It’s difficult to imagine the 2008 financial crisis happening all over again, but it’s definitely a possibility. For anyone considering starting a business, that possibility — no matter how small — can be utterly terrifying. Will you fail? More importantly, is it even the right time to take risks?
These are all valid concerns, but the fact of the matter is that today’s market is completely different from the one that existed in 2008. Heck, today’s market is even different than the one that existed just a couple of years ago. Now is as great a time as any to start up a business. Some may even say now is the best time to start one.
Modern Tech Puts Everyone on Equal Footing
In the past, big business was very much separate from small business. You had your big corporate companies and conglomerates, and your little mom-and-pop operations. There were some businesses in between, but the spectrum was mostly reserved to the extremes.
Essentially, that’s no longer the case. No, we’re not saying small and big businesses don’t exist anymore. What we’re trying to explain is how modern technology has put small businesses on an equal footing with big businesses.
A small marketing team could never hope to compete with that of a large company — at least, not until recently. Thanks to cloud computing, big data, analytics and a variety of smart tools, a small marketing team can now make a huge impact in the current landscape.
From web hosting to competitive analytics platforms, every business owner has more opportunities and options at their fingertips than ever before. These tools pretty much level out the playing field and make it more possible than ever to succeed.
Credit and Finances Are Improving
Unless you have a ridiculous amount of money stored away, or you’ve secured some dependable stakeholders already, you’re going to need funds to get up and running. Years ago, loans were nearly impossible to achieve, let alone qualify for. That’s no longer the case in today’s market, however, and finances seem to be improving for nearly everyone.
With business owners are more likely to qualify for a line of credit, there are many more opportunities for growth and development. But even more surprising is the fact that the market is completely different now. There are many more ways to secure funding for your business, and not all of them have to do with taking out a loan or using your personal credit.
For instance, crowdfunding through platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo allow you to launch a business campaign and secure funds directly from the audience you’re trying to market to.
Square is another example of a business tool for startups. It’s a financial payment system — with a free card reader — that allows business owners to accept credit and debit cards. You’ll see it used a lot at trade fairs, live events and on food trucks. The potential of this platform, however, allows nearly any business or individual to charge for their services and products.
Welcome to the Gig Economy
The term “gig economy” pops up often in conversations about the current state of the market. It describes the freelance and individual careers and opportunities many professionals have created for themselves by accepting a variety of “gigs” as collective work. Most businesses hire these individuals through contract and short-term opportunities.
According to Intuit, “gig” workers currently make up about 34 percent of the current workforce. That number is expected to grow to 43 percent by 2020.
The Internet is the main reason for the gig economy’s emergence, as it allows people to telecommute or work from remote locations, yet still contribute and communicate as if they are right next to one another. As a business owner, this makes the potential of hiring a talented and diverse workforce more possible and more welcoming.
Better Tax Support
After the Great Recession, the government and financial agencies had to do something to entice people to re-enter the market. As a result, they came up with a variety of tax credits and incentives for anyone starting a business or making various investments in the modern market. There are many federal, state and local programs that offer tax credits and capital for starting a business. You just have to know where to look.
There’s even tax support if you decide to outsource work to other countries or take advantage of the limitations they impose.
Success Means Giving Back
Many venerable companies have been scaling back or closing down, including brands like Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us, Macy’s and even Walmart. This phenomenon is because conventional and traditional retailers are having a hard time keeping up with the current state of the market. You need to understand consumers now have the power, and that’s how they like it. Thanks to mobile devices, they can interact, engage, shop and even conduct research on the fly, from anywhere, anytime. The goal is not to put yourself in front of them and frantically start waving your arms, but instead to let them come to you.
This situation makes for a very different market, and one you’ll need to adapt to. Small businesses and major companies alike are learning to give back to their customers through things like content marketing, guides and tutorials, video content and much more. They are essentially educating their customers, sharing their expertise, and helping them build and have better experiences.
Home Depot, for instance, is thriving in the current market. Part of this is because they chose to offer in-store workshops and DIY content through online guides. As a result, their customers are now more empowered than ever before.