Business Information Center
About the BIC
We offer FREE assistance with the process of starting or running a business or non-profit.
Schedule a free appointment to meet with our business librarians.
Phone: (410) 996-6269 x1127
Cecil County Public Library offers a variety of free, high-quality programs that can help your business or nonprofit. From marketing to technology to basic accounting and more, we pull in experts to help you learn the necessary skills to succeed.
Recommended Business Titles
Main Street Entrepreneur
100 Cities. 100 Entrepreneurs. 9 Keys for Success.
Main Street Entrepreneur offers a unique look at what it takes to create a successful and thriving business. Lifelong entrepreneur, business consultant and university professor Michael Glauser rode 4,005 miles in 45 days, spent 246 hours on a bike seat, climbed 165,748 vertical feet, and interviewed more than 100 entrepreneurs in 100 cities along the way to discover the secrets to entrepreneurial success.
Glauser has distilled hours of interviews and research to present the nine keys for:
• Building a purpose-driven business
• Meeting important community needs
• Developing a supporting cast
• Working with a zealous tenacity
• Giving mind-boggling customer service
• Diversifying revenue streams
• Giving back to the broader community
• And ultimately, creating the lifestyle of your dreams
Readers will learn how to achieve their own dreams and won’t need a 30-page business plan, venture capital, or an exit strategy. All they need to do is implement nine keys for success. Not everyone can build a Facebook, Google or eBay, but anyone with passion and tenacity can do what these entrepreneurs all across America are doing.
Built to Last
"This is not a book about charismatic visionary leaders. It is not about visionary product concepts or visionary products or visionary market insights. Nor is it about just having a corporate vision. This is a book about something far more important, enduring, and substantial. This is a book about visionary companies." So write Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in this groundbreaking book that shatters myths, provides new insights, and gives practical guidance to those who would like to build landmark companies that stand the test of time.
Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Collins and Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies -- they have an average age of nearly one hundred years and have outperformed the general stock market by a factor of fifteen since 1926 -- and studied each company in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day -- as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: "What makes the truly exceptional companies different from other companies?"
What separates General Electric, 3M, Merck, Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, Walt Disney, and Philip Morris from their rivals? How, for example, did Procter & Gamble, which began life substantially behind rival Colgate, eventually prevail as the premier institution in its industry? How was Motorola able to move from a humble battery repair business into integrated circuits and cellular communications, while Zenith never became dominant in anything other than TVs? How did Boeing unseat McDonnell Douglas as the world's best commercial aircraft company -- what did Boeing have that McDonnell Douglas lacked?
By answering such questions, Collins and Porras go beyond the incessant barrage of management buzzwords and fads of the day to discover timeless qualities that have consistently distinguished out-standing companies. They also provide inspiration to all executives and entrepreneurs by destroying the false but widely accepted idea that only charismatic visionary leaders can build visionary companies.
Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the twenty-first century and beyond.
In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”
Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.
In Grit, she takes readers into the field to visit cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.
Among Grit’s most valuable insights:
*Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal
*How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances
*How lifelong interest is triggered
*How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much ecstasy
*Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards
*The magic of the Hard Thing Rule
Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.
Good to Great
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.
But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?
Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:
- Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
- The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
- A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
- The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.
“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”
Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?
The Lean Startup
Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.
The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs - in companies of all sizes - a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it's too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
The Franchisee Handbook
Is Franchising Right For You?
Why start a business from scratch when you can have a piece of the greatest expansion strategy ever conceived? Franchising is BIG and getting bigger in every sector—from restaurants and coffee chains to pet care and insurance. There is a franchise for everything and everyone.
As a potential franchise owner, you can be in charge of your own success while being supported by a known brand. Franchising gives you that ability, along with the satisfaction that comes only with building something that can last a lifetime and beyond. And, if you are successful, you eventually stop sweating the details and have the freedom to enjoy your life in a way that most around you cannot.
