Small Business

By Category

Small Business Associations

Government Agencies
Starting a Small Business

Small Business Associations

Chester County Chambers of Commerce

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Local Small Business Associations

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National Small Business Associations

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State Small Business Associations

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Government Agencies


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  • Team PA
  • Pennsylvania Open for Business
  • Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau: Click on Searchable Corporations Databases to search State Corporation Records.
  • Use this website from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development to find information on starting a business in PA (click on Business) as well as a funding and program finder for businesses, communities, and site revitalization.
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Starting a Small Business

Business Plans

  • SBA Business Planning: A nice overview of a business plan. It includes a template of a business plan.
  • SBA and Palo Alto Software Sample Business Plans: A partnership between the SBA and Palo Alto Software. It includes plans for product businesses, service businesses, start-up businesses, established businesses, and home-based businesses.
  • SBA Online Publications: Find publications on a variety of business topics. Scroll down to "Management and Planning Series" to find examples of business plans for small manufacturers, small construction firms, small retailers, small service firms, and home-based businesses.
  • is operated by Palo Alto Software (see above for a link to the SBA/Palo Alto partnership). Palo Alto publishes a software packages called Business Plan Pro, Marketing Plan Pro, and Web Strategy Pro. Some of the plans from these packages are available for free online and are marked "Free Online."
  • SCORE Business Planning and Financial Statements Template Gallery: Find business planning, finance, sales, marketing and management templates and guides published by SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. The Chester & Delaware County Chapter of SCORE is the Chester County Library’s primary partner in providing workshops for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
  • How to Write a Business Plan by Discover Business: This resource is an overview of the process of writing a business plan, including information about how to conduct your research, introductions to the different sections you may want to include in your plan, and links to additional resources.
  • The Chester County Library also owns the Business Plans Handbook: (R 658.4012 B), a multi-volume set of successful business plans. Ask for it at the Chester County Library's Reference Desk or access it online through the Gale Virtual Reference Library database using a valid Chester County Library System library card. 
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Business, Consumer and Tools

Business Demographics

  • Economic Census: Conducted every five years, the Economic Census provides statistical information on business from the national to the local level. Search by NAICS: Code to find data on industries. Click here for the complete Economic Census 1997 Data
  • County Business Patterns: Another excellent resource from the Census, these reports have industry data on a county level by.
  • NAICS code
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: The BLS collects a variety of data useful for market research. Find statistics on headings such as: Inflation and Consumer Spending; Wages, Earnings, and Benefits; Productivity; Safety and Health; International; Occupations; Demographics of the Labor Force; Employment and Unemployment; Industries; and Business Costs.
  • County and City Data Book: The online version of the print reference, the County and City Data Book is full of useful statistics. Find statistics on area & population; vital statistics and health; education, income, and property; crime, housing, and building permits; personal income and earnings; manufacturing & water use; wholesale and retail trade; and accommodation and food services.
  • Business Expenses Survey: The purpose of this survey is "to provide periodic estimates on operating expenses for retail, merchant wholesale, and selected service firms."
  • Statistics of U.S. Businesses
  • BizStats compiles data from trade associations and government agencies into useful statistics for small businesses. There are national business statistics and specific statistics on small business industries.
  • Tax Statistics from the IRS
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States Produced by the Department of Commerce, the statistical handbook for the U.S. is available full-text on the web. Find data on all kinds of subjects including Vital Statistics; Health and Nutrition; Income, Expenditures, and Wealth; Prices; Business Enterprise; Manufactures; Domestic Trade and Services; Banking, Finance, and Insurance; and Information and Communication.
  • Regional Economic Conditions (RECON) from the FDIC

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Consumer Demographics

  • U.S. Census
  • American Factfinder: Use both of these websites to access Census Data.
  • Chester County Census 2000 Demographic Profiles: For detailed Census data on a particular county or township use the Demographic Profile. Click on the name of the county or township you wish to see. A PDF file will open with the data. DP-1 is general demographic information. DP-2 is selected social characteristics. DP-3 is selected economic characteristics. DP-3 is selected housing characteristics. The above link is for Chester County only. Search for Demographic profiles for other states, counties or municipalities at
  • Chester County Planning Commission: The Chester County Planning Commission collects and reports on demographics for Chester County. To see available reports, click on Census 2000 or Publications in the left frame. The Planning Commission also prepares the Chester County Profile.
  • Pennsylvania State Data Center: Pennsylvania's site for demographic and economic data.
  • Population Projections from the U.S. Census: Find national and state population projections.
  • ERSI Free Tapestry Report: Enter a zip code to get a free tapestry report (consumer market segmentation).
  • Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Provides information on the "buying habits for American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.
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Demographics Tools

  • NAICS/SIC Code Lookup: Use this page to determine the SIC code or NAICS code for a business type or to convert an SIC code to a NAICS code or vice versa. To Find a Code: Type a keyword in the Enter a Search Keyword Box and click NAICS Search. An Index entry page will be returned with a NAICS code. Clicking on the NAICS code will bring up a definition that will include the corresponding SIC code.
  • SIC Code Lookup
  • Melissa Data Lookup Directory: A wide variety of tools. Some are free; some require payment. Especially useful ones are ZIPs in a Radius and ZIP Codes by County. Some of the tools require free registration to access entire list of results.
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  • SBA Financing Your Business: Good information on financing a business from the SBA. Includes information on SBA Loan Programs.
  • Funding & Program Finder from Department of Community and Economic Development site for finding funding sources for businesses, communities and site revitalization in Pennsylvania.
  • : The "official Federal government loans website." Click on Business Loans to see Federal loans available for small businesses. Each loan has a description, a comparison feature, and a "Could I qualify" questionnaire.
  • Small Business Credit Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Established in 2010, the Small Business Credit Survey is an annual survey of firms with fewer than 500 employees reporting on business performance, financing needs and choices, and borrowing experiences.
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance: A database of all Federal programs for assistance.

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General Information

  • SBA Starting Your Business
  • SBA Managing Your Business
  • CCH Business Owner's Toolkit: Information on owning a small business from Commerce ClearingHouse. Scroll down to the CCH Small Business Guide to find topics including starting a business, planning a business, getting financing for a business, and marketing a business.
  • Entrepreneur's Resource Center from the Edward Lowe Foundation: Click on Entrepreneur's Guide. An excellent site for information on small business. Browse through topics such as defining and serving a market, building an organization, acquiring and managing finances, human resource management, and legal issues. There is a keyword search that leads to articles as well.
  • Kauffman eVenturing
  • Business & Human Resources from NOLO: Information on starting and running a business. Click on Starting a Business to find articles, topics, and tools for starting a business.
  •  is an excellent resource for all things related to marketing and is developed by a professor at West Chester University. There is an excellent section on market research ( The site also includes tutorials on the principles of marketing, market research and writing a marketing plan.
  • Startup Journal from The Wall Street Journal is the world's largest online resource for small businesses, providing essential tools and resources to start, grow, and manage your business.
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Pennsylvania Resources

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