Startups getting easier? Yes, and I believe it, too. But there’s a follow-up question required.

First, there’s this from the trends summary of The Intuit 2020 Report — 20 Trends for the Next Decade:

Starting a small business will be easier — and more affordable than ever. The cost of starting and running a small or personal business will continue to decline as smaller, lighter and smarter systems, components and manufacturing methods emerge.

That’s trend number 11 of 20, titled “You no longer need cash to start a business.”

The follow-up question? I think you have to ask: “compared to what?” And I think the answer would be: “compared to what it is now and used to be.” The idea of no cash at all is perhaps an exaggeration, but maybe not. And I certainly agree on the likelihood that starting your own business is getting cheaper and easier. It seems like the business world is pulverizing itself, heading toward a lot more diverse, smaller units (you and me) instead of the economic concentration that drove the last 150 years. That’s mainly because of the impact of new technology. The gatekeepers are losing control.

Thanks to Steve King of Emergent Research, Intuit’s long-time partner in research like this, for announcing it on his SmallBizLabs blog. Obviously long-term predictions like these are dicey at best, but what’s published in the report makes a lot of sense. Some of my other favorite trends include baby boomers staying active, new generations using technology to change the world and workers being in a lot of places other than the office.

Intuit makes the report available to anybody who wants to read it. Here’s a link to the Intuit download page, which covers this and several other studies.

And if you want to just go straight to the document: click here.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.