Small Business

Small Business Associations
Chester County Chambers of Commerce | Local | National | State

Government Agencies
Federal | State

Starting a Small Business
Business Plans | Demographics- Business, Consumer and Tools | Financing
Franchising | General Information | Pennsylvania Resources

Small Business Associations
Chester County Chambers of Commerce
Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry
Downingtown Chamber of Commerce
Exton Region Chamber of Commerce
Great Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce
Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce
Main Line Chamber of Commerce
Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce
Phoenixville Area Chamber of Commerce
Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce
Tri-County Chamber of Commerce

Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce

Local Small Business Associations
Chester County Economic Development Council
Kutztown Small Business Development Center (KUSBDC)
Mid-Atlantic Business Alliance
Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
SCORE Chester County
Small Business Assistance Center
Wharton Small Business Development Center
Women's Referral Network of Chester County

National Small Business Associations


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State Small Business Associations

Government Agencies
Business Information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Business education campaigns from the FTC.

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Team PA
Pennsylvania Open for Business
Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau
Click on Searchable Corporations Databases to search State Corporation Records. Use this website from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development to find information on starting a business in PA ( click on Business) as well as a funding and program finder for businesses, communities, and site revitalization.

Starting a Small Business
Business Plans

SBA Business Planning
A nice overview of a business plan. It includes a template of a business plan.

SBA and Palo Alto Software Sample Business Plans
A partnership between the SBA and Palo Alto Software. It includes plans for product businesses, service businesses, start-up businesses, established businesses, and home-based businesses.

SBA Online Publications— Business Plan Examples
Find publications on a variety of business topics. Scroll down to "Management and Planning Series" to find examples of business plans for small manufacturers, small construction firms, small retailers, small service firms, and home-based businesses. is operated by Palo Alto Software (see above for a link to the SBA/Palo Alto partnership). Palo Alto publishes a software packages called Business Plan Pro, Marketing Plan Pro, and Web Strategy Pro. Some of the plans from these packages are available for free online and are marked "Free Online."

The Chester County Library also owns the Business Plans Handbook
(R 658.4012 B), a multi-volume set of succesful business plans. Ask for it at the Chester County Library's Reference Desk.

Demographics - Business, Consumer and Tools

Business Demographics

Economic Census

Conducted every five years, the Economic Census provides statistical information on business from the national to the local level. Search by NAICS code to find data on industries. Click here for the complete Economic Census 1997 Data.

County Business Patterns
Another excellent resource from the Census, these reports have industry data on a county level by NAICS code.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The BLS collects a variety of data useful for market research. Find statistics on headings such as: Inflation and Consumer Spending; Wages, Earnings, and Benefits; Productivity; Safety and Health; International; Occupations; Demographics of the Labor Force; Employment and Unemployment; Industries; and Business Costs.

County and City Data Book
The online version of the print reference, the County and City Data Book is full of useful statistics. Find statistics on area & population; vital statistics & health; education, income, & property; crime, housing, & building permits; personal income & earnings; manufacturing & water use; wholesale and retail trade; and accommodation & food services.

Business Expenses Survey
The purpose of this survey is "to provide periodic estimates on operating expenses for retail, merchant wholesale, and selected service firms."

Statistics of U.S. Businesses
BizStats compiles data from trade associations and government agencies into useful statistics for small businesses. There are national business statistics and specific statistics on small business industries.

Tax Statistics from the IRS

Statistical Abstract of the United States
Produced by the Department of Commerce, the statistical handbook for the US is available full-text on the web. Find data on all kinds of subjects including Vital Statistics; Health and Nutrition; Income, Expenditures, and Wealth; Prices; Business Enterprise; Manufactures; Domestic Trade and Services; Banking, Finance, and Insurance; and Information and Communication.

Regional Economic Conditions (RECON) from the FDIC

Consumer Demographics

U.S. Census

American Factfinder
Use both of these web sites to access Census Data.

