Do you have dreams of starting your own small business but do not know where to begin? Start by visiting The Library where you will find a number of books, articles, online databases, knowledgeable staff members, and referrals to reputable small business resources. For quick access to these, visit the Business and Investment Tools page.
Once you learn how to find and use the small business resources that are available to you, you will be ready to start exploring ways to turn your idea into a successful small business.
The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA), at https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/10-steps-start-your-business, recommends that you begin by conducting market research. Market research can help you determine if you can turn your great idea into a profitable venture. ReferenceUSA, one of The Library’s databases, is especially useful for this purpose. It is a robust tool that offers up-to-date business and residential data, a mapping and visualization feature, and more. Use ReferenceUSA to locate companies, find job postings, uncover business opportunities, track down addresses and phone numbers, research market trends, and to assemble data for business-related analysis. ReferenceUSA can also be used to find potential competitors and to learn some costs associated with such businesses.
Next, the SBA recommends that you create a business plan. The Library can provide some guidance with this step as well. For sample business plans, check out the multi-volume Business Plans Handbook: A Compilation of Actual Business Plans Developed by Small Businesses Throughout North America (658.4012 BUS) or explore one of the other books on this topic in our collection.
As you continue to work your way through the other recommended SBA steps for starting your own business, you will learn that The Library can provide you guidance with these as well. Need help deciding on a company structure? Need to learn how to market your new company? Find answers in books such as Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business by attorney Fred S. Steingold and David M. Steingold (346.73 STE), The Small business Start-up Kit: A Step-by-step Legal Guide by Peri H. Pakroo; edited by Marcia Stewart (658.022 PAK), or the e-audiobook, Integration Marketing: How Small Businesses Become Big Businesses? and Big Businesses Become Empires by Mark Joyner (accessed through Overdrive/Libby).
As you will learn, starting a business will take a fair amount of research, acceptance of risk, and many hours of effort. Reading memoirs from successful entrepreneurs may provide you the support and inspiration that you need to stay committed. Here are a few from The Library’s collection that you might like:
Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built / Duncan Clark (381.142 CLA)
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration / Ed Catmull; with Amy Wallace (658.40714 CAT)
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future / Ashlee Vance (BIO MUS VAN)
Lastly, know that armed with the knowledge and information that you gain at The Library, you will be prepared to make wise decisions about starting your small business. I wish you much success.