I'd just like to say...

By: Mark Williams

Date: 22 December 2011

FireworksIt's been another memorable year for the Start Up Donut and its sister sites (Marketing, Law, Tech and Money). Time certainly flies. I can't believe it's little more than three years since we set out on this road aiming to create genuinely groundbreaking and inspiring websites packed with reliable, real-world information, advice, tools and resources for small businesses – free to use when needed.

Earlier this year, the Donut project reached the notable milestone of attracting its one-millionth site visitor. Since then, hundreds of thousands more users have been drawn to our sites, with many returning regularly for their fix of small-business advice, news and views.

In late August, following many months of research and development, the Money Donut website was launched. It's since become a popular destination for small firms in need of sound (yet accessible) advice on tax issues (Moira Stewart's right – tax doesn't have to be taxing).

Amazingly, 100-plus syndicated versions of Donut websites have been created for enterprise agencies, chambers of commerce, law firms and other sources of business support (more than half of these are versions of Start Up Donut). Hopefully, there will be many more in 2012.

Thanks must also go to those generous sponsors whose support helps to ensure that you don't have to pay to benefit from our sites. Thanks also to those who provide our site users with access to special offers.

In 2011 we produced 12 Donut e-newsletters, which are emailed to tens of thousands of registered site users each month (sign up if you haven't already – there's no charge). I've really enjoyed writing 12 business-owner profiles this year for MyDonut, although personal favourites include Guy Watson of Riverford Organic, Goth accountant Psyche Coderre, Wendy Tan-White of Moonfruit, recession-battling restaurant owner Enzo Baldascino and the irrepressible self-publicist Ling Valentine of Viz and Dragons' Den fame. I genuinely hope such profiles inspire you and others.

I've also enjoyed writing numerous case studies for Start Up Donut, which have made me even more convinced that the best way to learn about starting and running a business is to talk to those who've been there and done it.

The Donut project is backed by the knowledge of a small army of business experts. Special thanks to those of their number who went out of their way to assist us this year, especially those who helped us with Q&As or provided blogs. We'll be recruiting more in 2012, so send us an email if you would like to share your expertise (and raise your profile).

This year, we've also built our Donut Twitter following to 30,000-plus souls – 7,500 on the Start Up Donut Twitter page alone. We hope you've enjoyed and benefited from reading our tweets this year.

We wouldn't be able to do what we do without the enthusiastic support of our readers – people like you. We value your input on our forums and the kind comments and messages of support you've sent us throughout the year.

Have a great Christmas and New Year. See you in 2012…

Start Up Donut editor Mark Williams is a freelance editor, copywriter and journalist