9 Resource to Find Research Material? There is so much information available now about starting a business that there is no excuse not to be well informed. Here are some resources to help you. 1. United States Small Business Administration The Small Business Administration offices found across the country are wonderful gold mines packed with gems of essential information for both new and growing entrepreneurs. Partnering with SBA lenders, SCORE Counselors, the Small Business Development Center, and women’s business centers, there is not much you won’t find there in the way of resources to help you. Information is provided about all government services, programs, and local, state, and federal regulations. Information on most pertinent small business topics are available online, including business plans, marketing, financing, payroll, licenses, permits, business law, taxes, self-employment taxes, and employer identification numbers. This information can be downloaded from their website.Visit your local office, browse their library, or talk to a business officer. Their website address is www.sba.gov. 2. Small Business Development Centers With over a thousand locations in the United States, small business development centers are focused on their local community’s economic development. Services include access to all business startup resources, tourism, local regulations, demographics and statistics, a variety of small business and special events information, including local, state, and federal loans programs. Many offer technical and international trade assistance. Find the office nearest you at www.sba.gov/sbdc/sbdcnear.html. 3. Fedstats If you need demographic, trade, social, international, educational, or economic statistics, www.fedstats.gov is the site to visit. They provide information by sector, state, regionally, or nationally. Informative statistical online publications and links to all other federal agencies with statistical information make this site a one-stop stats shop. There are even specially prepared statistics available for schoolchildren of all ages to use. 4. Yellow Pages What an information mine! You can research your competitors either online or in print by studying their advertisements and see how they advertise and what services they offer. Assess how many competitors are in your trading area and get some indication of their size. 5. Chambers of commerce Your local chamber of commerce is in business to help businesses, both new and established. If you are serious about starting a business, join your local chamber so that you have better access to all their resources and information. Many supply business start-up kits, resource guides, business plan and cash flow information, and some even offer one-on-one consulting services. 6. Local government offices Visit your local office for community statistics, traffic counts, potential rezoning plans, new building applications, codes, regulations, and other business information. 7. The Internet When doing research, nothing beats sitting in the comfort of your own home collecting information. There is virtually nothing you can’t find on the Internet. It is a powerful, fast, cheap, and efficient research tool—in fact, for research, it is indispensable. Many informative small business websites can be found in the appendix. 8. Trade shows and seminars Trade shows allow you to be inundated with the most up-to-date information on your industry, helping you make informed decisions. There are also entrepreneurial trade shows that demonstrate new products and franchises. This is an opportunity to assess new competitors in the market and also promising new businesses. 9. Publications Use Internet listservs, newspapers, flyers, magazines, directories, and trade and financial papers to glean every ounce of information you need. Subscribe to journals and newspapers specifically aimed at your type of business or borrow them from your local library.