If the thought of a cupcake makes you smile and you find yourself creatively inventing new designs and flavors then you have found your passion. People who create a business from something they love tend to be more successful and much happier. Starting a cupcake business is very exciting and the timing is perfect as today cupcakes are more popular than ever.They are in high demand for wedding cakes, birthdays, anniversaries, office events and practically every occasion you can imagine. Gourmet cupcake shops are opening up in every major city as many people who previously would have supplied a cake or desert at their special event are now using cupcake displays instead. However there are several important steps you must take to transform your passion from a hobby to a cupcake business.It is logical to begin with determining your business strategy. The first thing to decide is where you think it would be most appropriate to run your business. Will it be a store front or do you plan to operate from your kitchen at home and make deliveries in person or by mail? A store front will require a location with heavy foot traffic, whereas a commercial or home-based kitchen location will require different types of marketing to build visibility and therefore your customer base.Once you determine where you want to open your business you will need to write a business plan. A business plan is a formal presentation that includes start-up costs, marketing, overhead and projected earnings. Make sure the plan is presented in a professional way that is still easy to understand, especially if you intend to pursue investors or need finance,either when initially starting out, or in the future if you want to expand your business.Your next step is to apply for your permits and licensing. This includes creating a corporation, LLC or registering your business as a DBA (doing business as). The creation of food products is generally regulated by the state and local authorities so depending on where you live, your cooking space may be required to pass an inspection by the Department of Health. You may also be required to maintain a standard recipe for product labeling purposes.At this point you are ready to fine tune your recipes and designs. This may be the easiest step because your passion is what got you to this point in the first place. Customers love baked goods that are made from scratch. There is also a growing market for gluten-free products, organic baked goods and healthier desserts. Regardless of how cute and creative your designs are, they must taste good to create return sales. Start with a limited menu and welcome any customer feedback as this will help ensure your success by providing the what your market dictates.The final step to get your cupcake business off the ground is successful marketing. You have to get your cupcakes in front of customers. Take samples to local businesses, set up a table at events, fairs and farmer’s markets. Think about advertising in your local paper or create a colorful flyer that show pictures of your cupcakes and their prices.If you are marketing on the Internet you will need a website with good SEO qualities to get your business ranked high in the search website could start off as an information only site and as your business grows, progress to a full ecommerce site where customers can order their cupcakes online.The great thing about starting a cupcake business is that you can start small, baking from home. Then as your business grows you can decide whether you would like to expand by opening a cupcake shop and selling your cupcakes direct to customers or remain a home based business. The choice is yours!