Where do I start?

Whether you're just getting started with your business idea or you've been in business for years, we have resources that can help you.

Woman stands next to open sign in doorway, small business reference center

Writing a Business Plan & Starting a Business

Sounds like a (Business) Plan

Are you ready to turn your dream into reality? You'll need a business plan, first! Harvard Business Review said businesses are more likely to succeed if they had a plan. Browse these titles and articles to see which best fits you. View Full List

How to Prepare A Business Plan

The One-hour Business Plan

Write your Business Plan

Financial & Legal Resources

Find Customers

  • Gale Business: DemographicsNow - Find detailed demographic and consumer expenditure information to help you evaluate the suitability of a region's market for your future business.
  • ReferenceUSA - Job search, business research, and marketing database including more than 25 million business profiles & 267 million U.S. residents. Ideal for sales leads, mailing lists, market research, employment opportunities, finding friends and relatives, and much more!
  • Small Business Reference Center, opens a new window - Explore the Business Areas category to learn about "Marketing & Public Relations" topics.
  • Lynda.com - Use a keyword search to learn about areas such as "finding customers" and "social media marketing," or browse related Business Topics.

Identify Competitors

  • ReferenceUSA - Job search, business research, and marketing database including more than 25 million business profiles & 267 million U.S. residents. Ideal for sales leads, mailing lists, market research, employment opportunities, finding friends and relatives, and much more!
  • Gale Business: DemographicsNow, opens a new window - A second tool to identify similar businesses around your intended market with the "Businesses/People" tab.

Industry Information

  • ABI/INFORM - Find market and industry reports, journal articles, and news about every major industry.
  • Business Source Premier - Find SWOT analyses, industry profiles, market research reports, and trade publications.
  • RBdigital business eMagazines

Chambers of Commerce

Locate your local chamber or business association to attend professional development trainings and to network with local business owners or managers.

Additional Resources

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