You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Why Now Is the Best Time to Start Your Own Business The rebounding economy, low interest rates, less expensive technology and the state of regulation are all fair winds blowing in favor of new small-business owners.

By Cindy Yang

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Those of us who came of age during the 2008 financial crisis -- which saw companies large and small shed nearly 9 million jobs -- want control over our financial fate.

Today's opportunities have created a new lifestyle around employment. The emotional link that tethered workers to brand-name employers is dissipating as a new generation of entrepreneurs look to make their own brands -- from a one-person band to a startup looking to disrupt entire industries.

One thing is clear: Whether it's a startup like Uber or a new dry cleaner down the street, small to midsize businesses drive the nation's economy

Related: Avoid These 3 Big Mistakes I Made as a First-Time Entrepreneur

Here are a few reasons why now is the best time to start your own business:

Tech levels the playing field.

Cheaper, better technology has enabled the rise of small-business owners by dropping barriers to entry, speeding distribution channels and lowering overhead. This is the case no matter where you set up shop –from Silicon Valley to Main Street America. The rise of the sharing economy, the growth of smartphone use and the accompanying app explosion have combined to drop the cost of budgeting, tracking sales, human resources and about any other business service you can name.

Despite an employment rebound — last year, the U.S. economy regained the 8.7 million jobs lost in the financial crisis — the number of "solopreneurs" rose 12.5 percent from 2011, according to a study by MBO Partners, a business services company. By 2019, the number of people who derive all or part of their income from independent work will grow "from 30 million today to nearly 40 million," MBO Partners projects.

Tide is turning on credit.

One challenge that has dogged small businesses since the downturn is access to credit. Small-business loans are still down 20 percent compared with pre-crisis levels, a Harvard University study shows. Failures of community banks, a traditional source of small-business loans, have exacerbated the recovery in lending. But there are signs of change.

Related: Is Declining Business Failure Holding Back Entrepreneurship?

"Things are getting better for businesses to get loans," Craig W. Smalley, a financial advisor for small businesses, recently told NerdWallet. "After 2008, it was hard to get loans and hard to do anything, but in the last six months, I've seen things loosening up. I think one reason is lenders now have more competition with crowdfunding."

Crowdfunding, through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, came of age in 2014, growing into a $5.1 billion business in the U.S. Peer-to-peer financing giant Lending Club, fresh from a $1 billion IPO, is aggressively moving into small-business loans.

Another factor is the rise of online alternative lenders that are making it easier for small businesses to borrow money. Square -- the payments startup that is putting credit card readers at mom-and-pop stores and farmers markets around the country -- now is lending cash to businesses that use their system. OnDeck and Fundation are just two of the nontraditional lenders that focus on small-business loans.

"From a small-business owner's perspective, that there are alternative financing companies focusing on this space is very good news," Mark Palmer, an analyst at financial services firm BTIG, told NerdWallet. "New business models like the Lending Club are trying to find those gaps in the finance ecosystem (that are) underserved, and this is certainly one of them."

Meanwhile, the federal government is stepping up efforts to ease small-business credit woes by expanding access to U.S.-backed loan guarantees. All of these signs point toward a parting of the clouds that enveloped small-business finance.

The economy is back.

Unemployment is at pre-2008 levels, inflation is low, stocks have hit record highs and the U.S. economy is growing. The result? The number of new business starts is declining, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. In 2013, an average of 0.28 percent of adults created a new business compared with 0.32 percent of adults who did so in 2011. (Note: These figures don't include casual or part-time self-employment.)

What a thriving economy means for new business owners is less competition and a better financial climate. This environment allows entrepreneurs to start a business for the right reasons: Because they want to fulfill a dream, not because they've been laid off and are scrambling for an income.

The economy is back. Naysayers warn that the U.S. may be overdue for a recession, but there are few storm clouds in sight. The economic winds are blowing favorably, with calm seas and clear lines toward the horizon. There's never been finer weather to launch your new venture.

The rebounding economy, low interest rates, less expensive technology and the state of regulation are all fair winds blowing in favor of new small-business owners. In short, there's never been a better time in America to go out on your own.

Related: 7 Critical Questions to Contemplate Before You Become an Entrepreneur

Cindy Yang

Head of Small-Business Group for NerdWallet

Cindy Yang is head of the small-business group for NerdWallet, a personal finance startup. A former Goldman Sachs investment banking analyst, Yang teaches marketing for small-business owners at the San Francisco office of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Grab Microsoft Project Professional 2021 for $20 During This Flash Sale

This small investment is well worth the time it will save your team in organizing and monitoring project work.

Business News

James Clear Explains Why the 'Two Minute Rule' Is the Key to Long-Term Habit Building

The hardest step is usually the first one, he says. So make it short.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Data & Recovery

This File Backup Tool Subscription Is $25 for Life for One Week Only

AOEMI Backupper Professional is designed to protect, store, and transfer user's files for them.

Business News

Microsoft's New AI Can Make Photographs Sing and Talk — and It Already Has the Mona Lisa Lip-Syncing

The VASA-1 AI model was not trained on the Mona Lisa but could animate it anyway.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.