So You Want to Write a Business Plan? Library Resources to Get Inspired

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, your business plan is the foundation of your business, and it guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. Writing a business plan is a key step to getting organized and setting your trajectory.

Do you want to get started on writing your business plan or are you currently working on one? Check out these Chicago Public Library online resources and books for some inspiration and guidance in the business planning process.

Online Resources

Business Plans Handbooks

View all published volumes of the Business Plans Handbook series as searchable eBooks. With over 700 business plan examples from real businesses, Business Plans Handbooks is sure to have something to inspire your business plan.

Data Axle Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA)

Need to research the business and consumer market? Data Axle Reference Solutions can help you pinpoint data for both businesses and consumers to make data informed business plan decisions.

LinkedIn Learning

If you haven’t used LinkedIn Learning before, you should. LinkedIn Learning is an online learning platform with thousands of videos and courses lead by industry professionals. With Business being one of the main content areas, LinkedIn Learning has numerous topics to choose from within the Small Business and Entrepreneurship category.

We recommend:

ProQuest One Business

Looking for a little bit of everything? ProQuest One Business gathers business publications like newspapers and magazines, company overviews, and industry reports all within one online database.

These are just a few of the online resources that can help inspire your business plan journey. To see all our business relevant online resources, visit the Business & Money online resources page.


Don’t be deterred by the “For Dummies” series name. Business Plans offers an overview of the steps to take in the business planning process and is fully updated to current business and market trends.

NOLO has been publishing their How to Write A Business Plan series for over 30 years covering everything from forms, projection, and information on how to secure financing.

In their new book Level up, Stacey Abrams and Laura Hodgson share their experiences with building their own businesses and offer advice for small business owners and those wanting to start their own businesses.

The Small Business Start-up Kit has everything to get you started with your business from all the legalities, to your business plan, and beyond.

Still fine tuning your business ideas? The Voltage Effect may be a good source of inspiration on what makes good ideas and how to turn them into great ideas that can be scaled.


Looking for even more inspiration? Check out our online and in-person Business, Law and Money events.