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How Many Jobs Can Your Startup Create This Year?

Never discount the value you and your company can have on your community or the world -- even if you start up in your garage, your bedroom or the trunk of your car.
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As you start a new year, it's a good time to pause and reflect on the personal and business values that are driving you to embark--or continue--down the road of entrepreneurship.

One question you could ask yourself: How many jobs can my company create over the next year?

This could be a great motivator, especially if you are looking to help others through your entrepreneurial endeavors. What better way to contribute than by creating a successful business that will employ people and in turn help them develop their skills and careers?

Just think about the ripple effect of a truly successful business. Not only will you create a new job for yourself and hire people as you grow, you also will indirectly spur employment at companies you do business with. Every piece of office equipment you buy and every contact you make with a vendor represent the ripple effect of commerce on the overall economy.

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This, in my view, makes your entrepreneurial efforts not only one of the most creative endeavors you can undertake, but also one of the most noble and important. A small business can have major effects--sometimes invisible or not immediately seen--on its owners, employees, customers and suppliers. It also can share its resources with nonprofit groups, charities or religious institutions in the local community.

Estimates place the number of small businesses in the U.S. at between 25 million and 27 million. Although many of these are "micro-companies" or are run by "solo-preneurs," the statistics are pretty consistent in showing that 60 percent to 80 percent of all U.S. jobs are created by small businesses.

Just think what could happen to our unemployment rate--as well as our GDP--if every small business grew enough this year to hire just one additional person. A job would be created for each of the 13 million or so who are currently unemployed, and we'd have to find other new hires for the remaining 12 million companies.

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As an entrepreneur, you've already decided to be part of the solution to a problem or need that you see in the marketplace. Isn't it also good to know that by working to build your business you're part of a larger solution?

One of my favorite business maxims is to never discount, and as we look forward to a new year, I'd also apply that maxim to how you regard your company's potential. Never discount the value you and your company can have on your community or the world--even if you're starting off in your garage, from your back bedroom or the trunk of your car.

After all, no less than a Steve Jobs or a Richard Branson started the very same way, and look at how that worked out for all of us.

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