Five Steps to Starting a Business in the New Year

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If starting your own business is a resolution you planned for 2012, make sure you are prepared to hit the ground running. Planning is essential if you want to make this goal a reality, so sit down with your business partners, if you have them, and get ready to launch your new venture.

Step One: Write a business plan. A business plan will serve as your blueprint. It outlines your idea, and gives details about how the business will look, function and make money. Include marketing and advertising strategies, as well as how you plan to manage the operations and logistics. Funding will also be a big part of the business plan, so make sure you have an idea for how to finance your business and keep it running.

Step Two: Get a website. You can get a website up and running for just a few dollars every month. Even if you plan to make changes to the site as your business grows, make sure you have a presence online. A website is a good place to direct people who want information about your business.

Step Three: Spread the word. Whether you are selling products or services, start getting the word out immediately. Send an email to friends and family members, call up all of your business and professional contacts, and start networking. Your business is not going to get started if no one knows about it.

Step Four: Plan for growth. Maybe you’re starting a baking business. Are you prepared for big orders once a few people sample your cupcakes at the farmer’s market? Think big when you are in the planning process.

Step Five: Consider a social networking strategy. Whether you are starting a plumbing business or a graphic design studio out of your house, introduce yourself to online communities. Start a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and start blogging on Tumblr. You will reach potential customers you never thought of before.

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