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Business Research at Charleston County Public Library
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Business Research at Charleston County Public Library

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Get a quick introduction to the top business research resources available for free through Charleston County Public Library.

Get a quick introduction to the top business research resources available for free through Charleston County Public Library.


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  • Most people already know about something that the library has…lots of books.
    Yes, you can find all these books and thousands more like them on business at your local public library. If you can make it there when we’re open, assuming someone else hasn’t checked out the book before you got there.
  • Fortunately for us, there’s so much more to the library thanks to the power of the Internet!
    Libraries have been busy since the advent of the Internet. Your local public libraries, in partnership with the South Carolina State Library’s DISCUS program, have built a whole new kind of library for our state. County library websites are now more like online library branches, filled with millions of trade journal articles, industry overviews, statistics, business profiles, and more—all available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Whether you’re just starting a business or have been in the trenches for years, every day is a learning experience. You never know when you’ll encounter something you’ve never dealt with before. The library has some good resources to handle your general business questions.
    Check out Small Business Resource Center and Small Business Reference Center at http://tinyurl.com/ccplbusinessdatabases. Find over 300 sample business plans, preselected searches on popular businesses and even business topics such as pricing, marketing, and more.
  • Not every business question has to do with how to run your small business. Sometimes you need to find out more about industry trends to see if what you’re experiencing is par for the course. Maybe you want to know more about how the leaders in your industry operate to see if there’s something you’re missing.
    Business Insights: Essentials is a great tool for finding this kind of information. You can find company profiles with financials for public companies, industry overviews, trade journal articles and more with this powerful database. I’ve been using the predecessor of this database, Business & Company Resource Center, for years and I still find things in there that are a pleasant surprise.
    Business Source Premiere is a lot like Business Insights: Essentials. It has articles from trade journals as well as and company reports and market research reports from Datamonitor. Try a keyword search, then play around with the search controls on the left side of the results screen to really dig deeply into the data.
  • Not every business question has to do with how to run your small business. Sometimes you need to find out more about industry trends to see if what you’re experiencing is par for the course. Maybe you want to know more about how the leaders in your industry operate to see if there’s something you’re missing.
    Business Insights: Essentials is a great tool for finding this kind of information. You can find company profiles with financials for public companies, industry overviews, trade journal articles and more with this powerful database. I’ve been using the predecessor of this database, Business & Company Resource Center, for years and I still find things in there that are a pleasant surprise.
  • Not every business question has to do with how to run your small business. Sometimes you need to find out more about industry trends to see if what you’re experiencing is par for the course. Maybe you want to know more about how the leaders in your industry operate to see if there’s something you’re missing.
    Business Insights: Essentials is a great tool for finding this kind of information. You can find company profiles with financials for public companies, industry overviews, trade journal articles and more with this powerful database. I’ve been using the predecessor of this database, Business & Company Resource Center, for years and I still find things in there that are a pleasant surprise.
  • Market Research can be expensive if you pay someone to do it for you, but why do it when the Library’s resources are here?
    Want a more in-depth profile that’s drop dead easy? Take a few minutes to use DemographicsNow. This database can help you pinpoint who will be most likely to buy your product, where in town will you find them, and where you might want to open a new location.
    You’ll be amazed at what you can find out. This is your tax dollars hard at work!
  • Market Research can be expensive if you pay someone to do it for you, but why do it when the Library’s resources are here?
    Want a more in-depth profile that’s drop dead easy? Take a few minutes to use DemographicsNow. This database can help you pinpoint who will be most likely to buy your product, where in town will you find them, and where you might want to open a new location.
    You’ll be amazed at what you can find out. This is your tax dollars hard at work!
  • If you work in a B2B environment, or if you’d like to spy on your local competitors, here’s a showstopping tool for you: ReferenceUSA. The publisher, infoUSA will sell you their data individually, but why pay for it twice? Use the Library’s subscription to build a mailing list or check out your competitors. You can even play from work!
  • Market Research can be expensive if you pay someone to do it for you, but why do it when the Library’s resources are here?
    Want a more in-depth profile that’s drop dead easy? Take a few minutes to use DemographicsNow. This database can help you pinpoint who will be most likely to buy your product, where in town will you find them, and where you might want to open a new location.
    You’ll be amazed at what you can find out. This is your tax dollars hard at work!
  • All you need for access is a CCPL library card, free for in county residents, $40 for out of county cards, which is a steal since one purchase of this type of data from the publishers would cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
    If you don’t have a library card, take a few minutes and pick one up at any CCPL branch. You’ll be glad you did!
  • Before you begin, here are some tips for conducting business research.
    First, know your SIC and NAICS codes. The US Government devised these systems to study the US economy by dividing up the businesses by industry. Many business research publishers use these codes to organize their sources by industry, too. SIC is an older system that is no longer updated but still used; NAICS is a newer system that is regularly updated.
    You can search the manuals online at these sites. If you have trouble determining the NAICS code, contact the Census Bureau for help at naics@census.gov. If you’re having problems with the SIC code, check your business license: many municipalities will include your SIC code on your license.
  • Luckily there are a few organizations in the Charleston area that provide advice and technical assistance to small businesses. They include organizations like the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, the SC Women’s Business Center, the Small Business Development Center, among others.
    You can find links to many of these organizations at smallbusinesscharleston.org.
  • Luckily there are a few organizations in the Charleston area that provide advice and technical assistance to small businesses. They include organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, the Small Business Development Center and others.
    You can find links to many of these organizations at this website.
  • Once you get home, you’re not alone! Give us a call if you have questions. Our Reference staff is here whenever we’re open. If they can’t answer your question, they’ll consult with me and one of us will get back to you. We also offer 30 minute research consultations by appointment.
    We’re happy to help. Good luck with your business research!
  • Transcript

