Public Libraries Briefcase


No. 8, 2nd Quarter 2004

A publication of the BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee

Public Libraries Briefcase is a quarterly column written by members of the BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee.

Small Business Online Resources

Written by
Rhonda H. Kleiman
Business Information Coordinator
Library System of Lancaster County, Lancaster, Penn.

There is a vast body of information on the Internet for and about small businesses and entrepreneurs. These web sites represent the best of what is currently available online. The list has been divided into five sections: General; Small Business Administration; SBA Partners & Other Government Organizations; Associations and Organizations; Online Periodicals.

This free resource from Palo Alto Software has guidelines for writing business marketing, web strategy and advertising plans. Includes sample plans for various types of businesses.

Leading online source for small business statistics, including useful financial ratios and benchmarks.

CCH Business Owners Toolkit
Comprehensive checklist of steps to take to start a business. The table of contents expands to display section headings and document titles. Click on document titles for in-depth information.

Dun & Bradstreet Small Business Solutions
Small businesses can obtain credit reports for companies they want to do business with, manage their own credit, collect debt and obtain customer lists. There are no costs involved to search this website, however, there are fees for purchasing the reports and lists themselves. There are various subscription packages, all at minimal costs, that a small business can take advantage of. Comprehensive charts of D&B’s fees and pricing structures accompany each of the services.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s highly regarded site combines links to the best resources on the web, with content written specifically for Entreworld by noted entrepreneurs and business professionals, for all stages of starting and growing a business.
Good source of legal information for the business start-up. Guidelines for starting a business, downloadable forms and contracts and a searchable directory of lawyers by state.
This free resource from Palo Alto Software provides access to an excellent outline for a marketing plan, as well as sample plans and informative articles.

Do-it-yourself law center with a section devoted to small business. Includes information on small business legal structures and a good legal encyclopedia.

Developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation, this site is designed for second stage businesses and entrepreneurs, with information to help them get to that next level. Articles on marketing, finance, human resources, management and organization.

SBTV Small Business Television Network
Television network on the web devoted to small businesses, with content provided by noted business journalists and professionals.

Small Business School
Companion web site to the PBS series. Read television show transcripts and case studies of small businesses that the series profiles.

Someday Soon
Although this site is geared towards the young adult entrepreneur, the information is relevant to anyone starting a business. Among the features are interactive quizzes and tools, checklists with links, success stories, a start-up cost calculator and a feasibility assessment survey to determine whether a person has what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

Welcome Business USA
Free resource with checklists, tools and a comprehensive resource guide with links. Practical hands-on, how-to’s and ideas for running a successful small business.

Working Solo
How-to’s and practical advice for sole proprietors, self-employed, home-based businesses, freelancers, telecommuters, and other independent professionals.


Small Business Administration

SBA offers a variety of loan programs for very specific purposes. Many of these programs are described in this section. 
Small Business Administration
Definitive source of government information for small business. Guidelines and how-to’s for starting and financing a small business, FAQs, local office contacts, regulations, headline news, and disaster assistance are some of the many topics covered on this site. Here are key pages on the site.

Business Opportunities
Basics of government contracting, including regulations and policies, size standards, preparing bids and proposals, etc.

Business Plan Guide
Good comprehensive guide for constructing a business plan.

Basic financing and eligibility topics, plus explanations of all of the extensive SBA loan programs.

Free downloadable forms, letters and guides
SBA offers a variety of loan programs for very specific purposes. Many of these programs are described in this section. 
Management for Growth
Management, leadership, marketing, financing, strategic planning, technology and special interest topics.

Online Classroom
Pick from an extensive list of free training courses and workshops in a virtual classroom setting.

Outside Resources and Business Links
Links to over 3,000 resources of interest to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Spanish Language Version
On the home page of the English language version, click on the link "en español" at the upper right corner, or use the above URL to access the SBA site in Spanish.

Starting Your Business
Startup basics, including access to a free comprehensive small business startup guide.


SBA Partners and Other Government Organizations

Federal and state legal & regulatory information for small businesses, developed by the SBA.

IRS Small Business & Self Employed One-Stop Resource
One-stop shopping resource for everything small business owners need to know about starting and running a business from a tax perspective.

Service Corps of Retired Executives provides mentoring, training seminars and online counseling to small business startups.

Small Business Development Centers or
SBDC’s provide businesses with management and technical assistance. Find links to offices in each state. Access the SBDC’s National Information Clearinghouse, sbdcnet, along with links to statistics, organizations and publications.

Women’s Business Centers
Educational centers designed to help women start and grow their businesses. A PDF document lists each of the over 80 centers across the US.


Associations & Organizations

International Franchise Association
Information on seeking a franchise, with a resource center and a comprehensive database with links to over 800 companies.

National Association for the Self-Employed
Provides benefits, support and advocacy for micro-business with up to 10 employees and the self-employed.

National Association of Small Business Investment Companies
SBIC’s are private financial institutions licensed by the SBA to make equity capital and long-term credit available to small businesses. Search the NASBIC member database by company, city, state or firm type, as well as industry and member links.

National Business Incubator Association
Although most of the content is for members only, the Resource Center provides access to links for member incubators in the US and international and state and international incubator associations. View profiles of incubator award winners.

National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship
This independent, nonpartisan, not for profit organization seeks to improve awareness on the value of entrepreneurship. Links to daily news about entrepreneurship in the US and around the world, articles, reports and statistics.

National Federation of Independent Businesses
Advocacy organization representing small and independent businesses in Washington. Search the toolbox of articles of interest to small business and read about key issues the NFIB is lobbying for.

Small Business Survival Committee
This advocacy group, representing the interests of small business owners, produces the annual Small Business Survival Index, which shows how 21 major government imposed or related costs impact small business owners in various Industries and business categories.


Online Periodicals

Business Week Small Business Online
Resources for financing, day-to-day operations and staffing a small business. A small business guide and small business tools are special features.

Articles and information on start-ups, franchising, e-commerce, marketing and more.

Use this URL or click on the "Work" tab on the home page to access a list of resources and tools for the entrepreneur, including links to the "200 Best Small Companies" and "500 Largest Private Companies."

Fortune Small Business
Articles about and for small business, including links to special issues such as the "FSB 100 list of America’s Fastest Growing Small Companies."
Search for articles and view the "Inc. 500" list. Register, at no cost, to gain free access to over 100 useful tools, including policies, procedures, worksheets and checklists. Startup Journal
Wall Street Journal’s site for new business start-ups and entrepreneurs includes a database of thousands of businesses and franchises for sale that is searchable by location and category. In addition, there are feature articles on a variety of topics of interest to small businesses.


Disclaimer : This publication has been placed on the web for the convenience of BRASS members. Information and links will not be updated. Posted 4 May 2004.