1. The economy is picking up, and there’s pent-up demand from consumers, as Omar Soliman notices at his spinoff company College Hunks Moving, which benefits from the improving real estate market.
2. Crowdfunding provides another means of financing. Crowdfunding lets you ask the public for money for your small business or project via sites such as Kickstarter.com, PeopleFund.it, RocketHub.com, Indiegogo.com and Smallknot.com. More crowdfunding avenues are expected to emerge when President Obama’s JOBS Act is fully implemented; it loosens restrictions on small businesses raising money and going public, while making it possible for “ordinary Americans to go online and invest in the startups and small businesses they believe in through crowdfunding platforms,” Obama said in a proclamation. Examples of current successes: Cake Notice in Greenville, S.C., raised more than $2,500 via Smallknot to build out a bigger retail space within its cake shop, and nearly $20,000 was pledged via Smallknot to redo the commercial kitchen at Brooklyn’s Ted & Honey Café, which was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
3. Incentives. Obama has signed 18 tax cuts for small businesses.
4. Resources abound, so you don’t have to do it all on your own. The Kauffman Foundation offers programs such as Startup Weekend and FastTrac (FastTrac.org) to help you go from the idea stage to an actual business. FastTrac says it has helped 350,000-plus entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses by providing practical hands-on business development programs tailored to different groups, including baby boomers, veterans, tech ventures or anyone starting out. Among other helpful resources: USsourcelink.com calls itself America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs. When Jenny Fulton sought to start Miss Jenny’s Pickles, she first turned to a local office of the national Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). “After they stopped laughing at us,” Fulton recalls, “they began to point us in the right direction and were instrumental in helping us start a small business.”
5. More new support to get you started. You already know about turning to the Small Business Administration for advice from its website and Small Business Development Centers, but here’s what is new: Its Startup America initiative is committing $2 billion as a match to private-sector investment in promising high-growth companies. Among other newer sources of help: Startup America Partnership has made more than $1 billion in business services available to a national network expected to serve tens of thousands of startups, as Obama noted in a 2012 proclamation.
6. Lots of freelancers are out there eager to do contract work for you. Or maybe you want to join them. One in three U.S. workers is a freelancer, according to the national Freelancers Union. Says founder Sara Horowitz: “We’re the future of the economy.”
7. You can think globally, not just locally. More and more business owners and entrepreneurs are looking at what they can do to export their goods and services, just as North Carolina-made Miss Jenny’s Pickles now are sold in China. “The world is getting smaller,” says Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. The nation’s push for greater exports is making it easier for small- and midsized-business owners to sell abroad.
8. You’re needed! Small business ownership is the backbone of the U.S. economy. Says Obama: “New businesses created by entrepreneurs are responsible for most of the new jobs in our country.”