Launching Dreams, Empowering Entrepreneurs

Accion believes entrepreneurs create vibrant communities. We deliver a level of personalized service you won’t find at any other lender. Capital is just one tool you need to reach your goals, and we partner with you every step of the way.

Delivered to small business owners

Years of lending experience in the U.S.

500,000+

Entrepreneurs across the country served

Loans to start a business

What Makes Us Different

Loans designed to help you succeed, with terms specific to your needs and goals.

Champion for Small Business

We are leaders in the responsible lending movement and dedicated to advancing local and national initiatives that support and empower entrepreneurs.

Access to business experts, special events, networking, and opportunities from our partners, as well as exclusive online resources help you take your business to the next level.

Every community has a unique business climate. Our on-the-ground expertise keeps you ahead of the curve no matter where you operate.

We match every borrower with a knowledgeable loan expert who provides personalized guidance through the loan process and beyond.

Simple Online Application

In less than 15 minutes, you could be on your way to getting the capital you need to run the business you love.

Hear What Business Owners Are Saying

A loan is an opportunity for a better future. Meet some of the entrepreneurs who have used Accion loans and support to grow their business.

Maria Harrison
Tea Gallerie

“We were so happy that someone believed in us. Accion is a financial partner and a supportive community partner.”

Odilon Celestin
C M Sweet Bakery

“Accion doesn’t just give you money they help you survive. My dream came true because I didn’t give up.”

Scott Carpenter
Underground Fitness

“I hit a lot of dead ends. Then I found Accion.”

Pamela A. Jones
Charboy’s

“At Accion, the loan process was straightforward. Now I have a whole line of sauces in 200 stores.”

What to Expect

A fast and simple online application experience paired with unmatched personalized service for every applicant.

Loans to start a business

Apply online, in person or call us

Get started by telling us about your business and financing needs. We welcome the chance to get to know you and your business. Questions? We are here to help.

Loans to start a business

Get a solution that fits your needs

Our loan experts work one-on-one with you to tailor solutions to you, your business and your goals.

Loans to start a business

Get the support you want

We want to be your most trusted resource. We’ll work with you every step of the way to put your loan to work and get your business on the right track.

Because we believe you deserve an efficient and transparent borrowing experience, we are a signatory of the Small Business Borrowers Bill of Rights.

Business Resources

Getting the capital your business needs is just one piece of the puzzle. Explore our library of tips, articles and videos to help your business grow.

Loans to start a business

article

10 Essential Tips for Growing Your Business

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program

Brewing the American Dream

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video

3 Vital Components to Your Business Plan

Free Small Business Owner’s Toolkit

Running a business is hard work, but we re here to help. Get tips on everything from setting up your business to creating a website to paying taxes, based on Accion s experience helping entrepreneurs in every industry across the U.S.

Loans to start a business

2017Accion is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All rights reserved.

Loans to start a business

“At Accion, the loan process was straightforward. Now I have a whole line of sauces in 200 stores.”



Grow your business with Macquarie

Start up business loans Start up business loans

Business loans and asset finance solutions

Our business loans and asset finance solutions can be tailor-made for your business. Talk to a relationship manager and find out how to build, grow and do business better.

Explore our latest solutions

We have the tools, expertise and experience to help you. Our relationship managers provide smart solutions for complex business needs.

Working capital loan

We know that in business, success comes from being able to manage your circumstances. Which is why it’s important to take control of your business cash flow.

Whether that’s through a business-specific loan, overdraft or flexible cash flow lending, a Macquarie relationship manager can tailor the right solution for you and your business.

Business growth loan

Growing your business requires planning and smart financial thinking. We have a proven track record in providing specialist solutions for merger and acquisition finance, business growth, succession planning, refinancing and personal wealth creation.

No matter what stage of the business lifecycle you’re at growing, buying or selling, we can provide tailored solutions and support for your business.

Property loan

We offer a range of residential and commercial property solutions. From commercial property finance to business loans secured by property and industry-specific products like strata-improvement loans for owners corporations and bodies corporate.

A relationship manager knows that personal and business goals are interconnected, which is why we give you a solution for your complete portfolio.

Technology, vehicle and equipment finance

For all your asset finance needs, we offer a comprehensive range of technology, vehicle and equipment loan, leasing and rental solutions.