Chester County Census 2000 Demographic Profiles
For detailed Census data on a particular county or township use the Demographic Profile. Click on the name of the county or township you wish to see. A PDF file will open with the data. DP-1 is general demographic information. DP-2 is selected social characteristics. DP-3 is selected economic characteristics. DP-3 is selected housing characteristics. The above link is for Chester County only. Search for Demographic profiles for other states, counties or municipalities at

Chester County Planning Commission
The Chester County Planning Commission collects and reports on demographics for Chester County. To see available reports, click on Census 2000 or Publications in the left frame. The Planning Commission also prepares the Chester County Profile.

Pennsylvania State Data Center
Pennsylvania's site for demographic and economic data.

Population Projections from the U.S. Census
Find national and state population projections.

ERSI Free Tapestry Report
Enter a zip code to get a free tapestry report (consumer market segmentation).

Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Provides information on the "buying habits for American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.
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Demographics Tools

NAICS/SIC Code Lookup
Use this page to determine the SIC code or NAICS code for a business type or to convert an SIC code to a NAICS code or vice versa. To Find a Code: Type a keyword in the Enter a Search Keyword Box and click NAICS Search. An Index entry page will be returned with a NAICS code. Clicking on the NAICS code will bring up a definition that will include the corresponding SIC code.

SIC Code Lookup

Melissa Data Lookup Directory
A wide variety of tools. Some are free; some require payment. Especially useful ones are ZIPs in a Radius and ZIP Codes by County. Some of the tools require free registration to access entire list of results.
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SBA Financing Your Business
Good information on financing a business from the SBA. Includes information on SBA Loan Programs.

Funding & Program Finder from
Department of Community and Economic Development site for finding funding sources for businesses, communities and site revitalization in Pennsylvania.
The "official Federal government loans website." Click on Business Loans to see Federal loans available for small businesses. Each loan has a description, a comparison feature, and a "Could I qualify" questionnaire.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
A database of all Federal programs for assistance.
Finance & Money from SCORE
Designed to help you understand and manage your business finances throughout the life of your business finances throughout the life of your business.
An educational resource providing business owners the knowledge they need to secure financing and achieve their business goals.


Franchises and Business Opportunities from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Information from the FTC regarding franchises; includes pamphlets on buying franchises (Franchise and Business Opportunity Publications)

Franchise Zone from Entrepreneur Magazine
Check out the Franchise500 for information on specific franchises.

The Franchise Registry
A partnership between the SBA and FRANDATA to help "expedite the processing of loans to small business franchisees." The Registry "lists names of franchise companies whose franchisees enjoy the benefits of a streamlined review process for SBA loan applications."

International Franchise Association (IFA)
Search for franchise opportunities by category or browse A-Z index.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Click on Find a Chamber to search for a U.S. or international Chamber of Commerce.

General Information

SBA Starting Your Business

SBA Managing Your Business

CCH Business Owner's Toolkit
Information on owning a small business from Commerce ClearingHouse. Scroll down to the CCH Small Business Guide to find topics including starting a business, planning a business, getting financing for a business, and marketing a business.

Entrepreneur's Resource Center from the Edward Lowe Foundation - Click on Entrepreneur's Guide
An excellent site for information on small business. Browse through topics such as defining and serving a market, building an organization, acquiring and managing finances, human resource management, and legal issues. There is a keyword search that leads to articles as well.

Kauffman eVenturing

Business & Human Resources from NOLO - Business & Human Resources
Information on starting and running a business. Click on Starting a Business to find articles, topics, and tools for starting a business. is an excellent resource for all things related to marketing and is developed by a professor at West Chester University. There is an excellent section on market research ( The site also includes tutorials on the principles of marketing, market research and writing a marketing plan.

Startup Journal from The Wall Street Journal is the world's largest online resource for small businesses, providing essential tools and resources to start, grow, and manage your business.

Pennsylvania Resources

Entrepreneur's Guide: Starting and Growing a Business in Pennsylvania - click on Business - click on Business Assistance - click on Start - Click on Entrepreneur's Guide (pdf)

Pennsylvania Open for Business
Find forms, financial incentives, resources (including information on business structures), and online business registration for Pennsylvania businesses.

Forms from the Pennsylvania Department of State's Corporation Bureau
A collection of forms for filing information with the Corporation Bureau

Last Modified: 11/23/15