Small Business Guide
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|CPLS partners with Clearwater Business Spark to offer programs & resources for entrepreneurs at the Clearwater Main Library.|
The Clearwater Public Library System offers a variety of resources on HOW TO OPEN A SMALL BUSINESS and ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Through a collection of books, databases, websites, and agency contacts, you can find the information you need for your new venture.
To find out how to write a business plan and to see sample business plans for different businesses, check out these books and databases:
Business Plans Database
- Business Plans Handbook series via the Florida Electronic Library, Search hundreds of actual business plans compiled by entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses throughout North America. Includes templates, fictional business plans, and a listing of organizations, agencies, and consultants.
Books on how to create a business plan include
- Business Plans Handbook, a compilation of actual business plans developed by small business throughout North America, issued several times a year
- How to Write a Business Plan
- Preparing effective business plans: an entrepreneurial approach
Books on how to open a business in Florida include:
Codes, Laws, and Public Records
- Clearwater Code of Ordinances
- Clearwater Community Development Code
- Code of Federal Regulations for OSHA rulings
- IRS Federal Tax Forms
- Pinellas County Code of Ordinances
- Pinellas County Public Records Database
- Small Business Association
- State of Florida Building Codes
- State of Florida Statutes
Check out the free database Demographics Now for national and local demographic profiles. All you need is a library card.
The Reference Department has compiled a City of Clearwater Demographic Notebook (located at the Reference Desk at the Main Library) that contains demographics for the Clearwater area from a variety of publications and local sources. These include the U.S. Census, The Florida Statistical Abstract (REF317.59/Flo), and the City of Clearwater Annual Report.
National, regional, state and county demographics are also available from a variety of online and print sources. Check with a librarian for more information.
Free wifi access and public computers are available at all five Clearwater Public Library locations, as well as Computer Help classes on topics of your choice. Check our computer training page for online tutorials and other local classes to assist you.
The City of Clearwater's web site contains information on the various city departments.
- Planning & Development Services has information on permits and applications, occupational licenses, site inspections, planning and zoning codes and laws.
- The Economic Development Department page has information on commercial and residential loans, doing business in Clearwater and a Business Guide for starting a business in Clearwater. You can also access a variety of local, county, state and national business sites.
- The Engineering Department has information on city construction, environmental regulations, field engineering and parking.
To find print and DVD Clearwater Public Library System resources check the catalog. Use the SUBJECT or KEYWORD search options and enter the subject you wish to search. Use also SORT BY and choose PUBLICATION DATE, to obtain the most recently published books in the collection. You will get the titles and call numbers of materials in the Clearwater Public Library System and the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative for that subject. Most of the books for these subject headings are located in the following range of call numbers: 331 - 338.74 and 650 - 658.8708. These are examples of the subject headings you can use:
- BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
- HOME-BASED BUSINESSES
- NEW BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
- NEW PRODUCT-MANAGEMENT
- SMALL BUSINESS IN SOCIAL MEDIA
- VENTURE CAPITAL
To research other businesses and competitors in the area as well as to research marketing leads, the library has many business directories and online sources.
A to Z Databases
"The Premier Job Search, Reference, and Mailing List Database. The database includes 2.3 million job listings, 30 million business profiles, 1.1 million healthcare professionals, and much more. Ideal for sales leads, mailing lists, market research, employment opportunities, finding friends and relatives, and much more!"
Check at the Main Library Reference Desk for more information about these resources.
- D&B Regional Business Directory
- Florida Business Directory (formerly Contacts Influential)
- Harris Florida Manufacturers Directory
- Hill-Donnelly Cross Reference Directory for Clearwater gives lists of neighborhoods or street addresses that a business may want to focus on. To find research market areas, the "LOCATION" section determines the characteristics of a neighborhood. Is it residential or business? Single or multi-family? Relative affluence rating for the neighborhood compared to other neighborhoods in the area is given in a scale format.
Researching the Market
There are various tools you can use to research a particular market segment. Check out our subscription databases including:
- Business Insights Essentials Detailed company and industry news and information. Locate company profiles, brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies and relevant magazine articles.
- Financial Ratings Series—Weiss & the Street Weiss Financial Ratings combines the strength of Weiss Ratings and The Street into a single source for financial strength ratings and financial planning tools covering Insurance, Banks, Mutual Funds and Stocks.
- Value Line Investment Survey (In-library use only) Investment research for 8,000 stocks, 15,000 mutual funds, and 80,000 options and other securities. Value Line is best known for their Investment Survey, one of the most widely read investment services in the world.
Your Florida library card provides you access to Florida's E-Library, including Business and Company Resource Center, Demographics Now, Small Business Resource Center, and a number of magazines of interest to business owners.
Check with a librarian for more information.
Patents and trademarks can be searched online at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office web site.
Local Area Business Contacts
- City of Clearwater Economic Development Department. (727) 562-4220
Provides technical assistance to businesses in the loan application process.
- Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. (727) 461-0011
Provides business referrals, Resource Center, networking events, and a monthly newsletter.
- Florida Small Business Development Center - Pinellas County. (727) 453-7200
- Pinellas County Economic Development. (727) 464-7332 or (800) 759-JOBS
County agency that provides business assistance, retention and new business start-up information.
- Service Corps of Retired Executives—SCORE. (727) 532-6800
Volunteer counseling organization associated with the U.S. Small Business Administration that offers free counseling for small businesses.
- Technical Arts Facility For Innovation and Entrepreneurship (TAFFIE)
Network online with these local business groups on Facebook
- Clearwater Beach Association
- Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Clearwater Chamber of Commerce
- Clearwater Young Professionals
- Emerge Tampa Bay
- Florida Economic Development Council
- Florida High Tech Corridor Council
- Leadership Pinellas
- Pinellas County Economic Development
- Pinellas Technical Education Centers (PTEC)
- Tampa Bay Business Journal
- TRANSITion Tampa Bay