From a single vehicle or piece of equipment, to financing a fleet of cars or even a complete technology overhaul, we’ve got the expertise and experience to help grow your business.

Case study

Start up business loans

The client was successful in setting up his medical practice and was able to provide for his family.

The brief

Macquarie was contacted by a newly registered plastic surgeon who needed financing to help start his medical practice. He also needed a flexible approach to funding so he could support his family.

The Macquarie difference

Macquarie took a number of steps to assess the client’s earnings capacity, including talking to financial planners with medical professional clients. Macquarie also carefully examined the client’s potential future income. With the industry knowledge of the medical profession and the research into the client’s circumstances, Macquarie understood the value of his skills. A funding plan was developed based on his projected cash flows.

The outcome

The main challenge was to identify the client’s capacity to repay the loans. The client already had a medical professional loan from another bank that he took out while completing his training. Because this training had reduced his earnings, his income was substantially lower than he estimated it would be in about three or four months’ time when his medical practice was established. He needed to fund the business start-up costs and provide for family expenses until his medical practice was generating income.

The outcome

Macquarie developed a financial package for the client that included:

  • refinancing the medical loan into a home loan
  • securing borrowings against the home
  • short-term funding to cover his mortgage interest
  • access to a small overdraft facility
  • funding business start-up costs
  • a merchant terminal for processing patient’s payments
  • an office cheque account
  • consolidating various accounts into one bank.

The client also benefited from Macquarie’s relationship manager working closely with the client’s financial adviser to ensure his insurance policies were up-to-date. The client was successful in setting up his medical practice and was able to provide for his family. He is paying down his debts and building equity in his home.



3 ways to get a small-business loan

The recovering economic environment has meant that small businesses have had to be more creative when looking for loans.

However, companies with sound business strategies still can borrow. Options include loans from traditional banks and institutions affiliated with the Small Business Administration, as well as financing from Internet-based lenders.

“For creditworthy, high-scoring small businesses, there is money available,” says George Cloutier, CEO of American Management Services, a consultant to small businesses.

Bank loans

The best place to get a small-business loan is still a bank, says Cloutier. Banks typically offer the lowest interest rates and many have established reputations as trustworthy lenders.

“Many small businesses try three or four banks and then stop looking,” Cloutier says. A more persistent approach has better odds of success.

Calculate business loan payment

Want to calculate your small-business loan payment? Go to Bankrate’s loan and amortization calculator.

“Take out the phone book, target 10 banks and work through that list,” he says.

That strategy worked for Michael McKean. He is founder of The Knowland Group, a company that helps hotels fill up their meeting space.

A few years ago, as the success of The Knowland Group grew, McKean began searching for a bank that would give the growing company expanded access to credit.

“We talked to every bank in our area, at least a dozen,” McKean says. “Many came back with proposals, but the terms were very onerous. Or sometimes they shifted terms.”

Finally, M T Bank came through.

“They just wanted to get our business,” McKean says.

McKean says his company did not approach M T any differently than it had approached the other banks. It was just a matter of being persistent until the right deal came along, he says.

“We did everything right, approaching the right person at each bank,” he says. “We’re a profitable business. I think it was just the … credit crunch that prevented us from getting a loan.”

Cloutier says the key to success with banks is to show past profitability, and to describe a well thought-out plan for future profits.

“If you aren’t making a profit now, you must be able to tell the bank how you will change that in the short term, or you really won’t be able to get a loan,” he says.

He also recommends that businesses start small in their loan requests.

“If you need money for four trucks, ask for two,” Cloutier says. “The bigger the loan request, the harder it is to get it approved.”

SBA loans

Another way to find a bank loan is through the Small Business Administration, or SBA. The SBA can direct you to banks that offer loans guaranteed by the agency. This way, you’ll have the advantage of approaching banks specifically interested in lending to small businesses.

Interested businesses should contact the SBA office nearest to them, which can be found on the agency’s website. Jeanne Hulit, the SBA’s acting administrator, urges businesses to seek a bank that is an experienced SBA lender.

Banks granting SBA loans place increased emphasis on business plans, cash flow and profit forecasts in deciding whether to lend, she says. The SBA also can refer businesses to free counseling centers to improve their performance.

Online opportunities

Another source for loans is the Internet. There are several sites where businesses can seek alternative lenders, such as individuals and small companies.