    • 1. Business Research at
    • 2. You Already Know This Much… Libraries have lots of books on running a business http://catalog.ccpl.org
    • 3. Happily, There’s So Much More! Available 24/7 at your online library branch http://www.ccpl.org
    • 4. Answer Small Business Questions and Articles, business plan samples, directory information, and advice for many types of small business http://tinyurl.com/ccplbusinessdatabases
    • 5. Get Insight Into Companies, Industries, & Markets and Corporate profiles, industry overviews, articles, market research, etc. http://tinyurl.com/ccplbusinessdatabases
    • 6. Find Demographics for Market Research Download in-depth, customizable reports for local population, income, housing, consumer expenditures, businesses, and more! http://tinyurl.com/ccplbusinessdatabases
    • 7. Make A B2B Mailing List or Spy On Your Competition Spy on 13 million+ public and private businesses: Who’s in charge? What do they do? How much do they earn & spend? Contact information? http://tinyurl.com/ccplbusinessdatabases
    • 8. Research your investment options. and Both sources offer data on stocks, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles.
    • 9. Find Grants & Research Grantmakers CCPL is a funding information network partner of the Foundation Center. If you haven’t already done so, ask John for a one-on-one tutorial on using the Foundation Center. http://tinyurl.com/ccplbusinessdatabases
    • 10. How Do I Get Started? If you live in Charleston County, get a free CCPL library card. Live elsewhere in SC? Buy an out of county card or stop by & use CCPL resources for free!
    • 11. Business Research Tips: Know Your Code and Many research sources use NAICS or SIC codes to organize businesses by industry. http://www.census.gov/naics http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/sicsearch.html
    • 12. Business Research Tips: Ask an Expert Several organizations in the Charleston area offer free or low-cost advice and technical assistance to small businesses. Learn more at: http://www.smallbusinesscharleston.org
    • 13. Business Research Tips: Perform a Sanity Check Some business questions may be difficult or expensive to answer. Before you spend time on research or pay for data, be sure you really need it.
    • 14. Need Help? We’re Here For You! 805-6930 askaquestion@ccpl.org Research consultations available by appointment http://bit.ly/askccpl