(Due to current Social Distancing guidelines, the library will not have any in-person appointments available for the foreseeable future. As soon as the restrictions are lifted and library policy dictates that it is safe to do so, we will re-activate these options as well as many other of our library services. Thank you for your patience and understanding.)
If you are starting a new business or simply thinking about it, the first thing you should do is contact Central Library.
Meet with a librarian one-on-one to help you learn more about the major factors involved in becoming an entrepreneur. You will be introduced to business resources including Reference USA, Business Insights Global, Mergent Intellect, and Gale Virtual Reference Library databases. Additional resources can be accessed based on individual need. Schedule an appointment by texting 317-333-6877 or register through Ask-a-Librarian.
During your visit, you will participate in a one hour meeting where all the major aspects of developing a new business will be covered: business plans, marketing, networking, website development and much more. Rather than a generic presentation, you will receive information and resources specific to your chosen field.
Indianapolis Small Business Administration (SBA)
Since 1953, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided access to a wide variety of resources, funding, and job creation for small businesses. Programs include training, counseling, financial assistance, government contracting and procurement. Here is a link to some of the many resources they have available:
Indy SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
SCORE offers a wealth of information and assistance to small business owners through, as the name indicates, their volunteer staff of retired executives who share their time, experience and knowledge, acting as mentors to entrepreneurs seeking business help. Indy SCORE has approximately 80 volunteers from many business sectors. When a new client signs up for services, they are matched up with a SCORE representative who will be familiar with their business model and can offer both information and advice on various aspects of their venture.
Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC)
The ISBDC is a great resource for the formation, growth and sustainability of Indiana's small businesses by providing entrepreneurs expert guidance and a comprehensive network of resources. They can help in finding financing for your business, help with market research and much more. ISBDC even offers numerous seminars and workshops throughout the year which can be accessed through Eventbrite.
INBIZ (Secretary of State & Dept. of Revenue)
INBiz is Indiana’s one-stop resource for registering and managing your business and ensuring it complies with state laws and regulations. In partnering with the Secretary of State, Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Revenue, INBiz has created a comprehensive portal that provides a streamlined and expedited process for your business needs. From registering your business’s name to filing the necessary paperwork for incorporation, registering your trademark or accessing Secretary of State forms, you need go no further than INBiz. The web portal is easy to use and there are plenty of videos, tutorials and even an online “chatbot” who will answer any questions you may not be able to find the answers to on your own.
This site will help you estimate the fees, permits, and licenses necessary to start or expand your business in Indianapolis. OpenCounter Indy has a simplified process for permits, licensing and zoning for Indianapolis businesses. This easy-to-use website takes the often baffling process of opening a business and makes it much less stressful. Enter your data once and OpenCounter Indy tells you exactly what you need to do to open the doors of your business, what forms you need to file, estimates of permitting and licensing costs and how long the process is going to take.
Indy Black Chamber of Commerce
The Indy Black Chamber of Commerce was established January 2015 with the goal of serving as an information resource for developing black owned businesses. The Indy Black Chamber of Commerce provides mentoring, seminars, and network functions with opportunities for business development, growth, and success. On the last Friday of each month they also host “The Friday Group” which includes guest speakers discussing topics such as business startup requirements, branding your business, and how to find government contract opportunities.
Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
PTAC provides procurement technical assistance to help existing small businesses sell products or services to the appropriate government agency by offering confidential counseling services and workshops at no cost. At the core of the procurement assistance program is counseling and education. Your local PTAC office can provide you with a range of services and resources to successfully compete and receive government contracts. Indiana PTAC can connect you with events and workshops to help your business succeed in the government marketplace.
Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce
Of the many business services available through non-profit agencies in Indianapolis, the Chamber of Commerce offers some of the most vital and impactful resources for entrepreneurs. Providing both education and financial services, the Indy Chamber has three separate business teams to help entrepreneurs in a variety of ways. These three teams include the Business Ownership Initiative, the Central Indiana Women's Business Center, and the Hispanic Business Council. Depending on your specific business needs, the Chamber can supply you with a coach to help strategize the progress and development of your business; there are a number of loan programs and grants available, as well as classes, workshops and seminars on many of the topics you need to understand to get your business growing. Here are just some of the most popular programs:
A fantastic primer on marketing for those who are just getting their business up and running and have a limited marketing budget. The book contains dozens of simple yet powerful techniques to grow your customer base, build your brand, and maximize profits. Best of all, these techniques require little or no investment.
Harvey Mackay built his empire selling envelopes. Yes, those little white things we used form sending things called "letters" once upon a time. Harvey shares his thoughts and experiences on competition, networking, branding and understanding the customer. There are many great lessons to be learned in this book. If he could make a fortune selling envelopes, imagine what you could do with your business by applying Mackay's techniques.
The very first book by life-hacker and business guru Tim Ferriss. Though you will most likely not be able to cut your hours down to a "4-hour Workweek" there are many valuable tips and insights here on how to get maximum bang for your buck in your business. Tim explains how to break free from the confines of your office desk and be realistically able to work from anywhere in the world by delegating, using online resources, and focusing your efforts on the right tasks.