Check It Out

All the information you need to start your business is the library.

When you're getting ready to start a new business, you have dozens of questions that need answers. How do you define your market, identify your competition and determine growth potential in your industry? What about targeting new customers and getting start-up capital? The answers to these and hundreds of other questions are right around the corner . . . at your public library.

If the last time you visited a library was with your sixth-grade class field trip, now's the time to get reacquainted. Where else can you get so much valuable information--most of it free? With many libraries now offering access to databases and the Internet, a world of information is just a few keystrokes away.

In fact, the average library has so much data, it can be overwhelming. Where do you look first? Follow along with Jane Smith, a start-up entrepreneur visiting her local library to research a new business idea. Smith wants to market a line of handmade greeting cards featuring pets in playful, humorous settings. She believes there's a niche for her Wagging Tales cards, but before she proceeds, she needs more information.

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This article was originally published in the June 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Check It Out.

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