Small Business Resources

​Welcome! 

The Roanoke Public Libraries has a number of resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs in the Roanoke region. Take a look at the lists below and let us know at main.library@roanokeva.gov if you have any questions!

​1 on 1 Consultations
 
​One-on-one consultations are on hold until further notice. Please email main.library@roanokeva.gov with any business research questions.

The Roanoke Public Libraries provides free 1-on-1 consultations for local entrepreneurs. Whether you have already launched your business or are looking to start one, the library has a selection of resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs in all stages of their business growth. We are currently making appointments with local entrepreneurs to demonstrate how library resources may be useful as you look to start or grow your business. We can show you how to conduct research on your industry, market, and consumer demographics, and we also have books on writing a business or marketing plan, and can assist you in finding other local organizations that may be able to assist you with your business growth.** Consultations are currently being offered at the Main Library.

**Please note that the library is unable to provide business, legal, or financial advice.


Databases & Research
 

 
The following two resources (Reference USA and ValueLine) are offered through the Roanoke County Libraries. Links below will direct you to the Roanoke County Libraries Reference Resources page.

Reference USA - contains detailed information on more than 12 million U.S. businesses and 102 million U.S. residents. Listings include telephone numbers, street addresses, zip codes, demographic and financial data for businesses, local competitors, and mapping functionality. 

ValueLine - a complete, multidimensional investment management solution that enables both new and experienced investors to make timely, better-informed decisions. It provides a wealth of in-depth financial information plus objective research, insightful commentary, proven price projections, and advanced analytical tools.  

Foundation Center - provides comprehensive and accurate information on U.S. grant-makers and their funding activities. Access is only available in the Main Library. Please come to the second floor information desk and ask for assistance.

Hubspot Research - Free sales and marketing research and data from Hubspot.

Thomas Register - A comprehensive online resource for finding manufacturers and suppliers in North America. Users must create a free account. 

Law Library - You may also want to visit the Law Library, which can assist with business-related legal research. The Law Library also has a subscription to Westlaw, which is only available on-site at that branch. Click on the link for more details.

​Government Data



Census Data - American FactFinder is the Census Bureau's free data site. It provides the latest data from the census and the American Community Survey on local and national levels. Also available is Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS), which provides annual measurements of business dynamics for the economy based on the census' Longitudinal Business Database (LBD). 

The Small Business Administration has guide to conducting market research using free government statistical sources. It also provides a guide to writing a business plan.

FedStats - Access to statistical information provided by a variety of federal agencies. You do not need to know which federal agency has provided the data.

Data.gov - Home of over 85,000 government datasets as well as data visualization tools.

GPO - US Government Publishing Office - provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government


Business Books



The Roanoke Public Library has a number of books that will be helpful for anyone interested in starting their own business. Below is just a small sample of books that are available - we have many more on the shelves! Unless otherwise noted, any of the below books are available in the nonfiction section at the Main Library:

Small time operator : how to start your own business, keep your books, pay your taxes, and stay out of trouble by Bernard Kamoroff. 658.11 KAMO

The small business start-up kit : a step-by-step legal guide by Pakroo, Peri. 346.73 PAKR

Start your own business : the only startup book you'll ever need by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. 658.041 ENTR

Start your own consulting business: Your step-by-step guide to success by Eileen Figure Sandlin. 001 SAND

How to start a business in Virginia by Entrepreneur Press. 658.11 H83

How to write a business plan by Mike P. McKeever. 658.15244 -

The gig economy : the complete guide to getting better work, taking more time off, and financing the life you want by Diane Mulcahy. 650.1 MULC

Side hustle : from idea to income in 27 days by Chris Guillebeau. 658.11 GUIL

We also have a number of business books available at our branches. If you can't find a book that you're looking for on the shelf or in the catalog, let us know! We may be able to obtain it from another library through InterLibrary Loan. Click on the link to fill out an InterLibrary Loan request.


Helpful websites



Virginia Business One Stop - Resource for those looking to start or grow a small business in Virginia. Contains helpful information on business registrations. 

Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) - Provides resources for starting and growing your small business in the Roanoke area, including classes and training.

SBA.gov - Small business resources from the U.S. government, including guidance on applying for loans and writing a business plan.

Roanoke Regional Chamber

Roanoke City Real Estate GIS

CoLab Roanoke

Non-profit FAQ from the National Center for Charitable Statistics