The Step-By-Step Guide to Amping Up Your Business in 2012

It’s time to take your small business to the next level. SUCCESS magazine has teamed up with Good Morning America‘s Tory Johnson to host the Start Small Win Big Entrepreneurial Challenge–a free 12-week, 12-step program to help your small business grow and win prizes for entering.

Why you should enter: 

Is your small business where you want it to be? Do you feel overwhelmed by the steps to starting your own small business? Do you want a proven entrepreneurial mentor but don’t know where to find one? This SUCCESS challenge is designed to help you become a better entrepreneur and take your small business in the right direction–UP!

Registration for the contest: Jan. 10-March 27  REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

During registration, contestants fill out the application containing name, contact information, business name and submit three specific goals they’d like to achieve during the contest. For this initial registration, contestants must specify what three elements of their business they choose to work on for this 12-week challenge.

√ TIP: Think carefully about the three goals you set. These will be the guidelines for your own challenge and criteria by which we’ll judge the winner. For examples, see Baby Steps to Business on

 Registration closes at 5pm March 27, after which no new applications will be accepted. Participants may still follow along, but will not be eligible for prizes.

Challenge takes place: Jan. 17-April 12

During the challenge, contestants complete one step every week for 12 weeks. The steps correspond with articles written by Tory Johnson in the:

As well as weekly newsletters written by SUCCESS editors featuring articles and inspiration that correspond with the step’s theme:

  • Week 1: Jan. 23 | Theme: Commit to Your WHY
  • Week 2: Jan. 30 | Theme: Take Responsibility
  • Week 3: Feb. 6 | Theme: Know Your Numbers
  • Week 4: Feb. 13 | Theme: Own Your Destiny
  • Week 5: Feb. 20 | Theme: Know Your Customer
  • Week 6: Feb. 27 | Theme: Create a Top-50 List
  • Week 7: March 5 | Theme: Change Your Environment
  • Week 8: March 12 | Theme: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
  • Week 9: March 19 | Theme: Ramp Up Social Media
  • Week 10: March 26 | Theme: Pitch the Media
  • Week 11: April 2 | Theme: Identify Collaborators
  • Week 12: April 9 | Theme: Track Your Time/Demand a Larger Return


Contestants are to journal their own progress for each step, in preparation for submitting a final essay answering how the 12 steps helped their small business.

√ TIP: Designate a notebook, Word document, online note or other handy place to make notes as your progress through each step. These notes will help you prepare their final essay for judging.

The SUCCESS team will select the winners based on the contestant’s written essay submission, regarding their business growth resulting from the program.


Start Small Win Big Prizes:

The grand-prize winner will be the subject of a feature-length article in our Sept. 2012 issue and will receive lunch and a one-on-one business consultation with Tory Johnson, plus lunch and a personal coaching session from Darren Hardy.

Two runners-up will be the subjects of a short story accompanying the feature article.

Additional prizes will be revealed as the contest continues. Our currently featured prizes include:

  • Free credit card processing for up to $50,000 in charges from Intuit GoPayment. Increase sales by offering credit card acceptance anywhere your business takes you. Intuit’s GoPayment is a mobile payment solution that allows you to swipe credit card payments on the go using its card reader with your smart phone.  Winner will save up to $1,850 in fees.  (There are no set up or cancellation fees for anyone using this service.)
  • A year-long free Constant Contact account including all products: Up to 10k contacts– Email marketing, Event marketing, Online survey, NutshellMail, Social campaigns. In addition, the winner will receive a dedicated coach for the length of the year to maximize the experience for the winner and their business. (Estimated value: $1,500-2,000, depending on how many email contacts)
  • SurePayroll will provide one year free (up to 15 employees) of its easy-to-use online payroll service. It automatically calculates, files and pays all local, state, and federal taxes. (Valued at more than $1,000; estimated value increases with number of employees)

Tory Johnson is CEO and founder of Spark & Hustle, a weekly contributor on ABC's Good Morning America and a contributing editor of SUCCESS magazine.

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