The main things are to make sure you are running at least version 1.0, and make sure you compiled with optimization on, debugging turned off, and the shared memory and X shared memory options tuned on.
Or, buy a faster system with more memory. 8^)
If it's still too slow for you, the easiest speedup is to invoke the GIMP with the "--no-data" option. This prevents the GIMP from loading patterns, brushes, and similar resources when it starts. You may benefit slightly from the "--no-splash" option as well; you might want to time that one to see if it really helps enough to be worthwhile.
On a Dell 100MHz 486 server box, the GIMP comes up in the following times: Command Time gimp 18 seconds gimp --no-data 11 seconds gimp --no-data --no-splash 8 seconds gimp --no-splash 16 seconds
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