My guess is that January is the most popular time of year to start a business. I figure we spend our summer vacations lamenting our miserable jobs, vow to go back and make it through the fall and the holidays and start planning our new business in the new year.
So, I'm guessing many of you are getting ready to make it your New Year's resolution to start a new business in 2012. Despite the still-weak economy, it's actually a great time to become an entrepreneur. Here are five reasons to start a business in 2012.
Government support – Small businesses have been hailed as "job creators" and are therefore getting lots of attention from politicians seeking to restart the economy. Through payroll tax cuts, easier access to capital and programs from the Small Business Administration and your local Small Business Development Center (every state has at least one) there's lots of help out there.
Customer support – After years of abandoning the small business owner, customers are again thinking local and small. The success of Small Business Saturday was just one indication of an increasing consciousness on the part of consumers who are thinking about from whom they buy and from where their products come.
Free advertising – A small business marketing plan used to take up a huge chunk of a company's startup budget. Today, much of your marketing can be done via social media – for free. Before you even start your business, you should get set up on Facebook and Twitter and learn the ropes. That way, you'll be ready to start promoting your business from day one.
[A simple explanation of how Twitter can help your business]
The world's gone niche – As Chris Anderson explains in his book, "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More "(Hyperion, 2006), the world's gone specialty. Customers no longer want to hire a general contractor — they want a specialist. They no longer buy all their food in one place — instead they buy specialty foods from many different places. This creates opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to specialize one area. You may not do the volume of a larger business, but you'll attract loyal customers. These are the best type of customers to have, since they will come back often and are willing to pay more for whatever specialty you have to offer.
Franchising opportunities – There's never been a better time to get the help and support of a franchise. There are more franchising opportunities than ever and, odds are, there's one that fits exactly your needs and interest. Though it can be more expensive to buy a franchise, it can also greatly improve the chances of your new business succeeding. With marketing help and detailed support, a franchise could be the way to go in 2012.
- 10 Business Ideas We Love for 2012
- 17 Great Business Ideas for 2012
- 7 Things to Do Before You Start a Business
Jeanette Mulvey is the managing editor of BusinessNewsDaily. She has written about small business for more than 20 years and formerly owned her own e-commerce business. Her column, Mind Your Business, appears on Mondays only on BusinessNewsDaily. You can follow her on Twitter at @jeanettebnd or contact her via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to receive this column weekly in your email box, you can register for the BusinessNewsDaily newsletter.