Small Business Resources

Click here for a copy of this guide.

 

Michigan eLibrary
www.mel.org

Click on “Business & Jobs” under the “MeL Gateways” menu on the side of the screen.   Requires a library card number from a participating MeL library (such as the Public Libraries of Saginaw), or a Michigan State ID or Driver’s License number.

 

A few databases in particular may be helpful to you:

  • Demographics Now
    Find and compare demographic information for different areas, generate sales lead lists, or research desired storefront locations to find where businesses of your type have succeeded (or not).  Demographics Now contains U.S. Census 2010 information in an easy-to-use and customizable way.  Video tutorials are available on the home page to get you started. 
  • Business Decision
    Requires an email address as part of the free registration process.
    Set a location by County, ZIP Code, or even intersection, to generate marketing and demographic reports.  If you want to know about traffic patterns by your chosen storefront location, or how much money people in your area spend on car repairs or going out to eat in a year, Business Decision is a good place to look.
  • Small Business Resource Center
    Covers all the major areas of starting and operating a business.  Including: financing, management, marketing, human resources, franchising, and accounting.  Contains full-text of two reference books located at Hoyt Library, Business Plans Handbook and Small Business Sourcebook, and others
    Tip:  In Small Business Resource Center, click on “Business Topics,” “Business Types,” or “Sample Business Plans” to help focus your search.
  • Business Insights: Global
    Contains snapshot profiles of industries and links to financial and corporate information for public (and some private) companies around the world.  You can also easily create charts to compare revenue and employee numbers by company or industry.  You can also generate lists of competitors using the company finder search.

 

Research Your Industry

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes
www.census.gov/eos/www/naics

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes
www.osha.gov/pls/imis/sic_manual.html
These government industry codes can be useful for market or industry research.  Many databases allow you to search by code and sometimes provide general industry information as well.

IBISWorld Industry Snapshots
www.ibisworld.com/snapshot/industry
Provides a snapshot overview of many different industries, including information about economic activity and opportunities for growth.

Library of Congress Specialized Business Guides
www.loc.gov/rr/business/index1.html
Topics include types of business, industry information, and resources for minority entrepreneurs

Bond’s Franchise Guide
Business Reference/R 381.13 Bo
If you’re interested in becoming the owner of a franchise, this comprehensive guide gives information on the background, financial terms, support and training provided, and expansion plans of some 900 franchisors.  Information is also available at WorldFranchising.com.


 

Know your Area

U.S. Census Information
www.census.gov
Use “American Fact Finder” to learn about the demographics of people near your business address.  Use the “Economic Census” data (which is collected every five years) to find out what types of businesses are in your area.  “County Business Patterns” shows data gathered between economic censuses and allows you to compare different areas.

Saginaw County Manufacturers Directory
www.saginawfuture.com/Industry-Clusters-Advanced-Manufacturing.aspx.
Includes contact information, owner’s name, number of employees, and year of establishment for manufacturers located throughout the county.  Online, you can search businesses by keyword, location, or even NAICS Code.

Facebook Pages
www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

Google
www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/

Yahoo! Local
local.yahoo.com                            

Yelp 
www.yelp.com

CitySearch
saginaw.citysearch.com               

Insider Pages
www.insiderpages.com

MerchantCircle
www.merchantcircle.com

Search here for directory listings and customer reviews of your competitors and other businesses.  Once your business is up and running, you can also check here to see what your customers are saying about their experiences with your company.

City Directories
Found at reference/information desk


Locate Suppliers, Vendors… even Competitors

Michigan Telephone Directories
Found near the Hoyt Library information/reference desk

Harris Michigan Industrial Directory
Business Reference/R 670.2 Ha
Lists businesses by city, company name, products and SIC codes.

Michigan Manufacturers Directory
Business Reference/R 670.2 Mi
Similar to the Michigan Industrial Directory.  This source lists businesses by industry, by company name, by city, and by industry SIC Code.  It also contains a directory of parent companies and a section that breaks down business growth county-by-county and city-by-city.

Michigan Business Directory
Business Reference/R 670.2 Mi    (2 volumes)
Contains listings for nearly 400,000 Michigan businesses and includes company information, such as address, estimated sales, employee size, and credit score .  Volume I lists businesses by city.  Volume II lists businesses by SIC Code category, but also includes a listing of major and public companies by city, and manufacturers by city.

Encyclopedia of Associations
Multi-volume print guide found at the Information/Reference Desk at Hoyt Library

This set lists over 24,000 national and international trade, business, and commercial organizations according to type.  It has a broad scope, but you can use it to locate organizations related to your type of business for networking and other useful information. 

Small Business Sourcebook
Business Reference/R 658.022 Sm (2 volumes)
Also found on the Small Business Resource Center on MeL.org
This guide available at Hoyt Library, or on the Small Business Resource Center on MeL.org

It breaks start-up business information into manageable topics, like associations, sources of supply, trade shows, and more.  Volume 1 has specific profiles for different types of business.  Volume 2 contains more general information and listings for small business assistance by state.

ThomasNet
www.thomasnet.com
Good for identifying suppliers, or finding information on manufacturers

American Wholesalers and Distributors Directory
Business Reference/R 381.2 Am  (4 volumes)
Contains information on over 28,000 wholesalers.  Lists companies by type, but volume 4 contains indexes to search by location or company name.


Business Planning & Development

Business Plans Handbook
Business Reference/R 658.4 Bu (2 volumes)
Also found on the Small Business Resource Center on MeL.org.
Contains examples of actual business plans.  A great place to look for ideas on how to do yours.

