By Larry Alton
Have you been on the fence about starting your own company ever since the economy tanked? That was almost six years ago, so it’s time to get on board. Yes, when layoffs were rampant it was “easy” for some entrepreneur wannabes to start their own business because they had no other choice. However, the economy is in better shape now and there are more resources than ever for getting support for your business. Is 2015 your year to shine?
All signs point to yes. There are many tips out there for actually starting your business, starting with Entrepreneur’s impressive list, but how do you know you’re ready to take that first step? Here are a few signs that you have what it takes to beat the odds and make a small business flourish next year:
1. You have at least a year’s income saved
One year (or more) of savings is an ideal situation, but you might be able to swing it with six months. You’ll never feel like you have “enough” saved, but six months to a year is a good starting point. Check out Money Crashers for tips to increase your frugality, and remember that even when you’re not saving for something specific, being frugal is a great lifestyle to embrace.
2. The economy is getting healthier
Just like with saving money, there’s never a perfect time in the economy to start your business (well, there is, but you can only identify it in hindsight). Reality check: There were startups that thrived in 2009 when the economy was drowning. However, right now there’s an upward swing and that means investors, workers and potential partners are in good spirits. Buy low and sell high also works as “start a business on the climb up, weather the storm on the way down.”
3. The funding options are endless
There was a time when your only hope of getting capital was from a traditional bank loan or a shark-like investor. Take a look at the best crowdfunding sites dished up by Forbes, or do your own research and consider kickstarters, asking family and friends for loans, and of course investing in yourself.
4. It’s the era of mobile readiness
For the tech savvy entrepreneurs, mobile readiness has finally arrived and (hopefully) you’re eager to get on board. Some search engine optimization (SEO) specialists have also started preaching about the importance of optimizing for Amazon (which you may be planning to sell goods on). With the digital era in full swing, that’s a sign for techies that their skills are a perfect match for their business prowess.
5. You’re sick of the nine to five
Are you jealous of your friends who get to work from home, or that acquaintance who really does earn six figures working from their home office? More and more employers are starting to realize the benefits of virtual offices, but it can’t come fast enough. If you’re an A-type personality who would do great at working for yourself and from home, it’s time to opt out of the daily grind. The landscape of “the office” has changed, so don’t get left in the dust.
6. You don’t need as much “startup” as you used to
If you can’t afford to rent commercial space, buy office furniture, and basically spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to give your business a try, you don’t have to. Startups are moving out of Silicon Valley and embracing a money-saving approach to business.
The upcoming year is brimming with possibilities, but it’s up to you to take that leap. At the very least, commit yourself to saving a certain amount so that by the time next year’s holiday rolls around, you’ll be ready and waiting