In these dog days of summer I begin thinking about relationships on the rebound  


I'm not sure why rebounds are on my mind. Maybe I once finished a relationship in August once so it could be that this weather brought back some vague memories? But for whatever reason, I began thinking about starting a business in a recession and why you shouldn't leap into any business on the rebound.

Perhaps you just got fired (it's happened to us all) or your company folded or laid off a lot of people. Or you just feel that it's now or never. One way or the other, there's an understandable tendency to panic, and to jump right into looking for another job and/or starting a business. It's certainly the way I began my first "serious" business - in a state of sheer panic.

But be careful if you do this. Like the relationship on the rebound it may lead to all sorts of poor decisions. If you leap straight into a new business you'll tend to:

  • Build the business around what you already know.
  • Build it around what you already do.
  • Try to set it up in a way that's familiar and easy to manage.
  • Do things in a way that feels safe.

Now those things aren't bad. But they may not be optimal. When I began my first full-time business (a multimedia consultancy) I did it so that it looked like my former job in miniature. But now, looking back, I realise I would have done better to have stepped back and considered some slightly different approaches and tactics. Long-term, that would have worked much better and I would have left myself much more free to respond to the rapid changes in that field.

With Baba Studio, it was quite different. We took time - maybe too much time - and gradually felt our way, trying out different products and ways of working. As a result, it's nothing like anything I've done before (well, okay not since my teens - I was designing and making clothes for London boutiques from the age of 15 during my school holidays) and it feels both more solid and more fun than a more familiar business "in my specialist field" (which was in fact web/internet consulting) could ever have been.

So, you're about to be forced into starting a business because other things aren't working out. And you want to tell your friends that it's all up and running and you want to sound sure and focused and confident. Fine - tell people whatever reassures them. But privately, make yourself some time and space to think about broad possibilities - and leave your options flexible. You'll find that over the first year or two you may see all sorts of new directions opening up and you'll find the business that's right for you, rather than the one you grabbed in a rebound.