Check It Out

Chapter One

Smith visits the general reference section to ask the librarian how to get started. "The best place to start is the online catalog. We call ours `Eureka,' " the librarian says. "It replaces the old-fashioned paper card catalog and tells you what books and pamphlets are available on the greeting card industry."

Using Eureka, Smith finds several books with good industry statistics. At the librarian's suggestion, she also checks the Business Periodical Index, a separate online computer system, to search for magazine and newspaper articles on successful greeting card companies and consumer tastes in greeting cards.

With this foundation, Smith heads to the business reference section. She needs more specific information. "What should I do next?" she asks.

"Why don't you begin with The Small Business Sourcebook: The Entrepreneur's Resource?" suggests the reference librarian. "It's a compilation of 17,000 sources, including books, articles, statistics and other data on various industries. There's also information on starting a business."

The Sourcebook (Gale Research) is a perfect start. Smith finds several magazine articles on greeting card entrepreneurs, plus names of trade shows and conventions. She also notes a helpful periodical called Greeting Card Market that covers industry trends and marketing techniques.

To find associations representing greeting card businesses, Smith peruses the Encyclopedia of Associations (Gale Research), a three-volume reference book listing nearly 30,000 associations. She finds a listing for the Greeting Card Association, including an address and phone number, services, publications, conventions and contacts.

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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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