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An Exciting time to Start Your Own Business

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An Exciting time to Start Your Own Business

There has never been a more exciting time to start your own business! New businesses are springing up every day all across the country. Whether these new ventures are inspired by women re-entering the job market, young people starting their careers at home-based businesses, previously employed middle managers, or just regular folks looking to earn some extra cash on the side, everyone is finding themselves caught up in the entrepreneurial spirit.

What has led to this entrepreneurial boom? First, there has been a sharp increase in downsizing at both large corporations and medium-sized businesses. As you may be aware, many of the larger corporations in the United States, like IBM and General Motors, have been laying off workers in record numbers, and the end is not yet in sight. Nearly one-third of companies surveyed by major outplacement firms say they are considering cutting their work force in 1996 by as much as 30 percent.

As companies are learning to be leaner and meaner, career-minded professionals cannot expect job security the way they could in the past. In today's economy, chances are good that you will probably not stay at one company throughout your professional career. And a growing number of people feel that the best way to prevent an almost inevitable layoff is to take the skills they have and open up shop for themselves.

Changes in government programs and tax benefits for minority-owned businesses provide still more clues why entrepreneurship is on the rise. And despite affirmative action programs, it is still a statistically proven fact that there is a lack of opportunity for women and minorities within medium- to large-sized companies. Thus, thousands of women and minorities are recognizing that their earning potential is much higher "on their own" than it would be in the corporate world, and that there is no "glass ceiling" to deal with when you are your own boss. In addition, it is now easier for minorities and women to get financing to start new ventures, either through local banks or government programs.

The success rate is good for new minority and women-owned startups. In a report released in December 1995, the U.S. Census Bureau stated that women owned 34.1 percent of all non-farm businesses in 1992, and that woman-owned firms earned an average of $246,000 annually. More than 50 percent of minority-owned firms hit the million-dollar mark in sales in 1993-and nearly half of these businesses were launched at a cost of $25,000 or less.

Other population groups are jumping on the entrepreneurial bandwagon as well. Burgeoning technological advances have opened up new opportunities for the physically challenged. In the past, these people were limited in their professional choices by their physical handicaps. Affordable computers, the Internet, and greater public acceptance of home offices have opened up a wide range of opportunities for those with physical limitations, and many have launched successful ventures as a result. An exceptionally high percentage of the businesses profiled in this book are terrific opportunities for the physically or developmentally challenged to earn an income equal to that of any other working professional.

The concept of the home office continues to rise in popularity. Many entrepreneurs have even been able to start new ventures while still employed at another firm, thus increasing their capital and minimizing their day-to-day financial risk. With an answering machine, a second phone line, a computer, some letterhead, and business cards, many home-based businesses can literally run themselves while you keep your day job, leaving you to fill orders or talk to clients on your off time. A few years ago, this type of business practice would not have been considered acceptable. But now, many new businesses are getting off the ground just this way. And if you do choose to quit your day job and work at home full-time, a fax machine, modem, and Internet access can help keep you connected to the outside world during business hours, too.

All of these cultural changes working together have created an atmosphere of opportunity in the entrepreneurial environment. It's now up to you. Making the decision to be an entrepreneur was the hard part. All you have to do is choose the type of business that meets your financial, emotional, and intellectual requirements, and get going!

* Source Adams - Businesses You Can Start Almanac
              Find more business opportunities and the insight to get them
              started, in this almanac of business ideas from Adams Media.

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