Is this the right time?

ESOPs can be implemented anytime whether you are a startup, growth stage or an established company. The ideal time to roll out is prior to some major Capital raising events such as placement of Equity with a PE/ VC or strategic investor or before the IPO- i.e. a market driven price discovery happens. In the absence of such events, ESOPs can also be rolled out when there is some visibility of providing liquidity to employees.