In The Franchisee Handbook, franchise expert Mark Siebert walks you through the process of vetting and buying a franchise, helps you ask the right questions of franchisors and yourself, and gives you the resources you need to decide if franchising is right for you. Siebert shows you how to do your homework before making what could be the greatest financial decision of your life. You will learn how to:
- Accurately assess the risks of buying a franchise
- Determine if a franchise is a good fit for your personal goals
- Research and vet potential franchise opportunities
- Create a startup plan that meets your business goals
- Prepare your franchise for success
Why dream about owning a franchise when you can take concrete steps to make it happen today? With The Franchisee Handbook as your guide, you have the power in your hands to start your own franchise journey right now.
Make a Living Living
Make a Living Living is for anyone who has ever wished they could build a successful career doing something they love. Structured around the stories of inspiring individuals, from a vegan chocolatier to a nomadic photographer and a tiny-house builder, the book explains how they achieved their ideal existence, and the challenges they faced along the way. A set of practical exercises helps readers learn how to trust themselves, take risks, and develop the skills needed to achieve their ideal life.
The Handy Accounting Answer Book
An informative, easy-to-use guide to accounting fundamentals and concepts
Everyone needs to budget money and manage costs, whether for groceries and everyday purchases, rent or mortgage, education, retirement, or even a business. Like it or not, accounting infuses most everything in life. From credits, debits, and basic bookkeeping to getting the most out of tax deductions and from reading or creating a business’ financial statement to better understanding accounting lingo, The Handy Accounting Answer Book can help anyone acquire the skills to start or run a business, plan for retirement, set money aside for a big purchase, establish everyday budgets, and improve their money management.
Find out about the concepts and assumptions behind the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Understand tax returns and maximize write-off. Manage retirement account statements and find ways to improve their results. Learn how to create a business plan. Learn about a business’ financial ratios, cost of goods, depreciation, tax planning, recognizing revenue and expenses, financial audits, year-end closing the books, and other terms and rules. Maximize profits and improve personal or business bottom lines.
For anyone planning for a business, retirement, college, or life in general, this informative book also includes a glossary of commonly used terms to cut through the jargon, a helpful bibliography, appendices providing examples of accountancy practices, and an extensive index, adding to its usefulness. It will help anyone’s financial intelligence!
Start a Successful Business
For decades, makers, doers, and dreamers have turned to Inc. for help in getting their businesses off the ground. The insanely successful entrepreneurs behind organizations like Skullcandy, Spanx, Elon Musk, and Airbnb learned lessons at every stage, experienced unexpected setbacks, and in the end triumphed wildly. All along, Inc. was there capturing it all so that others could experience even greater successes than these titans of business.Start a Successful Business gathers these important lessons into a single path-charting guide. From brainstorming to crowdfunding to building partnerships, the book walks new and aspiring founders through seven crucial stages, including:• Establishing a brilliant business idea• Selecting the best structure and strategy for your startup• Getting the word out and building clientele• Preparing to go global• And more!Learn how Elon Musk stays wildly productive. Discover how Sarah Blakely got the inspiration for Spanx. Read the stories of how a hashtag accelerated Airbnb’s success and how Warby Parker shook up the eyewear industry with its innovative, socially conscious business model. With the war stories and keen advice from a fleet of trusted experts, Start a Successful Business provides the all-encompassing guide for anyone wishing to not only get their business off the ground, but to become the next wildly successful entrepreneur everyone is reading about.
Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business
The all-in-one business law book
Whether youre just starting a small business, or your business is already up and running, legal questions crop up on an almost daily basis. Ignoring them can threaten your enterprisebut hiring a lawyer to help with routine issues can devastate the bottom line.
The Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business has helped more than a quarter million entrepreneurs and business owners master the basics, including how to:
raise start-up money decide between an LLC or other business structure save on business taxes get licenses and permits choose the right insurance negotiate contracts and leases avoid problems if youre buying a franchise hire and manage employees and independent contractors attract and keep customers (and get paid on time), and limit your liability and protect your personal assets.
The 16th edition is completely updated with the latest business tax rules and numbers, and best practices for classifying workers (as employee or independent contractor).
Recommended Nonprofit Titles
An Anthology of Aquatic Life
Dive into the wondrous world of water and discover the stories of more than 100 incredible aquatic lifeforms.
