I started to write a Facebook wall update earlier this week about starting a business:
“The economy may have faced challenges but it seems like a great time to start a business. I would encourage anyone who is out of work to consider pursuing your dreams, reach for the sky. There are so many great tools out there to use. If you need a nudge send me a note about your idea and I will try to….”
Then I realized that this was a great opportunity for a real article. So why is 2010 a great time to start a business? Let me share a few of my favorites:
- People are receptive to new and creative ideas.
- There are plenty of problems to solve.
- The playing field can be levelled quickly via creativity and technology.
- It’s easy and cheap to start a business.
- If you’re already out of work, why not try?
- Small businesses can respond more quickly to changes in an uncertain market.
- You’re probably going to need to earn more money to live the same lifestyle.
- It’s exciting and fun to be in business for yourself, your chance to shine.
- You can get REALLY cheap labor, especially through September.
- A business model that will work today should pay dividends for years to come.
The market for new Ideas
Lots of businesses and individuals have problems that are not being solved. They are feeling pain and that means there is opportunity. If you can find solutions to the things that are holding them back today you will have a long term customer. As these businesses improve they will feed your small business, it is possible to grow with a few choice customers for many years to come. It really doesn’t take a ton of clients. Find the pain points that you are passionate about solving. When all else fails find out what other people are saying can’t be done, and do that.
A level playing field with lots of tools
Technology is a great equalizer and it can be leveraged in almost any business. Any business can for example leverage the cheap and free web 2.0 and social media applications. With tools such as drop box you can share up to 2GB of files for free “on the cloud”. You can setup a voicemail and conference call number with drop.io for free also. With Skype you can talk to international prospects via video conference and shrink the world. With Amplify.com you can dive in, interact and share information with an astute audience. Using Facebook you can keep your family, business and friends informed about your new venture. There is really an app for just about everything these days, and most of them are free! Being creative and experimental you will find what works and does not work for you, don’t be afraid. These are days that favor the bold and creative. You don’t even need much to get started, any individual can “do business as” themselves and work out of their home, car, Starbuck’s, Peet’s and Panera Bread. Always remember the bigger your competition the slower they will be to respond and adjust, you on the other hand can be nimble and quick.
“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” ~Walt Disney
Depending on where you live un-employment is at historically high rates right now. That’s a fact but not an excuse to sit idly and not do something about it. There are huge benefits to adversity, most people would never see their potential without it. I am actually one of those people, I have set and achieved much higher expectations for myself based on the innevitable bumps and bruises that life has brought me. So ask yourself this. Would you let your current adversity go to waste or would you prefer to improve your life right now? In the future you can look back at these days and think how valuable they were to your personal and professional development. Or you can just continue to feel how you feel right now and wait for something to change. It is wonderful that we have the choice, there is only one decision that makes sense to me.
Incentives to Hire
Do you know that if you started a business today you could hire eligible employees and get 80% of their salary and payroll taxes paid through the end of September 2010? Not to mention the people you hire would be extremely grateful to join the realm of the employed. This opportunity seems to be one of the greatest hidden secrets of 2010 but it is part of the ARRA and it is conceivable that the benefit could be extended beyond the current expiration date. Check out this article I wrote on this very subject.
It boils down to choice
There are plenty of what are now probably obvious reasons why 2010 is an exceptional year to start a business. What about some of the less obvious ones? It is inevitable that more challenges will face us all in the future. There is a mounting debt to pay off, risks of inflation, and higher taxes to name a few. For that reason there has never been a better time to elevate your earning potential where you are firmly in the driver seat. Whatever you could live comfortably on in the past is probably not going to be enough in the future. This reminds me of a quote by Warren Buffet (From Facebook) in August 2009:
“The people that behaved well are no doubt going to find themselves taking care of the people who didn’t behave well…” ~Warren Buffet
So we all have a choice, we can be a part of the problem or part of the solution. As an entrepreneur you have the opportunity for an exciting, challenging ride. Believe in yourself, work hard and you will live your dreams. Expect challenges and setbacks, use them to make yourself stronger. If you ever need an extra nudge find mentors in your family, friends and business associates that you can get a nudge in the right direction. Social media is a great place to find the smiling optimists, it soon becomes evident who among your friends and peers are those tireless cheerleaders. If you lack that structure you can always respond to “I need your help, tell me how I can help you“.
“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson