Small Business Associations
Starting a Small Business
- Business Plans
- Demographics- Business, Consumer and Tools
- General Information
- Pennsylvania Resources
Small Business Associations
Chester County Chambers of Commerce
- Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry
- Downingtown-Thorndale Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Exton Region Chamber of Commerce
- Great Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce
- Main Line Chamber of Commerce
- Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce
- Phoenixville Area Chamber of Commerce
- Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce
- Tri-County Chamber of Commerce
- Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce
Local Small Business Associations
- Chester County Economic Development Council
- Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center at West Chester University
- Kutztown Small Business Development Center (KUSBDC)
- The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
- SCORE of Chester & Delaware County
- Small Business Assistance Center
- Wharton Small Business Development Center
- Women’s Business Connection of Chester County
National Small Business Associations
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State Small Business Associations
- Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (PASBDC)
- Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
- Small Business Association Eastern Pennsylvania District Office
- Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Small Business Resources from USA.gov: Learn the steps to start a small business, get financing help from the government, and more
- Tax Information for Businesses from the IRS
- Business Information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Business education campaigns from the FTC.
- SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership
- Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Portal
- SBA Office of Veterans Business Development
- International Trade Administration
- Team PA
- Pennsylvania Small Business Assistance Network (SBAN)
- Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau: Click on Searchable Corporations Databases to search State Corporation Records.
- NewPA.com: 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.
Starting a Small Business
- 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 Business Plan Tool: Creating a business plan is one of the most important steps you will take because the plan serves as your road map for the early years of your business. SBA's Business Plan Tool provides you with a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
- Bplans.com: Bplans.com 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.
Business, Consumer and Tools
- Economic Census: Conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau 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.
- County Business Patterns: is an annual series published by the U.S. Census Bureau that provides subnational economic data by industry. It may be helpful to access their Data User Guide when using this resource.
- 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.
- 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.com: 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
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- U.S. Census
- American Factfinder: Use both of these websites to access Census Data.
- Chester County Community Facts from American FactFinder: Use the tabs on the left of the page to view data that the U.S. Census Bureau has gathered on population, education levels, income, veteran status, and more.
- Chester County Planning Commission: The mission of the Chester County Planning Commission is to provide future growth and preservation plans to citizens. Take a look at their Maps and Resources for tabular data, reports, and maps regarding the people, economy, governments, and land features of Chester County.
- Pennsylvania State Data Center: Pennsylvania's site for demographic and economic data.
- Population and Housing Unit Estimates from the U.S. Census: Find national and state population estimates.
- ERSI Free Tapestry Report: Enter a zip code to get a free tapestry report (consumer market segmentation). Learn more about your potential market with Tapestry Segment Summaries.
- 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.
- 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.
- SBA Financing Your Business: Good information on financing a business from the SBA. Includes information on SBA Loan Programs.
- Funding & Program Finder: from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Find funding sources for businesses, communities and site revitalization in Pennsylvania.
- GovLoans.gov : 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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- Franchises and Business Opportunities from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Information from the FTC regarding franchises. Includes A Consumer’s Guide to Buying a Franchise.
- Franchise Zone from Entrepreneur Magazine Check out the Franchise500 for information on specific franchises.
- The Franchise Registry: A partnership between the SBA and FRANDATA to help "expedite the processing of loans to small business franchisees." The Registry "lists names of franchise companies whose franchisees enjoy the benefits of a streamlined review process for SBA loan applications."
- International Franchise Association (IFA): Search for franchise opportunities by category or browse A-Z index.
- Small Business Loans for Franchise Financing: an informative article about using small business loans as an option to help finance your franchise.
- Starting and Managing Your Business: from the U.S. Small Business Administration
- Entrepreneur's Resource Center: from the Edward Lowe Foundation. 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
- KnowThis.com: is an excellent resource for all things related to marketing 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.
- AllBusiness.com: is one of the world's largest online resource for small businesses, providing essential tools and resources to start, grow, and manage your business.
- Fiscal Tiger Small Business Leaning Center: Resources include general information for entrepreneurs with a focus on tips for navigating the financial aspects of owning a small business.
- Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development resources for small business owners: is a comprehensive collection of tools and resources for the small business owner or entrepreneur. Includes a downloadable copy of the Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Growing a Business in Pennsylvania.
- Forms: from the Pennsylvania Department of State's Corporation Bureau A collection of forms for filing information with the Corporation Bureau.