Yes, you can start a company, regardless of financial crisis and a down stock market. Unless your business plan is based on profits on stocks going up, subprime mortgages or something similar, if you have something that people want to buy, then start whenever it’s best for you, not whenever the economy is best.

Here are three rules to help you break that into specifics, accommodate changing economic conditions, but still move forward.

1. Plan more carefully.

Look again at your sales forecast, the direct costs and the expenses, and make sure you’ve reviewed those projections in light of the recession. Business doesn’t stop, startups still happen, life goes on. Just give your numbers a closer look. Do a reality check.

2. Scale down and focus.

I look at a lot of startups and most of them are trying to do too much for too broad an audience. That’s with or without a recession, just as a matter of course. We all try to do too much. Don’t. Give yourself a break. Narrow your focus down to the core elements so you can do that well. Don’t try to please everybody. Please your best customers or your best potential customers. Do what you’re sure is going to work best, not what you’re just testing.

3. Finance it with sales.

The best financing is customers. Can you get some early orders, maybe with prototypes? Can you get a module of it up and running to help finance the rest? Maybe you can test the waters by giving your most favored customer group an early view and a big discount for pre-opening sales. Think about it; it’s not possible for all startups, but it works for some of them.

So enough already about the recession. Yes, it’s true. Deal with it.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.