Business Research Tips & News

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Drop-In Business Counseling

Have questions on starting or expanding your business? A City of San José Office of Economic Development (OED) employee will be on hand to answer your questions related to: registering a business, obtaining business permits, and zoning. This drop-in program will occur every other Tuesday, starting October 7th, 2014. Pre-registration is not required.


Location: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library - Room 455 (4th Floor)

Date: every other Tuesday, beginning October 7th, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Topics that the OED employees can cover include:

  • Basic real estate questions - Things you should consider BEFORE signing a lease or buying property  
  • Permit questions - What kinds of permits are needed for my business? Who do I coordinate with? How long does the process take? What is it going to cost?
  • Specific business tax requirements of San Jose and more generally about Santa Clara County
  • Basic company financing questions (traditional bank loans, crowd funding, angel/vc funding, loan guarantees)
  • Basic company structures 

Question of the Week: Grain elevators

“Do you have a directory of grain processing equipment? I saw one in another library as a supplement to a magazine. ”


King Library didn’t have the journal, though I thought ReferenceUSA, one of the SJPL library databases, might help the customer find what he wanted.


You can get to  Reference USA  going online to San Jose Public Library's home page and clicking on Research at the top right hand corner.  On the next page find Articles and Databases and  click on Business. You’ll find a listing for ReferenceUSA  under Business Directory.


Note : If you’re trying to use ReferenceUSA from outside SJPL  libraries, you will need to sign in using your library barcode and PIN number


I brought up the web site and showed the customer how to make his own directory. First he needed to make an online custom search form by clicking the US Business database and then selecting Custom Search.

Choosing the left hand menu and selecting  business types, he then went to the  keyword search  and  typed in “grain”; from the choices given he chose “grain elevators” I then  showed him how to narrow the listing to grain elevators in states, counties or other localities. He was delighted  when I told him he could make his own directory at home, print it out or download it to a database file.

Is Starting a Business Right for Me?

Business TreeCome and learn wonderful things about opening up your own business. Volunteers from SCORE will talk about the necessary requirements and personality characteristics to consider before starting a business. They will also discuss the different types of business options such as franchises.


Location: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library - Room 255 (2nd Floor)

Date: September 10, 2014

Time: 6:30 pm.


Check out some books about Small Business.

Featured Resource: Treehouse

Treehouse is a great resource for those seeking information on how to start a business or how to build their existing business. Treehouse features self-paced, interactive modules on many business topics, including:


  • How to Start a Business
  • How to Write a Business Plan
  • How to Build Your Company
  • How to Build Your Business Through Blogging
  • How to Market Your Business

In addition to business topics, Treehouse also offers modules on how to build websites and apps, how to write code, etc. It is available to all San José Public Library card holders. Click on this link, and then click on “Sign Up for a Free Account” to get started!

Value Line Investment Survey

Logo of Value Line Investment SurveyDedicated investors have long been looking to Value Line Investment Survey for current information on companies and stocks. Value Line's website recently had a facelift.  If you're an investor and haven't used Value Line yet, take a look.


If you're already a Value Line user, you may have to look around a little to find the customary information. Here are a couple of places to try.


DASHBOARD - in the box on the right you can click on Summary & Index and Selection & Opinion, which correspond to the pages in the paper version.  The VLIS Current Issue link gives the latest updates.


BROWSE RESEARCH - Click this tab to get Recent Rank Updates and Recent Commentary Updates.


USE THE SEARCH BOX - Enter a company name or symbol in the box at the top, but DO NOT click "Quote" - Just hit the ENTER key. When the company page opens, click PDF Reports in the upper right corner to see pages that correspond to the paper version, or browse the page for extended information.  You can even move elements around on the page and make your own layout.


FIND IDEAS tab - includes a screener to narrow down investment choices and a set of model portfolios.


Let us know if you're having trouble finding anything.


This subscription to Value Line Investment Survey is paid for by San Jose Public Library.

Did You Know You Have a Business Contact at City Hall?

Logo Image for Small Business Coaching CenterThe Small Business Coaching Center is dedicated to helping folks start their own business in San José.  This site presents the steps necessary to start your own business and also provides a dedicated City Hall staff person to help people like you!

The City and of course, the Library are committed to helping entrepreneurs and small business owners. Also, don't forget I am available for any business research need you might have. 

Sew What?

image of Sew What? flyer

In the spirit of the current emphasis on "Maker Spaces" and the approach to providing outlets for library users to create content for their lives, we are excited to be able to offer a program at Biblioteca Latinoamericana's Family Learning Center entitled "Sew What? Sewing Your Way to Financial Literacy."


This is a seven week course where participants will commit to a customized curriculum of sewing instruction and small business financial literacy with qualified instructors from May 13 thru June 24, 2014 on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 to 7:30pm. The aim of this program is to empower participants to create their own sewing creations and will additionally prepare them to learn how to create their own cottage industry small business. In other words, participants will be able to potentially sell what they have spents months producing on sewing machines provided by Biblioteca at a resource fair and boutique to be held in December, 2014.


All of the participants will be rewarded with a complimentary membership in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and will be granted access to newly purchased sewing machines during select hours at Biblioteca branch library to work on their projects throughout the summer months and beyond.


Space in this program is limited and pre-registration is required. You must be at least 18 years of age to sign-up.


Contact the Biblioteca Latinoamericana at 1-408-294-1237 or visit us in person at 921 South First Street to participate in this unque opportunity.

Featured Resource: PrivCo

PrivCo logo imagePrivCo is a unique online resource that provides information on private companies. If you have ever tried finding financial information about private companies you know that it is nearly impossible. Public companies generally have to report their financial information to the SEC whereas there are no such mandates for private companies.  This makes researching private company information very difficult.  PrivCo helps solve this issue.


In addition to having full reports on larger private companies, Privco also offers excellent search features for VC funding, private equity deals, and private M&A deals.


Privco has big name companies as their clients such as Google and Adobe. Customers would normally have to pay $150 for each report offered through Privco. Did you know we offer Privco access for free with a San José Public Library card? Also, we are the only public library in California to offer Privco.

New Laws for the New Year

City of San Jose logo imageWith the new year, San José has a couple of new laws that affect business owners. The first, is the new minimum wage for San José is now $10.15, from the previous $10.00 minimum wage. The second new law to take effect is the ban on the restaurant use of styrofoam containers. This will only affect multi-state restaurants for now. However, for January 2015 this will affect all San José food establishments.

Affordable Care Act & Small Businesses

Logo Image for Covered CaliforniaAre you a small business owner and not sure if you need to get health insurance for your employees? The SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) site can answer all your questions including if your small business needs to provide employees with health insurance or not.