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What's New: Business

Writing Your Business Plan

You Need a Plan

You might think that a business plan is only necessary if you are applying for loans or grants to fund your business. That is simply not true. No matter your type of business or how you plan on funding it, a good business plan is essential to your planning process. It will show others, such as potential partners or funders, that you have put the careful planning necessary into your business. But most importantly, it will help you to lay out your vision for your business. It will also help you monitor how your business has progressed toward that vision.

How to Get Started

Okay, you know you need a plan. Now what? There are numerous library databases, websites, and books that can help you get started! Here are just a few. Remember, you can always Book a Librarian and get some one-on-one help with your research.

Databases available through PPLD

  • Business Plans Handbook
    Examples of how to approach, structure and compose business plans. Includes a collection of actual business plans compiled by entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses throughout North America.
  • ReferenceUSA
    Reference USA contains information on 44 Million Businesses, 4.1 New Businesses, and 148 Million Residents and now includes lifestyle and consumer data on over 60 market segments to help identify new market opportunities. ReferenceUSA also includes 2.5 million job and internship postings.
  • U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles
    Identify viable prospects for new market opportunities based on 60 market segments for millions of consumers. Link goes to ReferenceUSA, then click on the U.S. Consumers / Lifestyles link.
  • BusinessDecision
    GIS data, reports, and maps providing consumer market, market segmentation, and demographic data.

Books in the PPLD Catalog


  • Business Plan Tutorial

    Step-by-step guide to uses of and writing a business plan.

  • Business Plan - Colorado Business Resource Book
    A guide to creating a business plan from the Colorado Small Business Development Center. Includes a sample outline and planning hints.
  • Bplans
    Free business plan samples and templates, business planning resources, how-to articles, financial calculators, and more.
  • Write Your Business Plan
    A guide on business plans from the Small Business Administration.
  • --S. Nagle, 11/2016

Comments: 1

BusinessDecision database

BusinessDecision is a database that covers consumer markets, providing information on demographics, market segmentation, and business information. It is a very powerful way for business owners, non-profits, or entrepreneurs to research markets or other businesses in a particular area.

When you’re getting started with Busines Decision, you have the option to choose “Express Login” or to create your own private login. Express Login will list all of the searches that have been performed by PPLD library users who have used that login. If you create your own account, the database will save just your searches, and no one else can view them. Once you create a new project, you must specify a geographic area in which to perform the search. You can do this by clicking on the map, or by entering an address manually. You can then choose the radius of your search.

The next step is to choose which reports to run. There are 16 reports to choose from. You can choose one or all of them. Each report gives different information for the geographic area you have chosen. For instance, Landscape Report will give you the top 20 distinctive market segments for that particular area. These segments, defined by BusinessDecision, are groups of people that share certain traits such as income, age, or education level.

Once you’ve chosen your reports, BusinessDecision runs them within seconds. You can view or download the reports in PDF format.

Click here to give BusinessDecision a try.

BusinessDecision can be an invaluable tool if you’re researching consumer markets or businesses in a particular area. As always, we are here to help if you have questions! Attend the next Minding Your Business class at Penrose Library or Library 21c for a demonstration of this database.

Comments: 0

Gale Directory Library contains a wide variety of information that can help you start and grow your business. The database is a combination of several directories that cover the Encyclopedia of Associations, from the local to international level, as well as the Gale Directory of Early Stage Investment.

If you're looking for funding for your business, the Directory of Early Stage Investment could be a great place to start. It includes detailed information on venture capitalists, business incubators, angel investors, corporate investment divisions, crowd-funding and co-operative groups.

The Encyclopedia of Associations can help you identify associations that might apply to your topic or industry. Associations are valuable sources of information because they often will collect data on their industry of interest. Many associations have whole libraries of data and statistics that can help you with market research, competitors, industry reports, and much more. Becoming a member of a relevant association can be well worth the membership fee not just for the industry information that they can provide you with, but for making connections with others in your industry.

You can search the Gale Directory Library by entity name, keyword, or subject. Search the entire database, or use the "Advanced Search" function to search just a specific publication.

You can access this and other business databases through PPLD's Business/Finance subject guide. If you're accessing the database from your home or office, you will be prompted to login using your library card number and PIN. Once you login you have access to this resource totally free!

Take some time to explore this resource and, as always, we're here to help if you have questions!

Comments: 0

Every Wednesday we’ll post about a different database or website – all of which can be accessed through!

Business Plans Handbook

Business Plans Handbook

This 32-volume set contains actual business plans from working businesses. Designed to be an example for entrepreneurs who are compiling their own business plans, this series covers several industries and popular business types going back to 1993.

Since Business Plans Handbook is part of the Gale Virtual Reference Library, it has some really helpful features. One of the best features of Business Plans Handbook is that you can search the entire series by keyword. The search feature scans the full-text of all 640 business plans in the collection. This is helpful because you might not know the exact title of the business plan that would be most helpful in writing your own. By typing in a keyword, you get back any results that contain that keyword. You might be surprised by what you find.

Other features of the database:

  • You can view the full text of business plans online or download them in pdf format.
  • You can email or print directly from the database
  • You can listen online to an audio version of the business plan or download it as an mp3
  • There are built-in citation tools

Click here to access Business Plans Handbook. Take some time to explore this resource, and check back next week for information on another business database!

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PPLD is proud to announce our newest resource,! has thousands of online video tutorials to help you learn software, creative, and business skills.

Lynda.comVideos are on the following topics:

  • 3D + Animation
  • Audio + Music
  • Business
  • Design
  • Developer
  • Education
  • Photography
  • Video
  • Web

And best of all, it's FREE with your library card! Click here to start using this amazing resource now.

Comments: 2

From computer, meeting rooms, databases, and printing, to makerspaces, tutorials, and much more, all your business and entrepreneurial needs are met at Library 21c. And it's FREE! Watch this video for more information:

Comments: 0