Start Your Own Business: Research & Planning

Are you thinking about starting your own business? Business ownership can be a dream come true for many people. Perhaps you want to be accountable to only yourself, you want to set your own hours and schedule, or you have a passion for something that you think will make the lives of others better. Whatever your reason, the library has valuable resources to help you on your way.

Not sure where to start? From researching your market and writing a business plan to determining funding options and filing paperwork, our library has resources to help you reach your goals.

To begin researching your potential business market, search online to see if there are similar businesses like the one you plan to open in your area. Are there none, or many? Try to find out how long similar businesses have been operating. If there are no businesses currently in operation in your area, try to find out why. If there were similar businesses to your proposed one and they are now closed, try to find out why they closed. These may be indicators of the potential market for your future business. You can perform this type of research by using the database Reference USA, opens a new window for free at the library, or from your personal computer or electronic device by entering in your library card number.

When writing your business plan, there are many questions you will need to answer, including thoroughly outlining why there is a need for your service or product, what is unique about your business in comparison to your competitors, and how your business will address your communities’ needs.

There is also a wide array of information to consider and plan for when starting a business beyond initial research. Check out the list of library resources below for books about writing a business plan, small business tax information, legal guides and forms, accounting and finance, staffing, and more.  

The database Small Business Reference Center, opens a new window provides a slew of helpful business-related information from starting a company to operations management and sales to growing or rescuing a business. There are interviews, ‘how to” videos, and state-specific resources available as well.

Online Resources

The Louisiana Economic Development site provides information to help you start a small business in Louisiana, opens a new window, as well as information regarding financing and capital for small businesses, opens a new window. Another helpful website to learn how to start a business, find funding, win government contracts, and more in Louisiana is the "Louisiana" page, opens a new window.

You can also visit the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development page, opens a new window for Louisiana Resources and information regarding rural business development grants in Louisiana., opens a new window

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) provides environmental regulatory assistance and information to small businesses, opens a new window and communities. Just a few of the industries included in their list of environmental regulations are body shops, bakeries, dry cleaners, gas stations, refrigeration/AC, and many more. 

If your dream business is in the food industry, you can review the Louisiana Department of Health’s regulations and permitting process for opening a retail food establishment in Louisiana here, opens a new window.  

Library Resources

We have gathered a multitude of business resources located on our website's Business Resources page, opens a new window.

To view a sampling of the business resources available at the library, click on the resource list below.

Resources for Starting Your Own Business

View Full List

Contact a Reference Librarian, opens a new window if you have questions about using or locating any of our business resources. Are you interested in more business resources? In March I will be sharing information about nonprofits and grant writing resources and in April I will feature fundraising resources that are available here at the library.