So you have an idea for a small business. What are your next steps?

If you are in Missouri, you have a wealth of information, resources, and assistance available if you are thinking about starting a business. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a St. Louis District Office, but they also have an abundance of resources available online, including their guide to 10 steps to starting your business.  One of the first steps they recommend is to check the website for the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office for information on state, federal and local regulations. They then suggest looking at demographic and census data, finding information on business licensing and zoning, and registering the name of your business.  If this all seems a little overwhelming, we suggest starting with their Guide and going step-by-step.  If you are a library patron who lives in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Commerce has information on Illinois Small Business Development Centers.

The Library also has some great resources available, including Gale Small Business Builder, a fantastic tool that you can use to plan a business through starting, managing, and optimizing a business or nonprofit. The product is very user-friendly and walks you through the five areas of exploration to develop a business plan focused on long-term success.  We also offer Reference USA, a powerful tool to research lifestyle statistics, find business and residential data, and much more. Curious about how to patent or trademark your ideas? We have a Patent and Trademarks Resource Center here in Central Library! If you are interested in starting a nonprofit, our Grants and Foundations Center is the perfect place to research information on grantmakers and grants.

We also host sessions on small business topics here at Central Library. Offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers, and Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, you may find more information by searching the Library's Events page for “Business.”

If you would like to know more about our resources, please visit our website at or stop in and ask our friendly staff at Central Library in either the Science and Technology Room (1st floor) or the Social Sciences Room (2nd floor).

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