Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Is 2014 The Year To Go Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur
The New Year is upon us. As our current year provided its own share of opportunities and challenges, 2014 promises to be no less of a roller coaster for the globe, with events such as the Federal Reserve no longer keeping the interest rates at rock bottom levels, China stopping their stockpiling of US treasuries, China again with its territorial saber-rattling in southeast Asia, parts of Europe still getting back up on its feet, and the uncertain affairs of state between our country and Russia, seemingly rising back to power since the disbanding of the USSR so many years ago.

For whatever happens in the coming year, there will always be the compulsion for a few courageous people to break out of their chains of employment and set out for themselves as entrepreneurs. Truth be told, there is never a truly right or even a wrong time to do so; it is a combination of presented opportunities, personal determination and ability, and simple dumb luck.

Regardless, in the same vein that we still bother to predict the weather despite the chances of inaccuracy, this little article will try to inform your decision on whether you should start chasing your entrepreneurial dreams this year:


Higher Interest Rates

The cycle of borrowing, spending and paying back debt is what keeps the modern economy flowing, and in our nook of the globe, the Federal Reserve controls interest rates. They have decided that on 2014, the cheap money won't be so cheap anymore, and that means it will be a bigger challenge to turn out a profit from borrowed funds.

This is a negative, for the most part. Companies big and small will have to exercise more fiscal discipline as it becomes harder to borrow and pay back money. Cutting down on the excess and practicing a little austerity here and there will go a long way in keeping the bottom line in the black.

For the entrepreneur starting out, the growing pains will all the more be painful with a steeper interest rate. Make certain that you will make each and every cent of your seed money count.


Optimistic Projections for Global Economy

Willem Buiter, the head honcho economist of Citigroup, thinks 2014 will be the year that the global economy will start picking up pace, compared to previous years behind it. It might not be anything dramatic or ground-breaking, but a consistently growing global economy is preferable to a stagnant or shrinking one.

Barring any unanticipated (I have trouble believing that any major geopolitical events are unanticipated by the powers that be) events in the world, there are no expected bubble bursts or double dips, according to their very extensive, near 100-page outlook.

For the US-based entrepreneur, putting these two factors together seems to suggest that if one were to start a business, perhaps it should be on foreign soil with friendlier interest rates, but an equally pro-investment environment.


China May Not Be As Friendly

If part of your business idea involves cheap labor and manufacturing via China, then you might want to hold off for this year, or perhaps find another country to do your offshore operations. As I mentioned before, China just decided to stop buying US treasuries, a move that could be considered a passive-aggressive offensive economic maneuver at best.

There's also the already-heated territory dispute China versus pretty much the rest of Southeast Asia. The US has a ton of allies in that part of the world, like economic partner Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Given the volatility of the situation, and China's propensity to enact inflammatory moves against countries that oppose them, your investment suffers the additional risk of a hostile government seizing it.

Fortunately for you, there are other countries that have low-cost yet trained (or trainable) labor forces that can accommodate your entrepreneurial ambitions. In the same region, Indonesia and the Philippines appear to be the best prospects.

Don't just take this article's word for fact, dig into the Internet to do more research and see the actual numbers. I wish you the best of luck, entrepreneur-in-the-making. Onward to prosperity in 2014!


About The Author: Michael Green is a veteran of the rat race, having worked at a business consultancy firms in San Francisco and New York for most of his young adult life. He left on his fortieth birthday to become a fully self-employed entrepreneur, and settled in San Diego to pursue various opportunities within the city.

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