Starting a new business comes with a lot of reasonable stress. The reality of kissing that trusted paycheck goodbye and embracing the unknown would be enough to hold most people back, let alone the “high failure rate” that we hear about all too often. All apprehension aside, people are up for the challenge, and taking the leap of faith more so today than at any other point in history.
Take a look at the 2016 presidential race for starters. Small business is back in the political spotlight as both candidates have in his or her own way stressed the importance of small business success, framing it as a necessary ingredient for economic growth. This surge in interest among the hopefuls, paired with a number of other noteworthy shifts, sets the stage for an exciting period to start a new venture.
Here are 5 reasons why this is the best time in history to start a business:
1. Technology to the masses
Not long ago, the best technology was reserved for big corporations simply because it was cost-prohibitive for everyone else. Today, tech has significantly evened the playing field with an increasingly wide array of highly accessible software designed specifically for smaller companies. Dropbox, for instance, gives you a safe, inexpensive way to save and share important files and documents. Invoice2go helps you track work, send professional invoices, and get paid straight after the job. Perch makes it easy to manage all your social media channels and stay up on the competition. With Join.me it’s easier than ever to hold a conference call.
2. Better, faster access to cash
There’s an exciting wave of innovation happening in the financial technology space, creating a fast-evolving selection of ways for small businesses to secure financing outside traditional bank loans.
Microlending is an increasingly common solution for new businesses in the US, and there’s a number of companies focused on making the process as simple as possible. Trustleaf.com, for example, helps you crowdsource funds from family and friends. Kickstarter, the best known crowdsourcing platform, is well known for helping people get funded for their ideas, not their trading history.
Established brands like Amazon and PayPal now offer loans to small merchants as well based on their sales and payment histories. Once you establish a track record, more options open up to you like Lending Club and Funding Circle, which serve up quicker, lower interest rate loans to small business owners.
3. Quality resources at your fingertips
One of the realities a lot of people don’t think about when starting their own business is how lonely the journey can be at times. You’re doing everything yourself, and you’re likely figuring it out as you go. The good news is, because of the explosion of self-publishing and free content, there is no shortage of resources to help you find advice, get established, and grow.
Free online courses are available for everything from general business management to marketing and operating in the digital age. Sites like Canva make it easy to create visuals so you can save on graphic design. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s website, SBA.gov, offers straightforward business advice with no agenda.
4. A hearty dose of optimism
According to a recent Invoice2go survey sent to 7500 small business owners in the US, 86 percent are feeling optimistic that their business will grow this year. Seventy four percent of those feeling optimistic believe their business will grow at a slow and steady pace, while 11 percent believe growth will occur rapidly. Whether you’re side-gigging or going full-time with a small business, the positive outlook indicates that the wheels are turning in the right direction for people running their own business.
5. The great election promise
Small businesses are firmly supported by the political agenda, as the candidates on the 2016 presidential campaign trail and beyond have recognized how important small business success is to the future of the economy. While specifics may differ, having a national conversation around how the economy can support small business through tax cuts, better access to financing and minimum wage, is positive. There is a certain sense of security as both candidates have the overall interests of small businesses owners in mind.
All these indicators aside, when all else fails, this quote from author Karen Lamb sums it up quite nicely: “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” The time is now.