There's no denying it – the startup life is tough. It's a full-time grind that requires complete dedication and focus while relying on extremely limited time and resources.
That being said, there are many ways in which the broader business world has grown more aware of not only the needs of startups but also their unique value. This awareness has now manifested itself in an ever-increasing pool of resources, tools, programs, softwares, pricing plans and more that are curated specifically for startups.
Here are five reasons 2019 is the best year to be a startup.
1. It's never been more affordable to start a company.
As recently as 10 years ago, there were many costs involved in founding a startup that made it prohibitively expensive for most people to accomplish without significant funding. Today, many of those costs have been reduced by new advancements, processes and infrastructure. From a cost perspective, it's simply never been easier to start a company, with so many DIY software programs, educational resources and low-cost coworking spaces.
2. The power dynamic has continued to shift from investors to entrepreneurs.
When it comes to investing in startups, most people assume that investors hold all the power – after all, they are the individuals with all the money. However, in the current startup climate, this isn't exactly the case. Startups describe having more power than ever before. In fact, First Round's "State of Startups: 2018" reported that 59.1 percent of founders believe that, over the past year, the power has generally been in the hands of entrepreneurs rather than investors.
3. Access to free, high-quality startup resources and knowledge is easier than ever before.
Changes to technology in recent decades have opened up access to startup-oriented content at a dramatic scale. Startups are now able to easily share their learnings with each other across the globe in a constant knowledge share. In addition, as more individuals and organizations realize the value of startups, they have dramatically increased the amount of startup content that exists.
At this point, there is a virtually endless amount of content that startups can learn and grow from. No matter what challenge your startup is facing at any given moment, chances are that there is some tool, resource or document that can help you work through the problem. At the very least, you will likely be able to find someone else's take on how they tackled the problem, which can be tremendously valuable.
The old adage in business is that you should watch your competitors but not follow them. While this absolutely true, it doesn't mean that there aren't countless other companies whose example you should follow. In fact, there are many cases when following others is exactly the right thing to do. When a successful startup in another industry has found a process or software or strategy that works for them, why not try it out in your own use case (the caveat being that it makes sense in your situation)?
4. More startup-oriented programs and discounts are offered every day.
The traditional view of startups has been that only a select few companies, individuals or VCs are lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of successful startups and share in their success, but this isn't actually the case. There are countless ways to invest in a startup that are slightly less typical, and many companies are realizing this and starting to take advantage of it. These companies recognize that if they offer their product at a steep discount (or for free) when a startup is small, they can increase their prices (and profits) as the startup begins to see success and scale.
5. VC funding has continued to rise dramatically in the past few years.
The amount of money invested in startups in 2018 reached its highest year since the dotcom era. With VC funding amounting to $99.5 billion in 2018, this is a great sign that investors are taking more risks and investing in more companies. In addition, GeekWire reports that a record 53 companies' valuations superseded $1 billion in 2018. All of these are signs of good health and opportunity within the startup community.
How to take advantage of the unique opportunities for startups
Now, just because all these great resources exist for startups doesn't mean that working at a startup is a breeze. It's still an incredibly tough grind that has its own unique set of challenges and obstacles. These resources also don't mean much for your startup if you don't take advantage of them. Working at a startup requires one to always be vigilant of what low-cost opportunities are out there, just waiting to be taken.