20 Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb and Have Fun with Your StartupFor many people, owning their own business is a dream they’d really like to make into reality—sometimes, all that is needed is a little more information. We’re halfway through 2014, but there is still time to get the ball rolling. If you are still reticent in making that final decision, here are five great reasons to start your own business this year.

1. Being your own boss

It’s always a great reason to start your own business, no matter the year. Doing so means setting your own hours, being creative and using all those business and social skills that you have been honing over the years. It can also mean spending your work day in a field that interests you and surrounding yourself with people you like and respect. Best of all- all the profit of your endeavors go to you, not to someone else.

2. Small business is booming

Although the economy is still a little sluggish, growth of small businesses is skyrocketing. The International Franchise Association Educational Foundation Developed by IHS Global Insight reports that business franchising is expected to create more jobs and to grow faster than the rest of the U.S. economy again this year. It further predicts that franchise business growth, contributions to U.S. GDP, and output this year will top that of 2013.

3. Encouraging employment and demographic trends

The Bureau of Labor Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, reported recently that the unemployment rate has fallen from 8.1% in June of 2012 to 6.1% in June 2014. This trend is directly related to the buying trends of individuals.

Even though the public is not yet purchasing large items such as cars and appliances at the volume it once was, it is loosening the purse strings for items offered by small businesses. The Franchise Business Economic Outlook Report put out by The International Franchise Association Educational Foundation earlier this year projects that the dollar revenue created by small businesses in the U.S. is expected to rise 4.7% this year.

Also, changes in U.S. population demographics indicate a rise in minority, and millennial buying power, as well as the emergence of baby boomers reaching retirement age and the shifting to an older population. This all points to a need for new and different goods and services, and this will be opening the door for different types of franchising. Getting into these areas at this early stage will give new venture more of a chance to not only survive, but to thrive.

4. Advancements in technology

This innovative era is making many aspects of running a small business easier and more efficient. Today, franchisees use the Cloud, a network of software and hardware services offered by providers on the Internet to allow users immediate access to software services instead of having to have them installed on their computers. This technology also eliminates onsite software upgrades, as well as maintenance by IT personnel. Cloud computing also allows all software to be available on any web-supported device, making it possible for entrepreneurs and their customers to have immediate access to all updated material. Cloud-based services also include other technical advances that assist franchisees in the hiring, training, scheduling, and management of employees. Also, mobile apps can quickly and thoroughly check worker authorizations and collect tax credits. Mobile devices can help advertise to new customers as well by using platforms such as Foursquare, thus allowing owners to manage store operations on a minute-to-minute basis even when not on the premises.

5. A healthy business environment

Many states are offering incubators, which are locations throughout a state that offer office or warehouse space and training on starting a business. There are also mentoring programs that connect retired CEOs with new entrepreneurs. Banks have set up programs for securing loans with officers who oversee the continued growth of the business, and states are offering financial assistance to small businesses, with some even offering stop-gap help to individuals when a bank cannot secure the entire startup cost.

Networking is also alive and well, with states, franchisers, and an ever-growing number of online resources providing opportunities for new small business owners to connect with other newbies to discuss problems, achievements, and other areas of concern. Also, some states, regional areas, towns, and cities are restructuring their tax incentives to entice new business—some of which are tax credits, abatements, and exemptions.

Starting a new business at any time always involves some degree of risk regardless of when it occurs, but the odds of success are always greater when the business environment is pro-small business. Thus far, 2014 is proving to be a fertile time for you to take a chance on yourself, your talents, and your ambitions. All that’s needed is the will to take advantage of it.

Darren Jamieson is the Technical Director of Engage Web and writes for Minuteman Press on franchising in the US and throughout Canada, Australia and his native United Kingdom. He has extensive knowledge of the franchise industry, and of running a business, having helped many franchise clients through Engage Web.