Open Business Library
Information is the key to good business decisions. There is a great deal of good information freely available online. The following website links, downloadable templates and tools provide a starting point for your business research. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
Documents to strengthen your business concept and startup assumptions.
- Lean Canvas – A business model is how the business turns an idea into money. Start mapping out your idea by printing a blank canvas or using the free, online canvanizer. See our lean startup for small business page.
- Is it a Good Idea? – Four key questions help provide a reality check about new venture feasibility.
- Small Business Handbook - Updated in 2016, the Governor's Small Business Handbook has pages of resources and information on how to start a business in Texas.
Tools and templates to help you create an effective business plan.
- Business Plan Outline – The standard version used by the U.S. Small Business Administration and SBDC’s across the nation.
- Business Plan Workbook - SCORE’s step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, with embedded sales forecasting, cash flow and financial projection spreadsheets.
- SCORE's Business Template Gallery - A curated gallery of business planning templates, financial analysis and projections tools.
Documents to help with marketing.
- Simple Guide to Your Small Business Marketing Plan - The Illinois SBDC takes the mystery out of writing a marketing plan via the "4Ps of Marketing."
- The Ultimate Guide to Startup Marketing - Onboardly's logical, step-by-step guide to marketing.
- Growth Hacking (Lean Marketing for Startups) - A set of tactics for getting & monetizing more users.
- How to Calculate Market Size - Steve Blank describes how to do top-down and bottom-up market opportunity estimation.
- The Beginner's Guide to PR - How to get free publicity via editorial coverage.
Various online data sources for doing market research.
- Guide to Online Market Research - James J. Hill Reference Library's very comprehensive resource guide for doing market research.
- Industry Research & Analysis - Valuation Resources.com's free guide to industry research, trends analysis and business valuation resources.
Clients working with McLennan SBDC business advisors have free access to the following subscription databases, through our one-to-one advisory services:
Information about the types of SBA loans and how to obtain them.
- SBA Loan Program Quick Reference Guide - Overview of SBA loan types, maximum loan amounts, interest rates, percent of guarantee, loan qualifications, etc.
- 7 (a) Loan Application Checklist - Outlines documentation you'll need to have ready for your lender.
- Basic Lending Guidelines - Describes the "Five C's" - basic components of credit analysis used by lenders.
Alternative funding sources for your business.
- The Truth About Grants - No government agency is handing out free money to
start a business. See our FAQ about grants.
- Crowdfunding - Dataset compilation focusing on reliable and actionable crowd funding sources and sites.
- Microloans - Many entrepreneurs - especially freelance, online and home-based businesses - require only a few thousand dollars to get started. If this is the case for you, consider a microloan.
- Venture Capital - Get the lowdown. Finding venture funding for your business is extremely difficult. VCs fund only one or two ventures out of every 100 business plans they see.
More valuable information and assistance for your business.
- Business Owner's Toolkit - BizFiling’s site features more than 5,000 pages of free cost-cutting tips, step-by-step checklists, real-life case studies, startup advice, and business templates for small-business owners and entrepreneurs.
- Small Business Website Development Toolkit - GoDaddy and SCORE collaborated to create a guide to optimize your website.
- 8 (a) Business Development Program - In order to help more small, disadvantaged businesses bid for government contracts, the SBA created the 8 (a) business development program.
- HUBZone Program - The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement and government contracting opportunities.
- Environmental Compliance Assistance - The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Small Business and Local Government Assistance (SBLGA) program provides confidential technical assistance with environmental regulation without the threat of enforcement.
Take the next step to meet with an advisor about your business planning, marketing and/or funding needs.