Interest rates are generally a little higher than what a bank will charge, but it’s much less than what you’ll have to pay on many credit cards.

Look around at different sites, some may charge a one-time fee to list your business, while others are free to list but might have fees reflected in loan rates.

If you’re going to list your company on one of these sites, describe your business in clear and concise language.

Lastly, make sure to investigate the company you are looking to post your business on. These kinds of companies were successful in 2008 and during the recession, but times have changed. Many have since gone out of business. Before paying for anything, make sure the company is legit.



Start My Small Business

You can start a business in Georgia easily with the right resources. There are some questions to answer before you get started, like what kind of a business license do you need, do you need to register your business with the state, what tax structure is best for your small business, and other questions. Also, you should learn about labor laws and where you go to obtain the proper permits for your type of business.

Georgia defines a small business as one which is independently owned and operated and must have either fewer than 300 employees or less than $30 million in gross receipts per year.

How to Start: What Steps to Take

Get an overview of starting your own business from the Small Business Development Center self-assessment, legal steps, building your team, financing your business and business plan preparation.

STARTSMART

Start your business with the right set of tools with STARTMART.

GROWSMART

Realign your vision and improve performance with GROWSMART.

Get A Business License/Professional Business License

Business licenses and sole proprietorships are obtained locally from your city hall or county courthouse. For professional licensing, go to the Secretary of State’s website.

Visit Site Start online business

Get One-on-One Consulting

Receive university-based knowledge and technical assistance from the Small Business Development Center at the University of Georgia.

Register My Business

Corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships in Georgia are formed by filing with the Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. Get the necessary forms, file online, find out about filing fees, and search businesses.

Get Business Tax Requirements

Learn about Georgia’s business-tax types and information on audits, collections, rules and policies, and FAQs from the Department of Revenue.

Learn about Federal Tax IDs

Apply for a federal tax ID, or Employer Identification Number (EIN), with the Internal Revenue Service.

Learn about Labor Laws

Learn what Georgia employers need to know about COBRA, child labor, wages, workers’ compensation, discrimination, family and medical leave, and more from the Office of the Secretary of State.

Get Certified

Georgia defines a small business as one which is independently owned and operated and must have either fewer than 300 employees or less than $30 million in gross receipts per year.

How do I start a franchise?

FranNet provides resources for everything franchise and can help expand your business through franchising, one of the most profitable business models in the world.

Quick Links

Ecolink Inc

Atlanta Movie Tours

Atlas Turf International

Sweet Grass Dairy

Start online business

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I incorporate my business? See Answer
  • How do I get a small business loan? See Answer
  • How do I get a small business grant? See Answer
  • How do I get started in a business? See Answer
  • How do I get a business license in Georgia? See Answer
  • How and why do I develop a business plan? See Answer
  • How do I start a franchise? See Answer
  • How do I choose a legal business structure? See Answer
  • How do I know I have what it takes to own a small business? See Answer
  • Where can I go to learn about Georgia small business rules and regulations? See Answer
  • How can I learn more about insurance for small businesses? See Answer
  • How can I set up a strategic planning session for my community? See Answer
  • How can I market my business to state government? See Answer
  • View All FAQs

Industries in Georgia

Competitive Advantages

Business Resources

Connect With Us

Contact Us

Call us at +1-404-962-4000

TTY +1-800-255-0056 for the hearing impaired

Georgia Department of Economic Development

Technology Square, 75 5th Street N.W., Suite 1200 Atlanta, GA 30308

2017 Georgia Department of Economic Development. All Rights Reserved.



15 Online Business Ideas You Can Start Tomorrow

When you dream of opening your own business, you might envision four white walls and a mess of boxes to unpack in a commercial space. However, it doesn t have to be this way. With today s technology, you can start and run a business online, often with little to no cost.

By focusing on your strengths, you ll be able to build a client roster and get your online-based business started. Here are 15 great ideas you can run with.

1. SEO consultant

Do you know the ins and outs of search engines and have skills in platforms like Google Analytics? The owners of a lot of smaller companies don t realize how much of an impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on their business. Educate those business owners on the power of SEO to help transform their websites into a more SEO-friendly property. Use your skills to show business owners how to read and use their analytics data the right way, and how to properly use keywords and structure content to get more traffic.

