Empowering technology, access to financing, and low-start-up costs facilitate new business starts
We are living in the era of the entrepreneur.
Interest in starting and running a small business is the Zeitgeist of the new millennium. Everywhere you turn it seems more and more people are starting a small business – or at least thinking about it.
Here in North America, popular television shows like Dragons’ Den, Shark Tank and Silicon Valley provide dramatic and entertaining insight into the start-up process, serving to encourage people to take the jump. In the news, one-time start-ups like Canada’s own Hootsuite, Freshii, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK get well deserved media attention because people love a good success story. And brands everywhere are marketing to small business owners through both online and traditional media, bringing to our attention to the many products and services available to assist entrepreneurs.
- According to Statistics Canada, there are over 2.7 million self-employed people in this country.
And, in every family, there’s an entrepreneur or two who gets us thinking we could do the same thing – be it an uncle who starts a restaurant, or a cousin doing well-paid consulting work.
Clearly, the idea of being an entrepreneur is part of our societal fabric. But what exactly enables aspiring entrepreneurs to begin? Here are a few factors at play that are facilitating starting-up.
Easy, empowering technology
Powerful, affordable, and easy-to-use technology facilitates starting up.
Take a smartphone, for example. In addition to storing data, a smartphone gives an entrepreneur multiple options for communicating with customers, prospects and suppliers via text, email, or good old-fashioned voice calling. Go online through the device and marketing platforms become available, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Years ago a local small business was confined to doing business in its local market. The Internet, of course, has changed all of that.
Today it doesn’t matter where an entrepreneur chooses to live or set up shop: he or she can do business pretty much anywhere in the world via the Internet. It has opened up faraway markets previously unavailable to micro-businesses – customers in New Zealand can shop products or services on a website just as easily as Canadians.
Online applications are powering small businesses too, providing entrepreneurs with ready-to-go business solutions without incurring development costs. PayPal, for example, makes it possible for a start-up to instantly begin accepting credit card payments from customers. That’s a huge convenience for any new business owner.
Business expenses are minimal
It doesn’t take much money to launch a micro business. Thanks to affordable technology and anywhere access to the Internet, most service-based start-ups can get going with just a laptop computer, mobile phone, and a website. For a few dollars a month, a new business owner can open a business bank account, subscribe to bookkeeping software, and sign up for an affordable business data plan.
- Designing a logo and ordering business cards can be done for less than $100
Access to cash
An increase in the number of small business owners worldwide has pushed traditional lenders to embrace the start-up customer. Banks and credit unions today are clamouring over each other to secure the business of small businesses, offering reasonable rates and flexible lending criteria for commercial bank accounts, credit cards, and lines of credit. Online lenders such as Kabbage.com in the United States are also picking up steam by offering quick approvals on micro-loans.
An attractive lifestyle
If someone with a job knows someone who is self-employed, that person might admit to envying the entrepreneur's boss-less freedom and schedule flexibility. While the hours worked by an entrepreneur may be long, the joy comes from being able to control that time.
Just take the leap
Given the ease of access to these and other helpful resources, the barriers that may be holding you back from starting a business may be all in your head. The evidence suggests that everything else you need to get going is available to you.
- Entrepreneurship Expert Roger Pierce talks about the issues associated with starting and running a new business.
[Image courtesy of Flickr]