called and asked my to do a market study in Venezuela. That changed things from one day to the next.

That’s a true story. If you’re curious, I posted that one a few months ago on this blog as The First Day of a New Business.  That’s one example. There are millions.

There are 21 million companies in the United States without employees. I wonder how many of them started up in 3 weeks or less.

A 2006 study sponsored by Wells Fargo and Conducted by Gallup found that the average startup cost was about $10,000. I wonder how many of those started in three weeks or less.

It would be easier to count the businesses that can’t start in three weeks, because there are a lot fewer of them.

  • You can’t do it in three weeks if you have to raise significant money to start with. I have indications that angel investors financed about 60,000 new businesses in the United States last year, and venture capital investors are doing about 2,500 deals per year. That’s a very fine stratum at the top of the new business picture, a small percentage of the 800,000 or so new businesses started in an average year.
  • You can’t do it if you have to wait longer than three weeks for a bank loan. Some bank loans can take less than three weeks. That’s more likely if you’re borrowing off an established and solid asset, like your house equity (if it is solid and established, and not a victim of the sub-prime mess).
  • You can’t do it in three weeks if you have to establish a location, build a team from scratch, manage prototypes, prove your viability. All those are among other reasons.

Even in those cases, however, you can play with the definitions. You can call it starting in three weeks if you get the team together, the basic idea settled, the first legal steps taken, and you start the search for the location and start the search for funding.

Why do I care? That’s a reasonable question. Yesterday Sabrina Parsons and I finished our compete draft of a book called "Start Your Business in Three Weeks," to be published by Entrepreneur Press next fall.

That was the second book draft I’ve sent to Entrepreneur in two months, and the last for a long time. Of course I/we didn’t write them that fast, they were both a long time coming. That’s what happens, I guess, when you name a new CEO for a company and task its long-time president with blogging writing, teaching, and speaking.

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