The underwater world is so much bigger than young minds can fathom and there is always more to learn. An Anthology of Aquatic Life is a stunning ocean encyclopedia for young readers to explore, with reference pages packed with fascinating information, little learners will be captivated as they discover the facts, stories and myths behind their favorite sea-life animals.
Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?
The primary obstacle is a conflict that's built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems - the rational mind and the emotional mind - that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort - but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.
In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people - employees and managers, parents and nurses - have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:
● The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients
● The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping
● The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service
In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits
Jump start your fundraising efforts!
Whether your nonprofit has just gotten tax-exempt status or has been operating for years, its success or failure depends on its ability to raise donations from individuals, companies, and institutions. The question youre facing is, How do we make our voices heard and bring in the needed support?
Here, youll find plain-English answers. Featuring advice and stories from over 50 experienced fundraisers, foundation staffers, journalists and more, this book explains how to:
make a fundraising plan work with individual donors keep givers giving plan special events solicit grants from foundations and corporations use traditional and social media to engage supporters start a side business to raise funds and much more.
Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits also provides creative grassroots strategies and dozens of real-life success stories. Best of all, it cuts out the jargon and consultant speak thats all too common in nonprofit books.
The 6th edition is completely updated with new stories and samples, the latest IRS rules and regulations, and the latest communication strategies.
A leading investment professional explains the world of impact investing -- investing in businesses and projects with a social and financial return--and shows what it takes to make sustainable, transformative change.
Impact investment -- the support of social and environmental projects with a financial return -- has become a hot topic on the global stage; poised to eclipse traditional aid by ten times in the next decade. But the field is at a tipping point: Will impact investment empower millions of people worldwide, or will it replicate the same mistakes that have plagued both aid and finance?
Morgan Simon is an investment professional who works at the nexus of social finance and social justice. In Real Impact, she teaches us how to get it right, leveraging the world's resources to truly transform the economy. Over the past seventeen years, Simon has influenced over $150 billion from endowments, families, and foundations. In Real Impact, Simon shares her experience as both investor and activist to offer clear strategies for investors, community leaders, and entrepreneurs alike. Real Impact is essential reading for anyone seeking real change in the world.
Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide
The essential tax reference book for every nonprofit
Nonprofits enjoy privileges not available to other organizations. But these privileges come at a price: Nonprofits must comply with special IRS rules and regulations. This book covers what your organization must do to maintain its tax-exempt status.
Practical, comprehensive, and easy to understand, Every Nonprofits Tax Guide explains ongoing and annual IRS compliance requirements for nonprofits, including:
a detailed look at Form 990
line-by-line instructions for Form 990-EZ
conflicts of interest and compensation rules
charitable giving rules
unrelated taxable business income rules
lobbying and political activity restrictions
other key tax rules
Whether you are just starting your nonprofit or are well established, youll find all the information you need to avoid the most common issues nonprofits run into with the IRS.
Start with why
The inspiring, life-changing bestseller by the author of LEADERS EAT LAST and TOGETHER IS BETTER.
In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 28 million who've watched his TED Talk based on START WITH WHY -- the third most popular TED video of all time.
Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?
People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won't truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.
START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
Nonprofit Meetings, Minutes & Records
Nonprofit? Stay out of IRS trouble with the ultimate corporate housekeeping tool!
Nearly 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are busy preserving historic sites, saving libraries, helping the homeless, greening our cities--and so much more. Yet, while some have sophisticated record-keeping systems, most nonprofits are staffed by volunteers who need help running the organization and keeping up a proper--and legal--paper trail.
Help has arrived! With Nonprofit Meetings, Minutes & Records, you'll get the all-in-one solution every nonprofiteer needs to hold meetings and document actions taken by board members.
Step by step, it walks readers through:
calling meetings appointing officers taking minutes making resolutions voting on proposals adjourning meetings working with a lawyer, if necessary, and finding a tax adviser.
Nonprofit Meetings, Minutes & Records also provides useful tips and advice on how to do important tasks, such as organizing records, preparing meeting folders, and taking minutes. Plus, all necessary legal documents are included for you to fill out. It's everything you need to keep your nonprofit running smoothly and legally.
