By Patty Crane
JOPLIN, Mo- —
If I were to consider a different career, I might like to own a restaurant because I like to cook. Of course I’m sure that is like saying I am a librarian because I like to read. (I don’t get to read near as much as you would think.)
But if I were to consider a career change, I have just the resource to help me get started: The Small Business Resource Center. This online database is part of the Gale databases provided to us through MOREnet (Missouri Research and Education Network).
The Small Business Resource Center is designed to help anyone who is thinking about owning, or already owns, a small business. You will find information on how to get started, financing, management, human resources, marketing and more.
The database contains more than 1.1 million articles from 79 reference titles and 195 journals. You can search by keyword or subject on the whole database, or you can access information by topic. The homepage has the basic search box with the topic links on the right of the search box.
Because I’m a novice on starting a business, I choose the “How toÉ” link. I have several How to’s to choose from: start a small business, write a business plan, buy or sell a business, finance a business, market, grow and locate or expand your business.
When I click on “How to Start a Small Business” I get a list of journal articles covering a variety of issues on business startup. At the top of the list I see the different tabs for the information. This topic only has information under the “Articles” and “Overviews” tabs.
When I click on “Overviews” I find information from the reference titles such as business plans, company objectives, making a presentation, business models, marketing, and much more.
Under “How to Write a Business Plan” I find not only the articles and overviews but also a business plan template. The template lists everything I’ll need to address to create a plan. If I want to see samples of completed business plans I can go back to the homepage and click on the “Sample Business Plans” link.
There are more than 400 plans to choose from and I can search them by the type of business. Searching for restaurants I can view 33 different business plans covering bistros, diners, ice cream shops, coffee houses, taverns, and more.
I can also use the “Business Types” link and choose the type of business and get everything at once. When I choose “Restaurants” I have information under all the tabs for business plans, articles, overviews, directories and Web sites.
Under the “Directories” tab I find contact information and pricing for different kinds of directories that could help me with the business. Under the “Web sites” tab I can access videos from SBTV.com, a television network on the web with a variety of short videos devoted to small business.
If I want information on businesses in general, I can look under the “Business Topics” link on the homepage. There are more than 50 topics covering things such as taxes, cash flow, customer service, insurance, outsourcing, advertising, branding and much more.
The last link on the homepage is for “Forms” and takes you to another Gale database provided by the library, Gale Legal Forms. You can browse through the categories of forms or can search for what you want using the search box in the upper left corner.
When you search and browse through the database you have the options to print, email, and download information. You can also create an account and mark items so you can go back to the information in the future without have to search for it again. The Help link is easy to use and provides easy to understand explanations on the tools, searching, and use of the database.
The Small Business Resource Center is available to everyone who comes into the library and from home to those of you with a library card. To access from home go to http://www.joplinpubliclibrary.org and click on Reference then choose Business.