Online Business Resources

Information is the key to good business decisions. There is a great deal of good information freely available on the Web. The following websites provide a starting point for your business research activities. They are arranged in categories to help you expedite your search. Note that the opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the websites’ producer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBTDC.

Associations – Directories
Associations – Business
Business Plans
Competitive Intelligence
Demographics / Psychographics
Economic Development
Financing Resources
Government Resources – Federal
Government Resources – NC
Human Resources
Industry Research
International Trade
Market Research
Science & Technology
Social Media
Starting a Business


Associations – Directories

ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership |
This page allows you to search for an association by name, interest area, or geographic location. You also can search using a combination of fields.

Internet Public Library |
A collection of over 1100 Internet sites providing information about a wide variety of professional and trade associations


Associations – Business

American Marketing Association |
The world’s largest and most comprehensive professional society of marketers

Biotechnology Industry Organization |
The mission of BIO is to be the champion of biotechnology and the advocate for its member organizations –both large and small

National Restaurant Association |
The leading business association for the restaurant industry

National Retail Federation |
The world’s largest retail trade association



Biz Stats |
Compare your company performance to others in the same industry

Fintel Scorecard |
Compare your company to others in the industry based on 9 core ratios


Business Plans

American Express |
How to write a business plan

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh |
Guide to business plans by type of business

Entrepreneur Magazine |
Articles and resources for creating your business plan

SBA Business Plan Basics |
nessplanner/plan/writeabusinessplan/index.htmlstep by step instructions for creating a business plan from the SBA

SCORE Business Plan Template |
Easy to follow template for creating a business plan, preferred by counselors


Competitive Intelligence

Fuld & Company |
Specialist in competitive intelligence

Investigators Toolbox |
Tools for performing a competitor search

Competitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide |
Articles on competitive intelligence

Securities & Exchange Commission |
Search for required filings of publicly traded corporations

Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals |
Provides education and networking opportunities to business and competitive intelligence professionals (including marketing, market research, strategy, and information.


Demographics / Psychographics

American Fact Finder |
Ongoing data collected by the Census Bureau

FreeDemographics |
Free demographic market analysis reports

Melissa Data |
Free address information for businesses and individuals

My Best Segments-Claritas |
MyBestSegments features information about Claritas’ segmentation system PRIZM NE and is the only source for detailed segment descriptions for all of Claritas’ market segmentation products.

NC Rural Databank |
Statistical information on North Carolina’s rural counties


Economic Development

EconData |
Regional Economic Data

NC Commerce Site Selectors’ Toolkit |
Information for site selectors considering NC as a business location



Council for Entrepreneurial Development |
A private, non-profit organization formed to identify, enable and promote high growth, high impact entrepreneurial companies and to accelerate the entrepreneurial culture of the Research Triangle and NC

Edward Lowe Foundation |
To champion the entrepreneurial spirit by providing information, research and educational experiences that support entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system

Entrepreneur Magazine |
Small business tools; business plan guide; entrepreneur’s databases for business opportunities and franchise information

Entrepreneurial Connections |
Provides tools, tips and training for the self-employed and small business owners

Inc Magazine |
Provides small-business information, Web-based tools, products, and services

Kauffman Foundation |
Focuses its grant making and operations on advancing entrepreneurship and improving the education of children and youth.


Financing Resources

Capital Opportunities for Small Business |
SBTDC’s online publication for finding capital resources for NC businesses

SBA-Financing |
Describes loan availability, eligibility, sources of grants



Entrepreneur Magazine-Franchise Opportunities |
Franchising opportunities plus tips on buying/running a franchise

Franchise Direct |
Listing of franchises for sale

Franchise Registry |
Listing of companies registered with the SBA available for franchising |
Resource for On-line Franchise Information


Government Resources – Federal

Code of Federal Regulations |

Defense Logistics Agency |
The Defense Logistics Agency is DOD’s largest combat support agency, providing worldwide logistics support in both peacetime and wartime to the military services as well as several civilian agencies and foreign countries. Find info on selling to the military.