2. Business coaching

If you possess a great deal of business experience and knowledge, why not create a business that helps aspiring entrepreneurs find success? You can use your skills to help new business owners get off to a good start and help experienced entrepreneurs keep up with demand. To show off your knowledge and skills and bring in clients, you can also write articles about business on platforms like LinkedIn.

3. Specialized retailer

There s an audience for everything, whether it s making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don t need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]

4. Social media consultant

Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.

5. Web design

There s nothing more off-putting than a poorly designed website, and often, it kills credibility. If you know HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. Put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.

6. Resume/cover letter writing

It s a tough truth to swallow, but a standout resume and cover letter can make all the difference when you re applying for a job. While listing career accomplishments might seem like an easy task, the fine art of humble bragging eludes some of us. Find work by helping others to get hired with the aid of stellar resumes. Capitalize on the increasingly important social media branding bandwagon and offer to fix LinkedIn profiles as well.

7. Assistant/task manager

Do you have impeccable organizational skills? What about cleaning skills? Can you quickly and efficiently carry out these tasks? Maybe it s time to put those skills to good use by becoming an online personal assistant or task manager. Companies like TaskRabbit or Zirtual allow you to sign up for tasks you want to complete including data research, virtual assistant or running errands and begin building clientele.

8. Professional freelancer

You might not think of freelancing as a business, but with more and more companies turning to part-time contract workers to fill their skill gaps, it s not hard to imagine making a living providing businesses with a variety of freelance services. Depending on your skill sets, you could work for multiple companies in a variety of fields that offer you flexibility and a refreshing change of pace. According to the freelance job listing website Freelancer.com, tech services, content creation and web design are popular fields for contract work.

9. Affiliate marketing

If you re a person who loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to). Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.

10. Remote technical support

Many small businesses don t have room in their budget for a full-time IT employee, so when their systems go on the fritz, they ll usually call a computer-savvy friend or family member. If you have experience working on computers and networks, you can eliminate their need to call in a favor and offer immediate remote technical assistance.

Real-Life Success Story: Jamie Minter

11. Virtual consignment store

Bargain hunters and thrift store enthusiasts can turn a nice profit reselling their vintage clothing finds. Brand yourself by setting up an independent website as your virtual storefront, but use a managed service like Google Checkout to handle transactions. High-resolution images and catchy copy for your products will make you stand out in the sea of internet users trying to sell their used items.

12. Handmade craft seller

Online sites like Etsy and ArtFire are platforms that make it extremely easy for crafters who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade items, like crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. Startup costs are extremely low if you purchase your materials in bulk from a craft supplier, and if you can turn around orders quickly, you ll be making a profit in no time at all. It s even possible to turn your store into a full-time gig.

13. App development

Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea and don t know the ins and outs of how to turn it into a reality, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.

If you have ideas and words bursting within you, you ve most likely thought about starting a blog, at the very least. With the freedom to create your own beat and style your platform the way you desire, you can completely personalize your blogging experience and reach millions of people across the world. The larger the audience, the higher the chance you have at creating a successful business out of it. [See Related Story: How to Turn Your Blog into a Business]

The wedding industry is booming, and with all of the stress and pressure that piles on every couple during their engagement, it s nearly impossible for brides-to-be to enjoy their wedding planning. However, if you have a knack for organization and a passion for weddings, you can start your own career as a bridal concierge, dealing with the nitty gritty wedding details so the bride doesn t have to.

Additional reporting by Shannon Gausepohl and Nicole Taylor.



Small Business

Early branding of a small or emerging company is key to business success. It is the quickest way for your company to express what it is and what it can offer. Inaccurate branding of a new business can make it difficult for people to grasp why the business exists in the first place.

What business to start

Articles and resources from AllBusiness.com

AllBusiness.com is a business Web site that provides information and services to small businesses.

Tip: Clear Brand Positioning Makes a Good Picture

By AllBusiness.com

Working with a consultant to create a logo or other branding materials? Make sure you think through and communicate your company’s positioning and core values.

If you can’t articulate what differentiates your company or product to your branding consultant, chances are they won’t be able to communicate it visually either. They need clear direction from which to craft a memorable, differentiated brand.

For startups and small businesses, branding can often take a backseat to other considerations, such as funding and product development. This is a mistake, as a company’s brand can be key to its success. Dollar for dollar, it is as important and vital as any other early steps.