The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need
From top experts in the field, the definitive guide to grant-writing
Written by two expert authors who have won millions of dollars in government and foundation grants, this is the essential book on securing grants. It provides comprehensive, step-by-step guide for grant writers, including vital up-to-the minute interviews with grant-makers, policy makers, and nonprofit leaders. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking grants in today's difficult economic climate.
The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need includes:
- Concrete suggestions for developing each section of a proposal
- Hands-on exercises that let you practice what you learn
- A glossary of terms
- Conversations with grant-makers on why they award grants...and why they don't
- Insights into how grant-awarding is affected by shifts in the economy
Leaders Eat Last
Finally in paperback: the New York Times bestseller by the acclaimed, bestselling author of Start With Why and Together is Better. Now with an expanded chapter and appendix on leading millennials, based on Simon Sinek's viral video "Millenials in the workplace" (150+ million views).
Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders create environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.
In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?
The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. "Officers eat last," he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What's symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort--even their own survival--for the good of those in their care.
Too many workplaces are driven by cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best ones foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a "Circle of Safety" that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.
Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories that range from the military to big business, from government to investment banking.
Start Your Own Nonprofit Organization
FOLLOW YOUR PASSION
Serving missions rather than profits, the nonprofit sector employs 11 million people, making it the third largest industry in the United States, and often provides our communities’ most fundamental services.
Whether your mission is to save puppies, feed children, or preserve history, Start Your Own Nonprofit Organization equips you with the tools you need to start, run and grow your organization. This guide provides mission-driven entrepreneurs like you with the latest industry research and pairs it with advice from real-world nonprofit leaders to teach you how to:
- Determine if your business idea is nonprofit or for-profit
- Manage the day-to-day operations and onboard key staff and volunteers that help you achieve goals
- Write a business plan, mission statement, and grant proposals that gain funding and help grow the organization
- Manage your finances to the satisfaction of the IRS
- Integrate the latest technology, apps, and social media strategy to aid in volunteer tracking, donation facilitation, and audience outreach
Plus, gain insight and hard-won lessons from nonprofits like the Susan B. Komen Foundation, Prosperity Indiana, the Melanoma International Foundation, and the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits
No matter what kind of nonprofit you want to start, this guide will turn your hope for change into help for a deserving community—starting now!
Starting & Building a Nonprofit
If you're ready to save the world, here's the book you need.
Rescue a school library. Preserve an endangered species. Support the arts. Whatever it is you want to do to give back to your community, "Starting & Building a Nonprofit"provides the kick start you need.
Filled with user-friendly information, practical advice and step-by-step instructions, this book is your guide through the process of getting your nonprofit up and running. It explains how to:
pick the perfect name for your organization
structure a nonprofit to achieve your goals
choose a federal tax-exempt status
create a mission statement
develop a strategic plan and initial budget
launch a successful fundraising plan
recruit and manage board members and volunteers
hire and train staff
obtain necessary insurance
market your organization
and much more
"Starting & Building a Nonprofit" goes beyond paperwork -- it addresses the big picture, showing you how to create a solvent, efficient organization that will make a real difference. All the forms you'll need are included as tear-outs and on CD-ROM.
And the newly updated 3rd edition has a brand new chapter on building a website for your nonprofit, along with essential new details on getting the word out and marketing your nonprofit.
Greenhouse Wellness & Physical Therapy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve access to nature and “green space” for those who may not be able to safely participate in outdoor activity due to fear, pain, poor balance, and other limitations. They provide education, wellness services, and one-on-one physical therapy intervention in combination with the healing power of nature to promote optimal wellness and movement.
North East, MD
Travel With An Angel LTD. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides respite services to Special Needs families while they are on vacation. They also provide Special Needs Awareness training and host Special Needs Awareness Events.
Farrow Propagation is a proud, family owned business and liner grower for the Wholesale nursery with a commitment to quality and value. They offer a diverse line of woody ornamentals including some of their own plant patents. They are also an approved MDA boxwood grower.