The importance of timing

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The importance of timing

Timing is everything. You’ve likely heard this said many times before, but a clear explanation of why is rarely forthcoming. And, since timing is so important, how can you identify and take advantage of good timing?

New opportunities typically arise because of new innovation that either inspires or enables others to enter a market. With the web in particular, the enabler is typically a new platform that brings people together and makes it possible for entrepreneurs to monetize those crowds. For example, introduced Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising in 1998, which led to an explosion of e-commerce activity. In 2003 Google AdSense brought about an explosion of ad-driven content websites and blogs. In 2007, Facebook created a platform for social apps and companies like Xynga were born. And in 2008, Apple introduced the app store for the iPhone, and Google followed shortly after with the Android store.

If you are an online entrepreneur, this gives you some idea of where to look, but the opportunities do not last forever. Shortly after Overture launched its paid search platform, Google launched AdWords and brought paid search to the mainstream, and the demand for this service grew quickly. Those who arrived early were able to buy traffic for pennies on the proverbial dollar and had a significant opportunity to build a new business. Competition in the AdWords auctions rose quickly however, and it wasn’t long before the costs of traffic exceeded the profit margins for many small businesses.

As for Apple’s app store, there was a clear opportunity for those who were early to provide the interactive content the market was demanding, but within only a couple years the app store had already become congested with excess content and discovery of new apps quickly became a problem for those who were not already established or who were not providing the very best and most popular content. Today, more than 700,000 apps are available in the app store and 50 percent of the revenue is generated by only 25 developers.

The Internet is unique in its ability to proliferate so many new product platforms and ecosystems so quickly, yet those opportunities are equally fleeting. Each of the platforms mentioned has gone from brand new innovation to a mature market that is difficult for new startups to enter, within just four to five years, suggesting the opportunities online move quickly and startups must be able enter the market and scale quickly, if they are to remain in the market for the long term. After all, once the market is mature, the cost of participating will be significantly higher than in the beginning, and only those who have secured the best sourcing, best talent, and distribution options, will have deep enough profit margins to participate.

To illustrate the significance of entering a market early, consider the Innovation Adoption Curve that was introduced by Everett Rogers in 1962. In this model, Rogers describes how the market slowly uptakes new innovation in the beginning but quickly accelerates towards a peak which marks maximum competition, before eventually decelerating once market consolidation sets in. If we assume the entire process of market uptake takes 10 years, that would be consistent with the observation that many of these online platforms go from new opportunity to saturated within four to five years.

In response to this challenge, a young startup might be inclined to be as early as possible in catching an opportunity. This works sometimes, but is not without it’s own risk. Sometimes the great new innovation or platform your betting on never takes off, and if you’re a young startup with limited resources, that can represent a substantial risk. It is also interesting to note that many successful companies were not the first to enter their market either – they’re often “fast followers” who were able to enter the market soon after someone else validated it, thereby avoiding R&D cost and the risk of non-adoption. This is the case for almost every major innovation in Silicon Valley: Google didn’t invent the search engine, Facebook didn’t invent the social network, and Yelp didn’t invent online reviews.

In 1991, Geoffrey Moore added to the Adoption Cure by identifying what he believed was the perfect time to enter a market, something he called the Chasm. He concluded that entering at the cusp of early adoption and early majority was ideal, because the market was sufficiently proven to reduce the risk of investment, but still provided the opportunity to scale sufficiently before consolidation set in on the back half of the curve. If applied to the online platform opportunities, that means we need to watch new emerging platforms closely and if they appear to be gaining traction, then you need to enter those markets within the next 1-2 years after its introduction.

At the end of the day, timing is merely a function of finding the right balance between supply and demand and these are merely techniques for accomplishing that goal. You need to find the sweet spot when demand exceeds supply to make your job easier and provide the runway you’ll need to take off, before a market consolidates. You can afford to get a lot of other things wrong if you get your timing right.

The Importance Of Timing And How I F*cked It Up

Over the past 2 years, I’ve been making decisions that put my goals ahead of everything and more recently I’ve discovered the importance of timing.

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More recently, I made the decision to quit my job and chase these goals.

At the beginning of 2020, I left my job, focused on my goals, travelled around Thailand for 1 month while trying to run a business and keep up a blog.

Despite what you might think it was a big mistake.

Not the travelling or the memories I created but the idea that if I left my job I would have more time to focus on my goals, which would mean I would reach them quicker.

Because I was wrong.

I don’t regret doing it. Not one bit but I do understand why it was the wrong choice and throughout this post, I’ll explain why. So you will have the tools to make the right choice when the opportunity arises.

A Bit Of Background

For those of you who are new to my story, here’s a quick overview.

At the beginning of 2020, I started a new business which was basically a social media platform for travellers and I also started this new blog, around the same time.

Throughout 2020, I worked extremely hard on both and they were both going well.