One software management company, temporarily named TallyUp, decided to invest in a branding overhaul. Its flagship product, a software suite that tracks and runs bonus incentive plans, needed a clear identity and platform to appeal to its target audience — primarily financial executives. The name TallyUp, while somewhat descriptive, didn’t capture the level of sophistication needed to attract the appropriate clientele. TallyUp hired a branding consultant, who recommended the name Callidus (Latin for “expert and skillful”) to effectively communicate its positioning in an instant. The new name communicated a similar concept but on a completely different level. Callidus positions the software product correctly.

A brand is a company’s face to the world. It is the company’s name, how that name is visually expressed through a logo, and how that name and logo are extended throughout an organization’s communications. A brand is also how the company is perceived by its customers — the associations and inherent value they place on your business.

A brand is a kind of promise. It is a set of fundamental principles as understood by anyone who comes into contact with a company. A brand is an organization’s reason for being and how that reason is expressed through its various communications media to its key audiences, including customers, shareholders, employees and analysts. A brand can also describe these same attributes for a company’s products, services, and initiatives.

Apple’s brand is a great example. The Apple logo is clean, elegant, and easily implemented. At a certain point in time the company began to use the apple logo monochromatically (as opposed to the rainbow stripes), signaling a new era for Apple. Smart branding allowed the company to clearly communicate a change in direction while continuing to build its reputation. Think about how you’ve seen the brand in advertising, trade shows, packaging, and product design. It’s distinctive and it all adds up to a particular promise: quality of design and ease of use.

Checklist: Branding Right

By AllBusiness.com

Branding means that you have created a consciousness, an image, an awareness of your business. Here are five ways to start achieving that:

— Think analytically. A brand should provide something that warrants attention on a consistent basis, something your audience wants and is not getting from your competitors.

— Maintain your brand. One rule of thumb is that when you start to become tired of your logo, tagline, and branding efforts, that’s most likely when they are sinking in with customers.

— Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Typically, the best you can do is to focus on the niche market for your product.

— Know who you really are. Know your strengths and weaknesses through honest analysis of what you do best.

— Fully commit to branding. Treat all functions of the company, from product development to sales, as integral aspects of your brand.



The Lean Startup

New Products are Built and Launched

Philosophy Helps Start-Ups Move Faster Best business to start

Offers new ways to cut work time and investment Best business to start

Many CEOs have fully embraced and continue to internalize the lean startup principles Best business to start

Concepts apply both to designing products and to developing a market Best business to start

Sign up for the Lean Startup Newsletter

Get updates and exclusive content direct from Eric Ries

Benefits of The Lean Startup

Be more innovative.

Stop wasting people’s time.

Be more successful.

Lean Startup isn’t about being cheap [but is about] being less wasteful and still doing things that are big.

Principles of The Lean Startup

Lean Startups can operate with much less waste

The Lean Startup isn’t just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business. it’s about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do. I imagine Lean Startup principles applied to government programs, to healthcare, and to solving the world’s great problems. It’s ultimately an answer to the question ‘How can we learn more quickly what works, and discard what doesn’t? Tim O’Reilly CEO O’Reilly Media

Lean Startup Case Studies

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Dropbox revolutionized file-sharing by making an extremely easy-to-use, seamless application. Learn More

Best business to start

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Wealthfront is democratizing access to outstanding investment managers. Learn More

Best business to start

Best business to start

Grockit was founded in 2007 to enable social learning, specifically test preparation (SAT, LSAT, etc). Learn More

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Best business to start

Founded in 2004, IMVU is the world’s largest 3D chat and dress-up community. Learn More

Best business to start

Best business to start

Votizen is disrupting how our government and politics works by putting focus back on individual voter. Learn More

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Aardvark, a company subsequently acquired by Google, developed a social search engine. Learn More

Meet-ups are happening everywhere

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Get the Lean

Why get the book?

Do one important thing: make better, faster business decisions. Vastly better, faster business decisions. Bringing principles from lean manufacturing and agile development to the process of innovation, the Lean Startup helps companies succeed in a business landscape riddled with risk.

This book shows you how.

Best business to start

About the Author

Eric Ries

Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller



Geachte bezoeker,

Start.be heeft eindelijk zijn nieuwe eigenaar. Heeft u suggesties of opmerkingen dan horen wij dat graag.

