Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Small Business Resource ..... Your Local Library

Here's an easy, simple, and maybe surprising suggestion for a small business resource. I recommend the local library.

Too often we think of the library as a place for books and recreation, but it offers much more than that. Most public libraries have electronic resources available for business patrons - just ask a reference librarian.

For example, in Michigan, where I'm from, the Michigan Electronic Library offers the Business and Company Resource Center, which is accessible online to anyone with a Michigan driver's license (see link below). This database provides industry overviews, company profiles, investment reports, financials, etc. And it's all FREE.

In addition to the public library, I also recommend the local university library, especially if you live near a good business school. Publicly funded university libraries are open to the public; however, not all provide access to their databases. A librarian can advise you. And don't forget about your alma mater! Some alumni associations include online library access privileges as part of alumni membership.

There are also online business libraries that charge a fee for resources.

Lastly, there is an amazing amount of government resources available - for FREE: The Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Patent & Trademark Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission,, individual state websites, etc. All available online.

Ask your local librarian about these resources – that’s what the library is for!

Michigan Electronic Library