If you ask most entrepreneurs when is the best time to launch they will answer, “now”. Though a quick market entry is key, forcing a launch ignores a myriad of issues, including the importance of getting the product/service right. To remind all aspiring entrepreneurs, you only get one shot at a successful launch, so speed to market isn’t the only factor involved.
Probably the best rule of thumb regarding the question of “when to launch” is to set a schedule. Even before you have finalized the idea that will become your product or service, get together with your team and create a schedule that includes all major milestones, including the launch date. While there will be opportunities that can act as catalysts to your launch, such as seasonal factors, its important to be realistic and understand – well in advance – whether your intended launch schedule can coincide with these opportunities. If not, it may affect the timing of your launch or whether you should launch at all.
Despite the fact that you will have to log years of hard work, planning and product development, there will never be a perfect time to launch. At some point you have to take a risk and throw your idea out into the world and see how the world reacts. Your success as an entrepreneur will be to manage this process and adapt your idea as the market evolves and consumers give you feedback on the real world practicality of your venture.