You've considered running a business but keep wondering whether conditions are right to support your winning idea. Or perhaps you have been dabbling with something on the side and can't yet convince yourself that it's the right time to take the leap from safety.
There's always risk in starting a business. But the present is a great time to do so. Here are 10 reasons to start your next act and become an entrepreneur now.
1. Technology has become your pal.
A modern business needs technology. Even if you're not creating the next hit app, you'll want customer relationship management, accounting, website, and email hosting, and possibly design software, or other tools. Cloud computing lets you get needed services on a monthly basis without laying out too much cash at the start. Also, hardware is relatively cheap, so getting an upgraded PC or tablet won't cost a body part or two.
2. Your current job isn't a path to happiness.
Having a career is a fine goal. But placing faith in a job as a way to advance is a poor strategy. As someone recently pointed out, mediocre bosses typically get ahead in corporations, because they are the most likely to make "safe" choices. When you work for such a boss and company, you won't get a chance to shine, either, or learn what you need to grow.
3. Entrepreneurship has been on the decline.
As researchers at the Brookings Institution have shown, entrepreneurship has been on a decline in this country for decades. The rate at which new businesses start has fallen below the rate at which they close. The reason isn't exactly clear, but it doesn't have to be. Fewer startups mean less competition for money, people, attention, and customers.
4. Competitors are your friends.
Even though potential competition has dropped, it hasn't gone away. But that's no matter, either. Competitors help create and enlarge markets, acting as a marketing multiplier and giving credibility to an endeavor. In addition, you can make competitors work for you. Welcome them.
5. You don't have to risk it all.
Worry about risking it all is understandable, particularly if you have people who depend on your ability to bring home a paycheck. But there's no reason to jump into the deep end of the business pool if you don't have the resources for such a gamble. Start your business on the side. Given how so much in communications and human interaction now happens online, it's easier than ever to get a part-time venture going, find a market, close business, and get paid.
6. You're no longer a sitting duck.
The flip side of entrepreneurial risk is the chance you take working for a corporation. When things get bad--and they can, without any notice--companies often downsize. Too often someone with more experience gets booted out the door to be replaced by someone cheaper because a bean-counter assumes that everyone is completely interchangeable. Or maybe you'll hear that the company has reduced benefits or moved your office to another state. At least start developing your business on the side, so that you have some options if things turn sour and you become part of this season's staff reductions.
7. Globalization is your secret friend.
Globalization has been brutal on millions of people who became sitting ducks when their jobs were shipped overseas. And yet, the trend does have its upside for businesses of all sizes. There are new sources of products, components, engineering, design, and other resources at lower prices than in the U.S. Also, there are new markets that offer fresh opportunities.
8. You can find lots of help.
All those talented and experienced people who now have no jobs because they were sitting ducks have found that new job creation has mostly been in low-paying sectors. That means there are enormous personnel resources waiting for a reasonable opportunity. If you need talent, you can find it.
9. You're on the right side of regulation.
Executives love to bemoan how regulations are "killing" them, even as profits and revenue climb every year. Yes, let the tears flow. The good thing for your startup is that it's much smaller than the cut-off for many regulations, so you can operate more freely than larger competitors. Another obstacle for entrepreneurs, the need for health insurance, can keep aspiring entrepreneurs tethered to a corporate desk. Thanks to the ACA, or Obamacare (or whatever you want to call it), now you can get insurance without worry about pre-existing conditions. Paying the entire insurance bill isn't cheap, but you have far more flexibility now.
10. Waiting won't help
The biggest reason that now is the right time is that later almost never is. You can wait yourself into old age and regret, but you don't need to. Even if your business doesn't work, it won't be the end of your life. Many entrepreneurs go through multiple businesses before they find the one that works for them. In the words of playwright Samuel Beckett: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." But do it now.