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
Benchmarking
Business Plans
Competitive Intelligence
Demographics / Psychographics
Economic Development
Entrepreneurship
Financing Resources
Franchising
Government Resources – Federal
Government Resources – NC
Human Resources
Industry Research
International Trade
Legal
Market Research
Marketing
Publications
Science & Technology
Social Media
Starting a Business
Statistics

 

Associations – Directories

ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership | www.asaecenter.org
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 | www.ipl.org/div/aon/
A collection of over 1100 Internet sites providing information about a wide variety of professional and trade associations

TOP

Associations – Business

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

Biotechnology Industry Organization | www.bio.org
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 | www.restaurant.org
The leading business association for the restaurant industry

National Retail Federation | www.nrf.com
The world’s largest retail trade association

Software & Information Industry Association | www.siia.com
The principal trade association for the software and digital content industry

TOP

Benchmarking

Biz Stats | www.bizstats.com
Compare your company performance to others in the same industry

Fintel Scorecard | www.fintel.us/products/BusinessScorecard.html
Compare your company to others in the industry based on 9 core ratios

TOP

Business Plans

American Express | www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/how-to-write-a-small-business-plan/
How to write a business plan

BizPlanIt | www.bizplanit.com/free.html
BizPlanIt’s Virtual Business Plan is an online business plan resource based on real-world business planning advice.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh | www.clpgh.org/subject/business/bplansindex.html
Guide to business plans by type of business

Entrepreneur Magazine | www.entrepreneur.com/businessplan
Articles and resources for creating your business plan

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

SCORE Business Plan Template | http://www.score.org/node/803280
Easy to follow template for creating a business plan, preferred by counselors

TOP

Competitive Intelligence

Fuld & Company | www.fuld.com
Specialist in competitive intelligence

Investigators Toolbox | www.virtuallibrarian.com/research/ci.html
Tools for performing a competitor search

Competitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide | www.llrx.com/features/ciguide.htm
Articles on competitive intelligence

Securities & Exchange Commission | www.sec.gov
Search for required filings of publicly traded corporations

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

TOP

Demographics / Psychographics

American Fact Finder | www.factfinder2.census.gov
Ongoing data collected by the Census Bureau

FreeDemographics | www.freedemographics.com
Free demographic market analysis reports

Melissa Data | www.melissadata.com
Free address information for businesses and individuals

My Best Segments-Claritas | www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/Default.jsp
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 | www.ncruralcenter.org/databank/index.html
Statistical information on North Carolina’s rural counties

TOP

Economic Development

EconData | www.econdata.net
Regional Economic Data

NC Commerce Site Selectors’ Toolkit | www.thrivenc.com/locationtools/overview
Information for site selectors considering NC as a business location

TOP

Entrepreneurship

Council for Entrepreneurial Development | www.cednc.org
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 | www.lowe.org
To champion the entrepreneurial spirit by providing information, research and educational experiences that support entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system

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

Entrepreneurial Connections | www.entrepreneurialconnection.com/About.asp
Provides tools, tips and training for the self-employed and small business owners

Inc Magazine | www.inc.com
Provides small-business information, Web-based tools, products, and services

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

TOP

Financing Resources

Capital Opportunities for Small Business | sbtdc.org/resources/publications/capital-opportunities/
SBTDC’s online publication for finding capital resources for NC businesses

SBA-Financing | www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants
Describes loan availability, eligibility, sources of grants

TOP

Franchising

Entrepreneur Magazine-Franchise Opportunities | www.entrepreneur.com/franchises
Franchising opportunities plus tips on buying/running a franchise

Franchise Direct | www.franchisedirect.com
Listing of franchises for sale

Franchise Registry | www.franchiseregistry.com
Listing of companies registered with the SBA available for franchising

Franchising.com | www.franchising.com
Resource for On-line Franchise Information

TOP

Government Resources – Federal

Code of Federal Regulations | www.ecrf.gov

Defense Logistics Agency | www.dla.mil/smallbusiness
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 | www.fbo.gov
Federal government procurement opportunities above $25,000.

Internal Revenue Service | www.irs.gov/businesses/small
Tax information for small businesses

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

US Patent & Trademark Office | www.uspto.gov
Search for patents and trademarks

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

TOP

Government Resources – North Carolina

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

NC Biotechnology Center | www.ncbiotech.org
Supports biotechnology research, business and education statewide

NC Department of Commerce | www.nccommerce.com

NC Secretary of State – Corporations Division | www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations
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 | www.ies.ncsu.edu
Supports North Carolina business in the workplace – in the office, on the factory floor or in the hospital

REACH NC | www.reachnc.org
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.

TOP

Human Resources

Employee Benefit Research Institute | www.ebri.org
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 | www.eeoc.gov
Commission which enforces laws protecting against discrimination in employment

Salary.com | www.salary.com
Benchmark salaries

Society for Human Resource Management | www.shrm.org
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.

TOP

Industry Research

NAICS Classification System | www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html
New classification system for industries. Replaces SIC codes.

Valuation Resources | www.valuationresources.com
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.

TOP

International Trade

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

Overseas Private Investment Corp. | www.opic.gov
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 | www.ustda.gov
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 | www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook
Detailed information about countries of the world including political and economic aspects

TOP

Legal

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

Martindale | www.martindale.com
Directory of lawyers

The Red Book (NC Licenses and Permits) | www.nccommerce.com/en/BusinessServices/StartYourBusiness/BusinessLicensesPermits/
Lists the licenses and permits needed for businesses in NC

NC Legal Forms | www.uslegalforms.com/north-carolina/

TOP

Market Research

Annual Reports | www.annualreports.com
Online access to annual reports

Marketresearch.com | www.marketresearch.com
Reports to purchase

Quirks | www.quirks.com
Magazine for market researchers

Securities and Exchange Commission | www.sec.gov
Corporate filings

Valuation Resources | www.valuationresources.com/IndustryReport.htm
Free industry reports

TOP

Marketing

American Marketing Association | www.marketingpower.com
Resources for marketers and advertisers

M Plans | www.mplans.com
Choose from several free marketing plans or purchase others

TOP

Publications

2014 North Carolina Small Business Handbook | businessnc.epubxp.com/t/150985
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 | www.businessweek.com
Weekly magazine containing information useful to entrepreneurs

CEO Express | www.ceoexpress.com
Gateway to online business magazines

Harvard Business Review | www.hbr.org
Online version of HBR which provides summaries of articles in print edition

USA Today – Money | www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness
Online magazine with articles of interest to small business owners

TOP

Science and Technology

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

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

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

US Patent and Trademark Office | www.uspto.gov
Protect intellectual property by patenting

Tracking Innovation Report  | www.nccommerce.com/scitech/resources/innovation-reports
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.

TOP

Social Media

Facebook Guide Book | mashable.com/guidebook/facebook

Facebook for Business | facebook.com/business

Instagram for Business | business.instagram.com/blog/

Pinterest for Business | business.pinterest.com

Social Media for Small Business Guide | ducttapemarketing.com/socialmediaforbusiness.pdf
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 | business.twitter.com
Has standards information and links to standards sites.

Twitter Guide Book by Mashable.com mashable.com/guidebook/twitter

TOP

Starting a Business

Business Startup & Resource Webinar

Statistics

County Business Patterns | www.census.gov/econ/cbp/index.html
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 | www.fedstats.gov
Gateway to federally collected stats

Statistical Abstract | www.census.gov/compendia/statab/
Summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.

U.S. Census | www.census.gov
Main census website

TOP