People are starting their own businesses in record numbers, creating the biggest startup business boom in decades. US Census Bureau statistics show that more than 4.4 million business applications were filed in 2020 alone—up 24 percent from 2019.
A large number of people who joined the mass exodus known as the Great Resignation have become new entrepreneurs.
If you haven’t yet joined the “Great Business Startup” of 2022 and are interested in taking charge of your future as you design your career around your life, we have some tips on how to get started.
Accessing the Support Available for Your New Venture
Congratulations, you have great timing! Sure, you may be thinking, “So many hoops to jump through and so much admin!”—and we won’t argue with you; there’s plenty of work to be done—but the truth is that delving into a startup may be easier than you think. You have support, from a lot of sources. We’ll start with the two biggies for your small business: the SBA and the Chamber of Commerce.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, the US Small Business Administration offers everything you need to get started, even funding. The organization thrives on helping small business owners pursue their startup dreams. It’s also the only cabinet-level federal agency in the country dedicated entirely to small businesses, and it offers advice and counseling, capital, and contracting expertise for small businesses nationwide.
The SBA’s most significant partner in the small business mentorship space is SCORE.
Funded and supported by the SBA, SCORE plays a significant support role for up-and-coming small business owners, partnering seasoned professionals with newbies. SCORE offers new business owners these services:
access to free, confidential, and personal business mentoring remotely or at more than 250 local chapters
- Webinars and courses on demand:
free online workshops on all topics related to small business creation
- Library of online resources:
an extensive collection of e-guides, templates, checklists, blogs, videos, infographics, and more
- Local events:
information on where to attend free or low-cost in-person workshops and roundtable discussions
Check out SCORE’s 10-step guide for more information on planning, marketing, funding, and registering your business.
Chamber of Commerce
Many people think of the Chamber of Commerce as a local networking venue for small businesses—and the sponsor of town golf tournaments and all-you-can-eat pasta dinners. That’s all true. But it’s also a jam-packed clearinghouse of resources for small business owners, providing information about all aspects of starting a business: brainstorming and writing a business plan, marketing, learning local regulations, and setting up accounting and taxation systems. Some of that doesn’t sound very exciting, but it’s what every startup founder needs to know to make sure they can make money and stay on the happy side of Uncle Sam. As the COC’s How to Start a Business website notes, the goal is to “break it down into manageable steps” and walk you through every one.
If a key part of your startup decision making is “Where?” check out the chamber’s links to state-specific information. Better yet, reach out to and join your local Chamber of Commerce. You might make some great connections who can help you to decide if your current location needs an upgrade or a cost downgrade. You might even consider geoarbitrage—running a virtual business that is not site-dependent and taking advantage of locations with lower costs of living. Hey, you’re the boss!
Finding Funding for Your New Startup
The good news about small business startups: They don’t cost as much as starting a larger corporation. The less-good news: Getting financing from banks has historically been more challenging for startup businesses. As Business News Daily’s Sean Peek notes, this is not because small business is bad business or that banks don’t want to lend to them. Rather, it’s because traditional banks use “an outdated, labor-intensive lending process and regulations that are unfavorable to local shops and small organizations.” So what’s an entrepreneur to do?
Peek advocates searching for the numerous alternative—and creative—financing options available, including community development finance institutions, angel investors, crowdsourcing, grants, microloans, and more.
Here’s where developing a solid business plan comes in. The SBA notes that providing reality-based financial projections is key to understanding how much money you’ll make and spend each month, quarter, and year. Anyone you ask for financing (yes, even your mom) will want to know that you’ve thought this through.
Getting Ready to Be Your Own Boss
If you spend some time with the SBA, SCORE, and CoC materials, you’ll learn how to put together the technical know-how for running the financial, logistical, and legal parts of your business—or whether you want to run these tasks just long enough to make enough money to outsource them.
That leads us back to the person who started all this: you. It’s quite a leap from sitting at your desk, dreaming about regaling your boss with all the stanzas of “Take This Job and Shove It,” to becoming the boss.
Running a business is about more than new ideas, shoestring budgets, and grinding through long hours running on Red Bull and Wheat Thins. Being your own boss is a mindset. If you’re researching this whole gig, you likely have at least some of the personal traits necessary to make the move from employee to employer.
In its Career Outlook on self-employment, the BLS notes some characteristics essential to self-employment success:
- Time management skills:
including being able to multitask and sometimes work long or irregular hours
- Ability to tolerate uncertainty:
for example, fluctuating cash flow and workflow
since all small businesses (even the best ones) experience setbacks and, hopefully, growing pains
Your Business Starts with You
Starting, maintaining, and growing a business is hard work. Because you are your company’s only hope for the future, don’t forget to take care of yourself first and foremost. You already know how to do that: eat healthy food, exercise, and get enough rest, taking breaks and setting limits along the way.
If you want some extra inspiration for self-care, here’s what some other successful CEOs are doing.
Yes, we said “other successful CEOs.” Good eye.
Taking these first steps to starting your business is a great foundation. They are also only the beginning of what could be a life-changing career move. If you take the leap, we wish you lots of luck and energy in your grand adventure!