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what business to start

What business to start

Imagine a life where all your time is spent on the things you want to do.

Imagine handing a letter to your boss that reads, “Dear Boss, I’m writing to let you know that your services are no longer required. Thanks for everything, but I’ll be doing things my own way now.”

Imagine that today is your final day of working for anyone other than yourself. What if—very soon, not in some distant, undefined future—you prepare for work by firing up a laptop in your home office, walking into a storefront you’ve opened, phoning a client who trusts you for helpful advice, or otherwise doing what you want instead of what someone tells you to do?

All over the world, and in many different ways, thousands of people are doing exactly that. They are rewriting the rules of work, becoming their own bosses, and creating a new future.

What business to start

In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead a life of adventure, meaning and purpose — and earn a good living.

Still in his early thirties, Chris is on the verge of completing a tour of every country on earth — he s already visited more than 175 nations — and yet he s never held a real job or earned a regular paycheck. Rather, he has a special genius for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns both to support his life of adventure and to give back.

There are many others like Chris — those who ve found ways to opt out of traditional employment and create the time and income to pursue what they find meaningful. Sometimes, achieving that perfect blend of passion and income doesn t depend on shelving what you currently do. You can start small with your venture, committing little time or money, and wait to take the real plunge when you re sure it s successful.

In preparing to write this book, Chris identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and from that group he s chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies. In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized, and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.

Here, finally, distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment. It s all about finding the intersection between your expertise — even if you don t consider it such — and what other people will pay for.

You don t need an MBA, a business plan or even employees. All you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid

Not content to talk in generalities, Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick. Among Chris s key principles: if you re good at one thing, you re probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish — sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.

In ancient times, people who were dissatisfied with their lives dreamed of finding magic lamps, buried treasure, or streets paved with gold. Today, we know that it s up to us to change our lives. And the best part is, if we change our own life, we can help others change theirs. This remarkable book will start you on your way.

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The New York Times

What business to start

Graphic | A Long Start-Up Slump

September 20, 2017

Unemployment has fallen, and the stock market has soared. So why has the economic expansion since the recession been so tame, with sluggish productivity and, at least until recently, anemic wage growth?

Economists say the answer, to some degree, can be found in a start-up slump — a decline in the creation of new businesses — and a growing understanding of what’s behind it.

A total of 414,000 businesses were formed in 2015, the latest year surveyed, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday. It was a slight increase from the previous year, but well below the 558,000 companies given birth in 2006, the year before the recession set in.

“We’re still in a start-up funk,” said Robert Litan, an economist and antitrust lawyer who has studied the issue. “Obviously the recession had a lot to do with it, but then you’re left with the conundrum: Why hasn’t there been any recovery?”

Many economists say the answer could lie in the rising power of the biggest corporations, which they argue is stifling entrepreneurship by making it easier for incumbent businesses to swat away challengers — or else to swallow them before they become a serious threat.

“You’ve got rising market power,” said Marshall Steinbaum, an economist at the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank. “In general, that makes it hard for new businesses to compete with incumbents. Market power is the story that explains everything.”

That argument comes at a potent political moment. Populists on both the left and right have responded to growing public unease about the corporate giants that increasingly dominate their online and offline lives. Polling data from Gallup and other organizations shows a long-running decline in confidence in banks and other big businesses — a concern not likely to abate after high-profile data breaches at Equifax and other companies.

The start-up slump has far-reaching implications. Small businesses in general are often cited as an exemplar of economic dynamism. But it is start-ups — and particularly the small subset of companies that grow quickly — that are key drivers of job creation and innovation, and have historically been a ladder into the middle class for less-educated workers and immigrants.

Perhaps most significant, start-ups play a critical role in making the economy as a whole more productive, as they invent new products and approaches, forcing existing businesses to compete or fall by the wayside.

“Across the decades, young companies are really the heavy hitters and the consistent hitters in terms of job creation,” said Arnobio Morelix, an economist at the Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit in Kansas City, Mo., that studies and promotes entrepreneurship.

The start-up decline might defy expectations in the age of Uber and “Shark Tank.” But however counterintuitive, the trend is backed by multiple data sources and numerous economic studies.

In 1980, according to the Census Bureau data, roughly one in eight companies had been founded in the past year; by 2015, that ratio had fallen to fewer than one in 12. The downward trend cuts across regions and industries and, at least since 2000, includes even the beating heart of American entrepreneurship, high tech.

