Resources

Over the years, we’ve gathered some cool free resources from around the web to help anyone looking to start a business. Check them out below. And if you have a new resource you’d like to us to include, email us at um@thelaunchpad.org!

Equity Calculation Simulator
This website has a great simulator that calculates the equity you would have after you input all the other possible variables.

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Researching Traffic statistics on Websites
This website tracks other web domains and the amount of users/traffic they generate.

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oDesk
An online staffing marketplace and management platform that provides a convenient way to hire, manage, and pay individuals for web development, software development, writing, QA, graphic design, systems admin, and more.

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Creating an RFP for a development Proposal
In order to get a developer to create a proposal for your site you need to create what is called an RFP, or request for proposal. This document outlines your sites functionality so that your developer can quote you an acurate price and timeline. You need to create this document BEFORE talking with potential developers.

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Getting web development Proposals
This is a great resource to get an initial quote on how much your website would cost.

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Generating Name Ideas
This site is very interesting in that it helps you generate possible names to use as your next business / product name.

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Business Plan Outline and Template
This site offers great templates and outlines for your prospective business plan. For complete samples look at the link above.

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Sample Business Plans
This site offers great sample business plans to look at and base your business plan off of. This is a great first place to look at.

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Protecting Your Ideas
This provides a great guide to protecting your Intellectual Property and making sure no one steals your ideas.

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Choosing corporate structures
This is a very helpful guide for the entrepreneur to choose what kind of corporate structure would be ideal for your particular situation.

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Survey Design
Survey Design is a survey and research company that helps users make the best possible survey to get the information that the researcher wants.

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Graphic Design Crowd Sourcing
This site allows you to submit a design proposal through a contest to obtain logos, web designs, etc. for a fraction of the cost. You set the prize winnings and a termination date while clients submit entries.

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Step by Step Business Plan
Cool guide for creating a business plan and it walks you through putting in the content.

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Basic Intro to Social Media
And introduction to 7 different social media networks, including descriptions, social media profiles, what to post, and growing an audience.

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Online Student Business Community (Affliates: Harvard, Yale, U of Chicago, UPenn)
Connects you with partners and service providers on a world-class level. Grow connections with top startup advisors and investors. The site is by-invitation and by-application only in order to ensure a high standard of membership. Student membership is free.

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Personal Image Consulting
Free tips and advice from leading experts in how to brand yourself. This site also allows you to upload your resume and customize a profile to suit your personal character when presenting it to an employer.

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Marketing Strategy
Teaches how to create a marketing plan, how to begin marketing research, create a marketing strategy, etc. It also offers links to marketing tools and online courses and tutorials.

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Education Index
A website that has multiple links of information on different types of advertising and marketing with links to resources to help maximize their effectiveness.

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Attorney Question and Answers
A question and answer service where a user can get answers from an attorney.

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Attorney
Article detailing whether or not the entrepreneur should seek the council of an attorney upon startup.

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Patent Search:

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Patent Search:
This website offers great information on patent information and information on what to do if legal trouble arises.

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Patent Information and examples
This website offers great information on patent information and information on what to do if legal trouble arises.

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Protect Your Intellectual Property
Stop trade in fakes! This 7 page guide created by the United States government will help you take the necessary steps to protect your intellectual property domestically and internationally.

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The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN)
An expansive database of official texts of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other complementary legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations.

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The Startup Checklist
A 21-item checklist for starting a company. See all the steps you should consider and take care of as you are starting to develop your company.

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Business Plan Samples, Writing a business plan
Rule book for Business plans for startups from Entrepreneur.com

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Business Owners Toolkit:
This site offers more than 5,000 pages of free cost-cutting tips, step-by-step checklists, real-life case studies, startup advice, and business templates to small business owners and entrepreneurs. The site also offers a monthly newsletter, up-to-date news topics, and Ask Alice!, a column that closely follows industry trends and provides trusted advice to inquiring site visitors.

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Business Plan Center with a library of Real Business plans
Business planning, marketing planning and marketing strategy information, advice, and free software and directories for investors and consultants.

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SBA Business Plan Guide:
The Small Business Planner includes information and resources that will help you at any stage of the business lifecycle.

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Market Segmentation by Zip Code:
MyBestSegments features details about all of Claritas’ market segmentation systems, including PRIZM, P$YCLE and ConneXions.

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Franchising Opportunities:
What is a franchise opportunity and how do you investigate the myriad choices available? And once you choose the one you want, where do find the money to pay for it? Our easy-to-follow guide offers all the information you need to find and buy a franchise.

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Online workshop to help start and improve your business plans, using your business plan efficiently and help on finding your niche.

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Census Bureau:
Gives quality data about the nation’s people and economy: Population & Housing Census, Economic Census, American Community Survey, Many Other Surveys, Economic IndicatorsSmall Business Administration.

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USPTO United States Patent and Trademark Office:
An agency of the United States Department of Commerce.

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WSJ Business Plan Guide:
This site offers advice on how to write a business plan.

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European Patent Office:
The European Patent Office (EPO) provides a uniform application procedure for individual inventors and companies seeking patent protection in up to 38 European countries. It is the executive arm of the European Patent Organization and is supervised by the Administrative Council.

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Writing a Business Plan
Advice on how to write a business plan from getting started to actually pitching the plan.

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Bureau of Labor Statistics:
This website contains Bureau of Labor statistics and information from the past 125 years.

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Sample Plans from Bplans.com:
This site offers advice on how to write a business plan.

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Business plan software & guide:
Basic info for detailed free business plan guide with template & sample for business plan.

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Inc. Magazine Business Plan Guide:
This website details the step-by-step guidelines to writing a business plan. 

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Stats about all US cities – real estate, relocation information, etc
Demographics of cities in the US ranging from cost of living to radio and TV stations

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SSBR: Demography
Provides information collected from the federal government relating social statistics

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Demographics Page
Several programs at the Bureau of labor Statistics make significant amounts of data available for specific demographic categories.

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DemoReports
Current demographics 2008-2013, reports that can be ordered online

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Demographics by the zip
Find demographics for specific zip codes and compare to other areas as well.

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Small business plan resources

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Useful business templates
A site that provides a template for developing a strategic plan, an essential step in the early startup process.

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BuyUsa
A list of research resources for businesses compiled by the United States government

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Business Strategy guide
A very strong site providing business strategy advice specifically tailored to beating the competition. Complete with graphs and other visuals to facilitate domination.

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Business Strategy
A full circle website detailing the many aspects of a company from startup to potential harvesting.

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Bplans
A good, brief overview of the steps necessary to begin a startup.

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Echoing Green Fellowship Program
To accelerate social change, Echoing Green invests in and supports outstanding emerging social entrepreneurs to launch new organizations that deliver bold, high-impact solutions. Through a two-year fellowship program, Echoing Green helps our network of visionaries work to solve deeply rooted social, environmental, economic, and political inequities to ensure equal access and to help all individuals reach their potential.

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NCIIA Grant
Grant for students who need early stage funding for engineering, innovation and inventions. Grants are typically for students who are already using UM resources to create their inventions.

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Angel Investors
Article detailing what angel investors are and what it takes to receive funding from them. .

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Government Funding
A site that introduces the concept of government funding. Gives a general overview as well as links to government pages.

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Startup Funding
Long but very comprehensive article detailing nearly all opportunities for startup funding

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On startups
A short article that should appeal to nascent entrepreneurs as it details how to get funding without having to give away any equity for the company.

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