Business StartUp Center

We have many information resources dedicated to small business and nonprofit organization start-up and growth!

Our Business StartUp Center is a collection of both print and online resources to help you plan, finance, manage and grow your business.  The StartUp Center is part of a network of business support services in Southfield and Oakland County.

Planning Your Business

The planning phase of any endeavor is all about the research. The StartUp Center will make this part of your job a little easier. Use the Library’s resources to find information trends, market data, demographics, information on your competitors, sample business plans and financial benchmarks to help plan your budget.


You need to know your industry inside and out. Some sources to help you are:

  • Economic Indicators (online) – Find industry-specific data collected by the U.S. government.
  • Encyclopedia of Associations and National Trade & Professional Associations of the U.S. (books) – Two sources of association information.  Associations provide a lot of information about industries and markets.  Find out about conferences and conventions where you can learn more or sell your good or service.
  • NAICS Manual (book & online) – Every industry has a NAICS number – finding yours makes your research easier.

Know who your competitors are by using these sources:

  • Reference Solutions (online)* – Conduct customized searches.  For example, you can find how many coffee shops are in Oakland County.
  • D&B Regional Business Directory (book) – Basic information about businesses of all kinds in southeast Michigan.
  • Google Maps (online) – Quickly see who’s out there doing the same thing you want to do.
  • Chambers of Commerce – Find a list of members to see who’s involved in the business community in your prospective operating area.

Find demographic information on consumers using:

  • Demographics Now (online)* – Create custom reports on specific geographic areas and find out which market segments live near your prospective store front.
  • Rand McNally’s Commercial Atlas & Marketing Guide (book) – Find the “marketability” factor of metro areas across the country.
  • SEMCOG (online) – One of metro Detroit’s best sources of population and transportation data.
Growing Your Business
  • Use Reference Solutions* to create a list of sales leads.
  • Use Demographics Now* to research a new target market.
Managing Your Business
  • Business Insights: Global* to find helpful articles about management issues.
  • RMA Annual Statement Studies (books) – See how your business compares to similar ones.
  • A multitude of books – Find information on specific management issues with timely, recently published books covering topics such as evaluating employees, team building or leadership strategies.
Financing Your Business
  • Resources for Business and Nonprofit Organizations:
  • Use Reference Solutions* to create a list of potential corporate sponsors or other nonprofits to partner with.
  • Use Business Insights: Global to find articles on venture capital firms and trends in start-up funding.
  • Research sources of grant money with the Foundation Center directories.
Additional Sources
Other sources of help for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners:
  • The City of Southfield’s Business Development Department offers assistance with site location, cutting “red tape,” Brownfield redevelopment and networking opportunities.
  • The Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce provides networking events, discounted marketing opportunities and an entrepreneurial community.  Call (248) 557 – 6661 or go to
  • Oakland County’s Advantage Oakland offers workshops, business name registration, workforce training, help finding a location and research assistance.  Call (248) 858 – 0721 or go to
  • SCORE offers workshops and free counseling for aspiring entrepreneurs.  Call (313) 226 – 7947 or go to
  • The One Stop Shop Business Center offers workshops, counseling and research assistance.  Call (248) 858 – 0783 (Oakland County) or go to
  • Automation Alley is a technology business association that has workshops and networking events.  Call (248) 457 – 3200 or go to
  • Tech Town offers classes, office space and a community of entrepreneurs.  Call (313) 879 – 5250 or go to

Stop by the reference desk on the third floor, call (248) 796 – 4280 or e-mail

Did You Know?

Take a break from your business research and enjoy our Library’s quiet spaces to read and study; use our group study rooms; and check out our audiobooks, DVDs and music CDs!



*Premium online source for use in the Library or over the internet using your Southfield Public Library card.

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