Resources for new businesses

Do-It-Yourself Business Start-ups

Often, a small business gets started with nothing more than a poster and a phone number. But you’ll be a lot more prepared to grow your sideline start-up into a real, full-time business if you start with the basics. Here is a sampling of resources available through the Mercer Library to help you begin your journey.




The small business start-up kit / by Peri Pakroo ; edited by Barbara Kate Repa. Berkeley, CA : Nolo, 2006. 346.73 PAK
Working for yourself : law & taxes for independent contractors, freelancers & consultants / by Stephen Fishman. Berkeley, CA : Nolo, 2008. 343.73 FIS
How to write a business plan / by Mike McKeever. Berkeley. CA : Nolo, 2005. 658.15 MCK
Ultimate homebased business handbook : how to start, run and grow your own profitable business / James Stephenson with Rich Mintzer. Entrepreneur Press, 2008. 658 STE
Work from home handbook : flex your time, improve your life / by Diana Fitzpatrick & Stephen Fishman. Berkeley, CA : Nolo, 2008. 658 FIT
Contains tips for working for yourself from home as well as “telecommuting” to your corporate job. Also includes the tax implications of working from home, freelancing, and the expenses of your home office.
Start your own business [downloadable ebook] : the only startup book you’ll ever need / [editor, Marla Markman].
Small business for dummies [downloadable audiobook] / Eric Tyson & Jim Schell.
Making a living without a job [downloadable ebook] : winning ways for creating work that you love / Barbara J. Winter.

Online Resources for Entrepreneurs

The following are some online resources recommended by Nicolet College business instructor Michelle Madl.

The U.S. Small Business Administration –
A wealth of information on starting and managing a business, loans & grants, government contracting, and much more. A particularly strong section includes information on understanding business law and regulations.
Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative –
A statewide economic development corporation that provides business education and financing for Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs. Services include small business loans and individualized business assistance.
Impact Seven –
Providing services for housing, business development, and community development in northwestern Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Angel Network –
Free tools to help entrepreneurs raise funds, and to increase capital investments in Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs.
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions –
Includes forms for creating a corporation or LLC in the state of Wisconsin. (Click “+ I want to file”, then “Create a Corporation/LLC.”) Also includes information on financial literacy and consumer affairs. –
The “Business” section of the official State of Wisconsin website includes information on starting and building a business in Wisconsin, small business resources, business forms, administrative rules and agency policies, professional licensing, and women-owned and minority business programs.
Score –
Free business advice from seasoned professional mentors. Chapters in Wausau, Marshfield, and Eau Claire include volunteer mentors throughout the Northwoods. Local and online workshops cover topics of interest to small business owners, and online tools and templates include tips for writing your business plan, marketing, accounting and budgeting, and much more. There is a wealth of information here!
Nicolet College – Starting a Business –
More information on the free workshops offered by Nicolet, links to more online resources, and information about Nicolet’s eSeed Entrepreneurship Training program.

Getting the Word Out

Marketing begins before you even start your new business. How big is the market for your products or services? Who is your competition? What will you offer that existing businesses don’t or can’t? If you can’t drive customers to your business, you won’t stay in business very long. You need to start planning your marketing strategy early on; here are some resources that can help.

Million dollar website : simple steps to help you compete with the big boys–even on a small business budget / Lori Culwell. New York: Prentice Hall, 2009. 658.8 CUL
The zen of social media marketing : an easier way to build credibility, generate buzz, and increase revenue / Shama Hyder Kabani. Dallas, TX : Benbella, 2010. 658.87 KAB
Guerrilla marketing [downloadable ebook] : easy and inexpensive strategies for making big profits from your small business / Jay Conrad Levinson ; with Jeannie Levinson and Amy Levinson. Boston, MA : Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
The Whuffie factor [downloadable audiobook] :using the power of social networks to build your business / Tara Hunt. Tantor Media, 2009.

Crafting a Business

One popular type of home-based business is the craft industry. Creative and artistic individuals use their skills to sell their art online, in local gift shops, and at craft fairs. It’s a way to turn what you love into what you live, but you’ll need to plan ahead and carefully examine your market before you jump in.

Your crafts business : a legal guide / by Richard Stim. Berkeley, CA : Nolo, 2003. 346.73 Sti
The craft business answer book & resource guide : answers to hundreds of troublesome questions about starting, marketing, and managing a homebased business efficiently, legally, and profitably / Barbara Brabec. New York : M. Evans and Co., 1998.
Handmade for profit! : hundreds of secrets to success in selling arts & crafts / Barbara Brabec. New York : M. Evans and Company, c1996.
EBay for dummies [downloadable ebook] / by Marsha Collier. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley Pub., c2009.
Websites for Sellers:

Ebay – – The most well-know auction site.
Etsy – – Specializing in handmade and unique item sales. Individuals can set up a virtual shop to sell their arts and crafts, and sales are at a set price rather than the auction format of Ebay.

Local Business Resources

You don’t have to rely on statewide networks to support your business – here are the local contacts for small business resources in Iron and Vilas counties.

Iron County Development – Information on the Mercer Industrial Park and the Hurley Industrial Park, the Iron County workforce, funding for northwest Wisconsin businesses, and the statistics of Iron County.
Vilas County Economic Development Corporation – Financial resources, entrepreneurial training, workforce development, and more for Vilas County.