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Small Business Hub: A Research Guide for Entrepreneurs


At the heart of a good small business is an appealing product or service. Not only must any offering be visually or aesthetically pleasing in the way it is labeled, it crucially must also fulfill a need or want for the customer, with a satisfactory level of quality. If these aspects come together, it is much easier to build a strong brand, and market that accordingly through promotion. The following resources may assist those researching what attracts customers to a product or service, and how to make it best meet their wants or needs.


Starting points:

  1. Consider and research customer needs and desires, and tailor your product accordingly. Research concepts like ‘design thinking’ and ‘customer-centric design’, that may help you in creating and modifying products to best serve customer needs.
  2. Understand what is most appealing about your offering to customers, and ensure that this is incorporated into labeling and signage.
  3. Consider developing iconography (logos and aesthetic features) for your product, and keeping them consistent across labeling and advertising.

Suggested strategies:

  • Use online search engines to see whether your product or service has competition, and to help ascertain what your competitive advantages are.
  • If you are creating a new product that may be similar to others, ensure you’re not infringing patent rights by searching the United States Patent and Trademark Office databases.

Select Resources

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

The subscription resources below marked with a padlock  are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

These are freely available online sources provided by government agencies, trade publications, and organizations.

The following guides were created by the Library of Congress to give an in-depth list of resources on a specific topic.