Monday, July 30, 2007

Where to find market research, on and offline

Mogulisious hellos!

The Mogulettes and I recently visited the Science, Industry and Business Library, aka SIBL - ground zero for everything related to free enterprise. Unlike most public libraries I've seen, this one has a very modern and sleek design. Jackie Gold, one of their librarians (she's the one at the far left in the picture above), gave us a private tour. She started us off on the first floor, with its high ceilings and huge picture windows, where they have all the books that are allowed to be taken out, or for circulation, as they call it. It's also where you can get a library card, which is pretty important because with it you'll get remote access to a huge array of electronic resources. By entering the password in the back of the card into your computer at home, you'll be able to search the database of the NY Times, national and international magazines, the World Book Online, Women's American History plus many others. Nothing like letting your fingers do the walking!

SIBL has mostly science and business books but also technology and financial texts as well. They also have videos on everything from Doing Business in China to Franchising to Producing Your Own Special Interest Videos. One the right side of the main room there's a section with the most recent business periodicals and next to that you'll find dozens of computers which are hooked up to the internet, available at no charge - unfortunately the limit is 45 min. to an hour and you're only allowed on them once a day. Downstairs however, there's docking stations for your laptops with free web access and no time restrictions.

From there we climbed down the beautiful spiral staircase to the lower level, where they have the reference section, for books that cannot leave the library. Here you'll find all the nitty gritty details of the business topic of your choice. They have sample business plans, annual reports, SEC filings, government statistics, industry surveys - I get tired just looking at the list of resources! Thank God there's an information desk in the center of the room with librarians who will direct you to the best places to find whatever you're looking for...

Here's a few interesting links:
videos and podcasts
free classes & workshops
events for entrepreneurs - small business resources
CATNP - to search in the reference section
LEO - to search the catalog for all branch libraries

Both SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the NYC Business Solutions Center have offices here, with counselors available for appointments to help out entrepreneurs. Time flew by and soon it was 8pm and time for them to close down the shop. Now that I have a sense of how to navigate the labyrinths inside this information supercenter, I'll be able to gather topnotch market research for my business plan.

Knowledge is power people!