Introduction – Entrepreneur’s Reference Guide to Small Business Information

Carol Highsmith, photographer. Whataburger, Mobile, Alabama. 2010. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

To work for yourself, to be your own boss, to run your own business–for many workers these phrases describe an American dream. The spirit of the independent small-business person is praised as a force that makes America great. Faced with layoffs, limited job prospects and the economic uncertainties of recent years, many are also turning to self-employment in search of a way to function within today’s economy.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur, however, is not an easy task. It requires skill, motivation, hard work, and good luck. It also requires information in large measure. The would-be business person stands on the brink of a new future with a thousand questions that need answers. The Entrepreneur’s Reference Guide to Small Business Information was compiled by business reference specialists at the Library of Congress to help beginners (and established business owners who keep meeting new problems) find sources that can guide them to the right questions and the best answers.

This guide cites “how to” books, reference books, directories, online resources and free and subscription-based databases, all of which will be useful at some point in the process of becoming an independent business leader. Many of the items listed in this guide are serials, such as annuals or yearbooks, which put out new editions regularly. In the entry for a serial item the date of the publication’s first appearance is given, followed by a hyphen. This indicates that to the best of our knowledge the work is still being issued, and a researcher can expect to find that current issues are available. Many of the books and serials listed in this guide are available for sale from book dealers, and most will be found in a local public or university library. Library of Congress Catalog Searches section lists subject headings relating to entrepreneurship, which allow the user to launch a search for additional materials in the Library of Congress Online Catalog directly from the guide.

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