Business Start-Up Toolkit

The Business Start-up Toolkit can assist you in starting your business!

Think of the Business Start-up Toolkit as a subject guide that will help you find reliable, current information about starting a small business in Lancaster, PA.

The Toolkit focuses on key library resources available at the Business Reference Center as well as links to specific websites, including federal and Pennsylvania state websites, on the following topics: business ownership, business planning, market research, business registration & licensing, business finance & funding, marketing, and HR & staffing.

Navigate through the Toolkit by clicking the links below. If you have any questions, give the Library a call!

Business Ownership

Business Planning

Market Research

Business Registration & Licensing

Business Finance & Funding


HR & Staffing

Start-up Information from the State of PA

  • PA Business One-Stop Shop – An easy-to-use resource from the state, covering all aspects of starting a business in Pennsylvania. You can also find forms, videos, and guides on this website.
  • Starting a Business in Pennsylvania – A PDF guide from the Department of Revenue on paying taxes in PA. Includes a guide on what is considered taxable. This is also called the REV-588 document.
  • Entrepreneur’s Guide – A PDF guide to starting and growing a business in PA, from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The DCED can be reached at 1-833-722-6778

Library Cards & Online Catalog

➡️ To use our online resources, you’ll need a Library System of Lancaster County library card. If you’re not sure if your account is current, contact your local library. If you do not have a library account and you live in Lancaster County, you can sign up online. If you live in another PA county, you may first get a library card from your home county, and then sign up in person at any LSLC library.

To search for a specific item, visit the online catalog.

To search a business database, start here.

Take Advantage of our Community Partners!

🤝 The Reference and Business Center is only one of many resources in Lancaster County that can help you as you start and grow a small business. Visit Cultivate Lancaster for an overall understanding of available assistance. Cultivate Lancaster includes a bi-annual event series called the Entrepreneurs Forums, featuring networking and small breakout sessions.

We highly recommend signing up for a SCORE mentor!

ASSETS offers a variety of services for entrepreneurs, including a small business directory.

Evaluating Information

🔍 For each source you consult, consider the following:

Bias or purpose. Look for information on the author of the source. Consider the context of the information you’re looking at. Be aware of how you found the source. Then decide if there are biases you need to factor into your evaluation: Is the author trying to convince you of something? Is there hyperbolic language that suggests the author is trying to increase traffic to their source?

Reliability & credibility. Dig deeper: Where exactly does the information come from? Has it been edited or reviewed by industry authorities? Look for references, dates, and statistics—anything that can help you verify that what you’re reading is reliable.

Transparency. The perfect source does not really exist! Not all sources are going to be relevant to you & your business. So to move forward with carefully evaluated information, it’s important to review the transparency of the sources you use.