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Business 101

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How you can use local library resources to get your business up and running

Once the dust settles on the COVID-19 pandemic — and it will settle — there will be many brave souls ready to take the plunge into new business ventures. So if you’ve been thinking about starting a business but you’re unsure of where to begin, might we suggest a trip to your local Cobb County library branch?

The first card you need when launching a new business isn’t a company credit card — it’s a library card! You may be surprised to learn that the library can be a fantastic resource for assistance in getting your business up and running. For example, ask your local librarian for help with the Business Insights: Essentials portal from Gale, an educational resource company that has partnered with libraries around the world. Through this free, online resource, users can find in-depth information on U.S. and international businesses, industries, and products. Such data would be instrumental when conducting your due diligence before starting your own venture. Through this program, you can:

  •  Investigate investment opportunities;
  •  Find parent-subsidiary relationships;
  •  Obtain competitive intelligence, market share information, and product trends;
  •  Explore market-industry information and analyses;
  •  Study product and brand information; and
  •  Compare companies within an industry.

The next step in your research should be education. Every great leader/business owner knows that they don’t know everything. They remain successful by continuing to learn. Your local library has hundreds of available online, instructor-led courses that you can access via your local branch or from the comfort of your home. All you need is a library card. Just log in, find the courses you would like to take and enroll. It’s that easy! For example, as of early April, there were 20 courses available for people looking to start a business. Taking the time to learn from a few experts will save you from making rookie mistakes as you begin your new enterprise.

And once you have that shiny, new library card, don’t forget that you now have access to thousands of books and audio books to help you stay abreast of trends in your chosen industry, and to find motivation or inspiration when the need arises. Additionally, your library card will allow you access to MorningStar analysis on stocks, mutual funds, and exchange traded funds and other investment-related research. As a new business owner, this data can be valuable in understanding market trends that will affect your business.

Finally, if you’re about to embark on a business ownership journey for the first time, the Cobb County Public Library system has developed a 14-step plan to help you get started. The “Keys To Starting A Business In Cobb County” brochure is available at your local branch and contains a thorough list of the state and federal agencies you’ll need to contact and the forms you’ll need to complete. The information is broken down into the following categories:

1. Developing a Business Concept

2. Forming a Legal Business Structure

3. Registering a Business Name

4. Getting an EIN from the IRS

5. Business Licenses and More

6. Georgia Business Taxes

7. Contacting Regulatory Agencies

8. Writing Your Business Plan

9. Insurance for Your Business

10. Financing Your Business

11. Hiring Employees

12. Your Intellectual Property

13. Cobb Business Resources

14. Additional Local Resources

Clearly, your local library is your best resource to prepare you to start your own business. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of such a wealth of information? You can join the Cobb County Library system online at cobbcat.org, and once the local branches are open again to the public, take advantage of those as well. Cobb’s libraries consist of the following locations:

  •  Switzer Library
  •  East Cobb Library
  •  Gritters Library
  •  Kemp Library
  •  Lewis A. Ray Library
  •  Mountain View Regional Library
  •  North Cobb Regional Library
  •  Powder Springs Library
  •  Sewell Mill Library
  •  Sibley Library
  •  South Cobb Regional Library
  •  Stratton Library
  •  Sweetwater Library
  •  Vinings Library
  •  West Cobb Regional Library
  •  Windy Hill Library