FedBizOpps |
Federal government procurement opportunities above $25,000.

Internal Revenue Service |
Tax information for small businesses

Laws & regulations by industry |
Provides a single access point to government services and information to help the nation’s businesses with their operations.

US Patent & Trademark Office |
Search for patents and trademarks

US Small Business Administration website |
An independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns


Government Resources – North Carolina

Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) |
Contact BLNC at 1-800-228-8443 or for state license requirements and resource information to start or grow your business.

NC Biotechnology Center |
Supports biotechnology research, business and education statewide

NC Department of Commerce |

NC Secretary of State – Corporations Division |
Responsible for the examination, custody and maintenance of the legal documents filed by corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies in NC

NC State University Industrial Extension Service |
Supports North Carolina business in the workplace – in the office, on the factory floor or in the hospital

REACH NC is a Web portal that enables users to search, browse and find thousands of experts and assets within North Carolina higher education and research institutions.


Human Resources

Employee Benefit Research Institute |
Contributes to, encourages, ands enhances the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission |
Commission which enforces laws protecting against discrimination in employment |
Benchmark salaries

Society for Human Resource Management |
World’s largest professional association devoted to human resource management whose mission is to serve the needs of HR professionals by providing current and comprehensive resources, and to advance the profession by promoting HR’s role.


Industry Research

NAICS Classification System |
New classification system for industries. Replaces SIC codes.

Valuation Resources |
A directory of resources which address subjects such as industry overview, issues, trends, and outlook, industry financial information and financial ratios, and compensation and salary surveys for a wide variety of industries.


International Trade

Ex-Im bank |
Assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets.

Overseas Private Investment Corp. |
OPIC helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy.

US Trade & Development Agency |
Advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.

World Fact Book |
Detailed information about countries of the world including political and economic aspects



FindLaw |
Legal information for lawyers and general public, including case law, statutes, lawyer search

Martindale |
Directory of lawyers

The Red Book (NC Licenses and Permits) |
Lists the licenses and permits needed for businesses in NC

NC Legal Forms |


Market Research

Annual Reports |
Online access to annual reports |
Reports to purchase

Quirks |
Magazine for market researchers

Securities and Exchange Commission |
Corporate filings

Valuation Resources |
Free industry reports



American Marketing Association |
Resources for marketers and advertisers

M Plans |
Choose from several free marketing plans or purchase others



2014 North Carolina Small Business Handbook |
The 2014 North Carolina Small Business Handbook includes tips for North Carolina’s businesses in the areas of finance, human resources, marketing, government sales, and expansion. It also provides details on business assistance resources like the SBTDC.

BusinessWeek |
Weekly magazine containing information useful to entrepreneurs

CEO Express |
Gateway to online business magazines

Harvard Business Review |
Online version of HBR which provides summaries of articles in print edition

USA Today – Money |
Online magazine with articles of interest to small business owners


Science and Technology

American National Standards Institute |
Has standards information and links to standards sites.

Association of University Technology Managers |
Promotes, supports and improves academic technology transfer worldwide and demonstrate its benefits globally through education, advocacy, networking and communication.

National Technical Information Service |
Has science, technology and business information.

US Patent and Trademark Office |
Protect intellectual property by patenting

Tracking Innovation Report  |
Report released by the N.C. Board of Science and Technology highlights key trends and themes to be considered when undertaking efforts to promote economic <span “>opportunity throughout the state.


Social Media

Facebook for Business |

Instagram for Business |

Pinterest for Business |

Social Media for Small Business Guide |
This eBook breaks social media down into easy-to-understand pieces to help make sense of and make use of social media as a tool to help grow a business.

Twitter 101 for Business |
Has standards information and links to standards sites.


Starting a Business

Business Startup & Resource Webinar


County Business Patterns |
An annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry. Businesses use the data for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets.

FEDStats |
Gateway to federally collected stats

Statistical Abstract |
Summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.

U.S. Census |
Main census website