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Do you have a business idea and want to get started? Or, do you want to start a business, but need some ideas? Below are just a few of the many resources that can be used free of charge in the Library.

Choosing a business/getting started

COBRA (Complete Business Reference Adviser) is a great place to start with over 400 guides on how to set up different kinds of businesses, anything from an air conditioning engineer to a wedding planner. COBRA also has factsheets to help you plan and run your business such as researching your market, writing a business plan, forming a company, and raising finance. There are details of legislation that might affect your business and lots of useful contacts. Remote access is available to library members.

The Financial Times Guide: Business Start Up is published every year and contains lots of useful information and contacts. We also stock a range of books and magazines that will help with business start up.

Researching your market

  • IBISWorld reports cover around 400 industries in the UK.
  • Passport and MarketLine Advantage look at the UK market and worldwide markets. Remote access to MarketLine is available to library members.
  • Trade magazines have valuable information about various markets.

Writing a business plan

  • COBRA offers lots of help for your business plan.
  • We stock a range of books that will help you write your business plan.

Looking for customers, suppliers and researching your competitors

  • If you’re looking for business customers, you can build your own B2B contacts lists using the FAME database which includes all companies registered at Companies House in the UK.
  • MINT Global has a further 160 million companies worldwide. Financial information on companies is included in both databases.
  • Use the Retail Directory database to research shops, chains, buyers and wholesalers in the UK.
  • Use the BRAD database for essential advertising information on over 12,800 UK media titles.

Events at the City Business Library

See our seminars, workshops and training events for further information about:

  • The range of seminars given by independent consultants on all aspects of doing business.
  • Learning to use some of our databases with hands-on training.
  • Booking a 121 Business Start-up Advice session with one of our experienced Business Librarians/Business Advisers who will signpost you to relevant specialist information sources and give you guidance on writing your business plan.

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