We try to recommend websites with authoritative information from reputable sources that offer significant content that is free for anyone to access.

Local Online Resources
California and Federal Agency Websites
Commercial & Nonprofit Websites

Local Online Resources for Small Businesses

  • Tools for Business Success From the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, this site has everything you need to start and grow a prosperous business in Sonoma County, including pay rates for 850+ jobs; Business Start-Up Kit, Loan Payment Calculator, 85 business related online classes, 750+ business books, new hire email, Employer’s Kit, a directory of sources of capital and more.
  • North Bay Business Journal – Local coverage for Sonoma/Marin businesses, as well as for Solano and Napa counties and the 680 corridor. Excerpts from the Journal are featured on their web site, and information on ordering their Book of Lists.
  • Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce – This website provides information on membership in the Chamber, Economic Development Projects, publications and more.
  • Sawyer Center – Help and information for inventors. Patent searches; information on how to copyright your work or trademark your product; training and consulting.
  • SCORE – North Coast chapter of the small business counseling organization. Workshop listings and free business counseling information.

California State & Federal Agency Websites

  • California Business Portal – Sponsored by the California Economic Development Partnership, this website provides a portal to a number of resources for starting, growing, financing, expanding or relocating a business in California. The portal seeks to simplify the path to the resources you need. These resources are provided by a myriad of public and private sources, from State and federal agencies to local private non-profit organizations, all of which are accessible to you here, simply by clicking through the portal’s pages.
  • California Business Law & Regulations – Links to California Business & Professions Code, Commercial Code, Corporations Code, Labor Code, Revenue & Taxation Code, Code of Regulations, etc.
  • CalGOLD Business Permitting Database – To assist you in finding the appropriate permitting information for your business, the CalGOLD database provides links and contact information that direct you to agencies that administer and issue business permits, licenses and registration requirements from all levels of government.
  • California Commerce & Economic Development Program/Business & Community Resources – “Do you have a business you wish to start? Does your community need better methods to market itself? The Division of Economic Development is dedicated to support the local business and community. As the State’s lead organization for economic development, we can help you with our business services and resources.”
  • California License Information – The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) provides information to the public regarding over 150 professional license types issued through the DCA Boards/Bureaus/Committees/Programs.

United States Departments & Agencies

  • Business.gov, the official business link to the U.S. Government, is managed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in a partnership with 21 other federal agencies, known as Business Gateway.
  • Current Industrial Reports (CIR) Program has been providing monthly, quarterly, and annual measures of industrial activity for many years. The primary objective of the CIR program is to produce timely, accurate data on production and shipments of selected products.
  • U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission Information for Small Businesses – This is a valuable section of the SEC website designed especially for small businesses considering ‘going public,’ with a list of the benefits and the new obligations, and instructions for registering for a public offering. “All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR. Anyone can access and download this information for free. Here you’ll find links to a complete list of filings available through EDGAR and instructions for searching the EDGAR database.”

Commercial & Nonprofit Websites

  • Annual Report Gallery – A compilation of annual reports available online, with 10K filing information too, and links to many other business research sources.
  • BPPlans.com has 100+ sample plans that you can view for free.
  • Business Calculators – Entrepreneur Press offers free online business calculators to help you figure your break even point, cash flow, startup costs,email ROI, etc.
  • Business Terms Glossary – Presented by The Washington Post, “the glossary contains more than 1,250 business terms, organized and cross-referenced for your convenience. You can search the glossary for a particular word or search the full text of the glossary to find every reference to a word or phrase.”
  • California Business Opportunity Classifieds – Lists businesses, small companies and franchises for sale by owner, or listed with professional business brokers. Search by type of business, geographic area, date, cost, or keyword.
  • Entrepreneur Press Sample Business Plans – From an Auto Repair Parts Store to a plan for a Wedding Consultant business, you can get ideas to help with your own business plan from these sixty sample business plans.
  • HealthCoverageGuide.org – Everything small business owners and their advisors need to know about offering health insurance. An unbiased resource on cost estimates, tax savings, coverage options, legal rights, and more.
  • Hoovers Online – Search for company Information on over 40,000 companies, from the major business reference publisher.
  • ThomasNet – The online version of The Thomas Register of American Manufacturers. It is a great place to look for who produces what for industry. Search by Company name or product.
  • Trade Data Online – Produced by the Canadian government, the database provides the ability to generate customized reports on Canada’s and U.S. trade in goods with over 200 countries for over 5,000 products by Harmonized System codes and over 500 manufacturing/resource industries by NAICS and SIC codes.
  • TradePort: California’s Gateway for Global Trade – TradePort is a repository of free information and resources for businesses that seek to conduct international trade to and from California.
  • United States Chamber of Commerce – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region. Take a look at their Small Business Toolkits for help on everything from Employee Screening to Government Contracts.
  • Zoominfo.com is a company directory website that claims to have over 3 million companies in their database. Search by keyword, company name, geographical area, number of employees, annual revenues.