Although the overall slump dates back more than 30 years, economists are most concerned about a more recent trend. In the 1980s and 1990s, the entrepreneurial slowdown was concentrated in sectors such as retail, where corner stores and regional brands were being subsumed by national chains. That trend, though often painful for local communities, wasn’t necessarily a drag on productivity more generally.

Since about 2000, however, the slowdown has spread to parts of the economy more often associated with high-growth entrepreneurship, including the technology sector. That decline has coincided with a period of weak productivity growth in the United States as a whole, a trend that has in turn been implicated in the patterns of fitful wage gains and sluggish economic growth since the recession. Recent research has suggested that the decline in entrepreneurship, and in other measures of business dynamism, is one cause of the prolonged stagnation in productivity.

“We’ve got lots of pieces now that say dynamism has gone down a lot since 2000,” said John Haltiwanger, a University of Maryland economist who has done much of the pioneering work in the field. “Start-ups have gone down a lot since 2000, especially in the high-tech sectors, and there are increasingly strong links to productivity.”

What is behind the decline in entrepreneurship is less clear. Economists and other experts have pointed to a range of possible explanations: The aging of the baby-boom generation has left fewer Americans in their prime business-starting years. The decline of community banks and the collapse of the market for home-equity loans may have made it harder for would-be entrepreneurs to get access to capital. Increased regulation, at both the state and federal levels, may be particularly burdensome for new businesses that lack well-staffed compliance departments. Those and other factors could well play a role, but none can fully explain the decline.

More recently, economists — especially but not exclusively on the left — have begun pointing the finger at big business, and in particular at the handful of companies that increasingly dominate many industries.

What business to start

Graphic | Big Business, Getting Bigger The share of employees working at large, medium and small companies in the United States.

The evidence is largely circumstantial: The slump in entrepreneurship has coincided with a period of increasing concentration in nearly every major industry. Research from Mr. Haltiwanger and several co-authors has found that the most productive companies are growing more slowly than in the past, a hint that competitive pressures aren’t forcing companies to react as quickly to new innovations.

A recent working paper from economists at Princeton and University College London found that American companies are increasingly able to demand prices well above their costs — which according to standard economic theory would lead new companies to enter the market. Yet that isn’t happening.

“If we’re in an era of excessive profits, in competitive markets we would see record firm entry, but we see the opposite,” said Ian Hathaway, an economist who has studied the issue. That, Mr. Hathaway said, suggests that the market is not truly competitive — that existing companies have found ways to block competitors.

Experts also point to anecdotal examples that suggest that the rise of big businesses could be squelching competition. YouTube, Instagram and hundreds of lower-profile start-ups chose to sell out to industry heavyweights like Google and Facebook rather than try to take them on directly. The tech giants have likewise been accused of using the power of their platforms to favor their own offerings over those of competitors.

Most recently, Amazon openly called for a bidding war among cities for its second headquarters — hardly the kind of demand a new start-up could make. Mr. Morelix said the Amazon example was particularly striking.

“We’re saying that it’s O.K. that they shape how a city charges taxes?” Mr. Morelix said. “And what kind of regulations they have? That should be terrifying to anyone that wants a free market.”

In Washington, where for years politicians have praised small businesses while catering to big ones, issues of competition and entrepreneurship are increasingly drawing bipartisan attention. Several Republican presidential candidates referred to the start-up slump during last year’s primary campaign. Progressive Democrats such as Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have pushed for stricter enforcement of antitrust rules. In a speech in March, Ms. Klobuchar explicitly tied the struggles of entrepreneurs to rising corporate concentration.

In July, entrepreneurs achieved a mark of political relevance: their own advocacy group. The newly formed Center for American Entrepreneurship will conduct research on the importance of new businesses to the economy and push for policies aimed at improving the start-up rate. Its founding president, John Dearie, comes from big business — he was most recently the acting head of the Financial Services Forum, which represents big financial institutions.

“Everybody loves entrepreneurship, but they’re not aware it’s in trouble,” Mr. Dearie said. “If new businesses are the engine of net new job creation, and if new businesses are the engine of innovation, and new business creation is at 30-year lows, that’s a national emergency.”

Follow Ben Casselman on Twitter: @bencasselman