How to Set Up Your Own Small Business
Business Reference/R 658.02 Ho(2 volumes)
Volume I contains market research, forecasting sales, site selection, financing, legal, and advertising information.  Volume II has bookkeeping, insurance, store policies, business plan, and franchising information.

Small Business Profiles
Business Reference/R 338 Sm (2 volumes)
Each volume contains articles for 60 to 70 types of small businesses that cover topics, like start-up costs, financing, staffing, marketing, advertising, and licensing, that are specific to that type of business.

Michigan Business One Stop
www.michigan.gov/business
Official State of Michigan website.  Includes video tutorials and a business start up tool that lets you plug in your information to find out what kind of requirements for permits or licensing you would have to meet to start your business.  Compare and contrast different scenarios to find out how costs and time frames might differ.  This site also lets you set up a user name and password to register for taxes and apply for state licenses or permits (if necessary for your type of business).

Michigan Economic Development Corporation
www.michiganadvantage.org
Michigan’s official site for business, talent, jobs, and economic growth.  There’s a lot here for new and growing businesses, but be sure to examine the resources under the “Start Up” tab to find out more about raising capital, hiring workers, and finding other business opportunities.

U.S. Small Business Administration
www.sba.gov
Use the “SBA Direct” feature to tailor the information you’re looking for.  It allows you to input topic(s), your kind of business, and your demographic information to give you customized results about SBA loans, counseling, and other help.

Small Business Association of Michigan
www.sbam.org
Promotes interests of Michigan small businesses.

Find Law for Small Business
http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com
Online legal guide for business

SCORE Service Corps of Retired Executives
www.score.org
Free business counseling via email

Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneurs
www.startupjournal.com
Resources to help entrepreneurs, including an online database of businesses for sale

LivePlan
www.liveplan.com
This site requires a subscription fee, but simplifies the business plan writing process.  Like a tax software program, it asks you basic questions, then calculates and plugs in numbers for you.

StartUp Nation
www.startupnation.com
Contains blogs, podcasts, forums, and more for entrepreneurs.  You can sign up for a free membership to participate in the community or get informative newsletters.  Or, simply browse the site for unique features, like the “step-by-step advice” for starting a small business.


Funding and Financial Information

MyFico
www.myfico.com
Before you apply for loans, use this fee-based site to obtain your FICO credit score.

AnnualCreditReport.com
www.annualcreditreport.com
Allows you to get a free annual credit report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

GovLoans.gov
www.govloans.gov
U.S. Federal government loans resource information

Saginaw Economic Development Corporation
http://www.saginaw-mi.com/departments/communityandeconomicdevelopment/sedc/
Offers loans for start-up, expanding, and existing businesses located in the City of Saginaw

StartGarden
www.startgarden.com
Part angel investor, part social network, this site, based out of Grand Rapids, allows entrepreneurs to submit ideas for businesses.  The fund invests in two ideas every week: one chosen by the operators, the other voted on by the public online.


Specialty Websites

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
www.mbda.gov
The MBDA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, designed to encourage the creation, growth, and expansion of minority owned businesses in the U.S.

Minority Business News USA
www.mbnusa.biz
Valuable news site of interest to the minority business owner.

National Women Business Owners Corporation Network
www.nwboc.org
Contains summaries of research for women business owners

National Association of Women Business Owners
www.nawbo.org
Fee-based site contains support and resources to help women grow a business and enrich their life.

World Franchising
www.worldfranchising.com
This site provides up-to-date information from Bond’s Franchise Guide, plus links to some news articles on franchising.  It allows you to search by franchise name, industry, investment needed, total units in operation, and average franchise fee.

Check it Out

Hoyt Main Library has an extensive collection of circulating materials for the entrepreneur.

  •  Books and talking books may be checked out for 3 weeks at a time.
  • Videos and DVDs are 3-day rentals.
  • Most business-oriented DVDs are free rentals, as noted by yellow stickers on their spines.

Periodicals and Business News

Hoyt Main Library subscribes to many magazines and newspapers that are geared towards business news, like The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Black Enterprise, Entrepreneur, Fortune, Inc., Minority Business Entrepreneur, Money Magazine, and more.

Although Hoyt does not lend its periodicals, some titles may be available for check-out at other PLOS branches.  Many of them are also available online with your library card through the library’s subscription databases.  (See MAGAZINE/DATABASE Search on the right-hand side of the PLOS website: www.saginawlibrary.org.)


Michigan SBDC Entrepreneurial Series

Free monthly seminars are conducted at the Hoyt Main Library.   Scheduling information is available online at www.saginawlibrary.org/events-classes/business-workshops/.  To register for one of these programs, please call 989-686-9597, or visit www.misbtdc.net/events.aspx.  These seminars are jointly sponsored by the following community organizations and institutions:

Michigan Small Business Development Center
Great Lakes Bay Region
Delta College Corporate Services
1961 Delta Road, H Wing
University Center, Michigan 48710
Phone: 989-686-9597
Fax: 989-667-2222

Email: sbdc@delta.edu

Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
515 N. Washington Ave.
Saginaw, Michigan 48607
Phone: 989-752-7161
Fax: 989-752-9055

Website: www.saginawchamber.org
Email: info@saginawchamber.org

Public Libraries of Saginaw
505 Janes St.
Saginaw, Michigan 48607
Phone: 989-755-0904
Fax: 989-755-9829

Website: www.saginawlibrary.org
Email: reference@saginawlibrary.org

Saginaw Future Inc.
515 N. Washington Ave.
Third Floor
Saginaw, Michigan 48607
Phone: 989-754-8222
Fax: 989-754-1715

Website: www.saginawfuture.com
Email: info@SaginawFuture.com

The Michigan SBDC program is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  All Michigan SBDC programs or co-sponsored programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.