This was all while I was working full time. I was in a great place. I worked on my business and blog at night and my job during the day.

In January 2020, I made the decision to leave my job and pursue my business and blog. I thought that it was the right choice because I would have more time to work on both and, in my head, this meant more progress.

So I left my job and worked on my other ventures, while also travelling.

I Have A New Job

To help paint the picture, I now have a new job.

This is important to note as it shows you just how much of a mistake I really made.

It’s a great job and is a place I really fit in.

My job search started when I was in Thailand and realized that I needed to get back into something that kept me busy.

My job search only lasted 2 weeks as I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

4 months ago, I preached how you should leave your job to chase your goals, now I’m telling you to still do that but to pick the right time.

The Importance Of Timing

That’s how I realized the importance of timing.

When I was working full time, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to spend on my business or my blog.

I was working from about 8:30 am — 5:00 pm and with travel time, meals and getting ready in the morning, it really only left about 5 or 6 hours at night during the weekday to get anything done. In saying that, I did leave my weekends completely free to work on my goals. An extra 48 hours if I could pull all-nighters.

But with the 5 -6 hours on weekdays, it meant that I was having to fit a lot of stuff into a small amount of time.

Writing blog posts, up keeping my personal brand on social media pages, building a business for travellers and managing them all so both were growing.

Which I got really good at and enjoyed always being busy.

Always making progress.

But then along came a choice. A hard choice.

I could either leave my job and find a new one or leave my job and focus on my goals.

Staying at the job was not an option.

After a few days of thinking, I had made my decision.

A lot of you reading this are probably wanting to congratulate my choice.

I took on a huge risk for the things I was passionate about.

You Can Have TOO Much Time

It became very obvious to me that you can have too much time. Most people are in a situation where they don’t have enough time, well I had too much of it.

When I quit my job, I was still doing the same amount of stuff but with triple the amount of time. Sure, I could have done more and I look back now at all the things I could have done but, at the time, I didn’t know. I hadn’t figured it all out.

All of a sudden blog posts that normally take me a couple of hours were taking me upwards of 5–6 hours or my usual Medium comments were taking triple the amount of time they used to take me.

I was in a position where I could procrastinate, so I did. Whereas when I was working full time, I had to hustle. I had to work hard constantly and because of this, I was seeing some serious progress.

But when I quit my job I started to go backwards. I started to actually lose momentum.

With all this new time, there was no sense of urgency. No passion and I was falling quickly.

You have to pick the time you’re going to focus on your goals. A lot of the motivational blog ‘s and speakers out there preach that you should quit your job regardless and chase your goals. Which just doesn’t work.

You have to pick your timing and you need to be certain that you can use that extra time to your advantage. Don’t just think you can. Know exactly how you’re going to do it.

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The Importance of Timing in Leadership

Holding meetings to provide information as needed relies on good timing.

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  • 1 Efficiency Improvement for Team Members
  • 2 Difference Between Situational Leadership & Path Leadership Theories
  • 3 When a Manager Should Give Praise & Give Punishment
  • 4 The Criteria for Picking a Leader

Timing is critical for business leaders. Managers and informal company leaders affect employee morale and company success depending on what they decide and when they act on or communicate those decisions. Some matters are urgent and others require patience. Effective managers learn how to time their actions depending on the situation.


One role of an organizational leader is to develop and communicate a vision for his company or department. This long-term vision helps with the development of shorter-term goals, milestones, strategies and tasks. On one hand, leaders must be forward thinkers and envision the big picture long before it plays out. But they also have to consider when to convey their vision to other company leaders and employees. Some information requires secrecy for competitive reasons, such as new product directions, while other tasks need to begin immediately to keep goals on track.


The timing of communicating feedback is a daily consideration for leaders in a business. When an employee makes a good choice or executes a task successfully, the leader has an opening to offer praise. After a mistake or poor decision, the leader has a need to deliver corrective feedback. In either case, more immediate responses are preferable, as this makes it easier for the employee to connect the response to the right or wrong behavior.


Some studies have actually centered on the timing of leadership in group settings. A Bowling Green University study of team leader involvement in group decisions revealed interesting results on leader responses to problems. The study had one leader offer immediate ideas when asked by his team for help. The other leader delayed his response, leaving the team to continue. The study showed that the group that didn’t get immediate help continued to brainstorm and work through alternatives to problem resolution. The implication was that team leaders need to allow workers appropriate opportunities for group sufficiency before getting involved.

Opportunities and Threats

Leaders need to have a virtual crystal ball to see business opportunities and threats before they are obvious. Businesses routinely use a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities) analysis to examine their current situation and future projections. Assessing opportunities and threats helps identify ways to grow a business and threats to its success. Good timing includes intuitively sensing when new markets or technologies can give your business an advantage. It also means recognizing environmental concerns, regulations or societal movements that could harm your business if you don’t act in time to deal with or counter them.

References (3)

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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