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Helpful links for small businesses

The following links were compiled by staff at the Fargo Public Library:

Business Plans : Developing a business plan will force you to think through important issues that you may not otherwise consider. Your plan will become a valuable tool as you set out to raise money for your business, and it will provide milestones to gauge your success. One of the best ways to learn about writing a business plan is to study the plans of established businesses in your industry. Use this site to review successful business plans from a wide range of commerce.

Marketing Data in the Economic Census : Businesses use data to gain a competitive advantage. Use the Economic Census to gather data to gauge the competition, calculate market share, choose site location, design sales territories, set sales quotas and evaluate new business opportunities.

North Dakota Business Registration : Registering a new business can require a bureaucratic quagmire of paperwork. The best place to start is the North Dakota Business Registration site; it will help you cut through the red tape. You can get information about what you should do and what you must do. The site includes information on business planning, licensing, registering your business name, sales tax requirements, protecting your business and other state regulations.

North Dakota Small Business Development Center : Check in with the experts at the North Dakota Small Business Development Center for assistance when starting your small business. Services include help with business plans, financial projections and budgeting, handling operating challenges, purchase or sale of a business, funding your venture, loan packaging and more. The best place to start to ensure your success.

SBDCNET : This group provides support and education to Small Business Development Centers and the entrepreneurial communities they serve. Its Web site contains links of interest to the budding entrepreneur, the established small business owner and the business researcher covering many topics: business plans, industry information, associations, Spanish language business documents and publications.

SCORE  : The Fargo chapter of SCORE  (Counselors to America's Small Business) is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of small business in the Fargo area. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Trademarks and Business Names : One aspect of starting a business that can be critical to your success is naming your business. You will want to be sure that you are choosing wisely as the business name will project an image that will either draw new customers, confuse them, or at worst, turn them off. As you consider different business names, one place to start is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office trademark search site. Do a search here for names you are considering to make sure that no one else has already trademarked a name or phrase. Business name availability in North Dakota can be searched on the Secretary of State’s Business Record Search.