Starting a Small Business

General Information and Where to Start

This pathfinder is an overview on the basics of starting your own business. It contains both Internet based and print sources, as well as a list of organizations and periodicals to assist you in planning and running your own company. The information is geared toward opening a business in the United States, and is focused more on running small businesses in general, rather than specific small businesses.

A good place to begin is your local public library, as they have many resources on starting and maintaining your own business. Some of the materials may be included in the Reference Section, but most of them will be housed in the Non-Fiction Section. Some suggestions for looking up these resources include searching under entrepreneur, small business, and management, or a combination of those terms. These terms should start you off in the right direction, but you can always ask the library staff for further assistance.

There are currently many books on starting up a small business, as you may have already noticed in your local library or bookstore. Here are a few suggestions:

Small Business Sourcebook: The Entrepreneur’s Resource. Edited by Yolanda A. Johnson. This resource is in it’s 11th Edition, and covers specific small business profiles and general small business topics; programs and assistance in the U.S. and its territories; and U.S. federal government agencies and offices. A two volume resource “useful to both beginning entrepreneurs and seasoned business professionals seeking to develop or expand their enterprises.”

Small Business Profiles: A Guide to Today’s Top Opportunities for Entrepreneurs. Edited by Suzanne M. Bourgoin, the entries “cover crucial aspects of business start up, such as costs and expected profits; financing; marketing and advertising; obtaining licenses; deciding on insurance needs and much more.” In addition Small Business Profiles also suggests numerous possibilities for obtaining more information and needed resources.

Free Money for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs.


Free Money From the Federal Government for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs. Both by Laurie Blum, these two recent publications (1995, 1996 respectively) offer alternative ways to locate money to help finance your company. The information given ranges from the sources and contact information for applying for the assistance, to the proper way to apply.

If your library uses the Dewey Decimal Classification System, you can look for these books and others like them at the following numbers:

338 Entrepreneurs
338.6 Small Business
658 Management

Another place to check for books on any aspect of Small Business is (, an online bookstore.

Internet Resources

CCH Business Owner’s Toolkit
The place to go for all the essential business information and tools you need to start, run, and grow your small business. Includes “tips that will help you work smarter, save money, and stay in compliance with the law, as well as get the job done easier and save significant time and dollars in the process.”
Edward Lowe Foundation
The Edward Lowe Foundation offers forward-thinking ideas and solutions for every aspect of running a business. Their mission is to lead entrepreneurs through the trial and error process that today’s hottest entrepreneurs have already overcome.
EntreWorld: Entrepreneur’s in Business
An information resource for entrepreneurs and supporters of entrepreneurship. The site provides a solution to information overload on the Web by providing highly filtered information coded by stage of business development and broken up into four channels: Starting Your Business, Running Your Business, Rapid Growth, and Supporting Entrepreneurship.
Nolo’s Legal Encyclopedia: Small Business
Nolo Press, a self help law center for over 25 years, offers this page of law books written for the layman on starting and running a small business. Their mission is to provide good, reliable information so the average person can handle routine legal problems without hiring an attorney. The Small Business section is divided into four sections; Before You Start, Legal Structures, Nonprofit Corporations, and Home Based Businesses, making it a great resource for small businesses of any kind.
U.S. Small Business Administration Online
Created by Congress to help entrepreneurs form successful small enterprises. This site offers information on how to start, finance, and expand your own small business, as well as current legislation concerning small businesses and available outside resources.


American Small Businesses Association (ASBA)
8773 IL Rte. 75E
Rock City, IL 61070
phone: 1 (800) 942-2722

National Association for the Self Employed (NASE)
PO Box 612067
DFW Airport
Dallas, TX 75261-2067
phone: 1 (800) 232-NASE
fax: 1 (800) 551-4446

Small Business Council of America (SBCA)
222 Delaware Avenue, Suite 1200
P.O. Box 1229
Wilmington, DE 19899
phone: 1 (877) 404-1329


Some periodicals that focus on Small Business issues include:

Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice (ET&P)
Waco, TX : Baylor University, Hankamer School of Business, John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship
Inc.: The Magazine for Growing Companies
Boston, MA : United Marine Publishers
Journal of Business Venturing
New York : Elsevier
Journal of Small Business Management
Morgantown, WV : National Council for Small Business Management Development
Venture Magazine: The Magazine for Entrepreneurs
New York : Venture


Starting a Small Business is no small feat – it takes a lot of time and effort to seriously research and plan your own business. This pathfinder was intended to address the most immediate needs when thinking about, or beginning to form your own business. The listed resources are in no way a comprehensive list, but rather a place to start from and expand. If you would like additional information that was not included in this resource list, try using a search engine with these Internet Search tips located at /category/getsubject-v13-c1-t6675-p6671. Good luck with your search and on starting your own business!

This pathfinder was created by Teresa Ginal.

You may also wish to see Ready Reference Collection: Business &Economics | Associations on the Net: Business &Economics | Serials: Business &Economics