Small Business Resources

Do you have a great product, million-dollar idea or service that you're looking to bring to market? Need help getting started? You're not alone. Chicagoans turn to us every day for their business needs, and we're happy to offer resources in print and online.

If you have a business question, drop by 4th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center any time as we regularly introduce entrepreneurs, small-business owners and those considering start-ups to the resources available at CPL. Of course, you can also check out the following online business resources available to you 24/7.

Looking for funding? You're going to need a business plan. Luckily, we have plenty of examples. The Business Plans Handbook provides over 400 actual business plans that you can use as models. The plans are from real businesses in the service, retail and manufacturing industries. Note: This is also available in print.

Use ReferenceUSA to research your competition, market saturation or to view the consumer demographics of a particular location. ReferenceUSA compiles listings for 24 million U.S. business locations and 262 million consumers. These are searchable by name, NAICS and SIC Codes, geography, business size and more. Further, business listings often give a management directory, financial information and business demographics.

If you're more interested in researching potential vendors, strategic partners or competitors by checking what's been written about them in the business press, use ABI / INFORM. This database provides you with full-text articles from over 3,000 local and global business and industry publications, including Crain's Chicago Business, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.

You can find these resources and more collected on our Business and Money page within the Online Resources section of the website.

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