Turn Your Idea Into A Business with COBRA

Start researching your business plan here

Across the Ask About Business members we provide free access to a number of business and intellectual property databases; helping entrepreneurs and businesses to research trends, markets and companies, and to utilise and protect their IP. If you’ve ever wondered what the market trends are in a particular industry, how to write a business plan, or where to search for trademark registrations, then you can use our databases to find out.  

For this blog post we look at the COBRA database (or, to give it its full name, the ‘Complete Business Reference Advisor’), which is probably one of our best-used resources. COBRA is essentially an online encyclopedia of practical information for starting, running and managing a small business and includes over 4,000 fact sheets and local area profiles. It’s often the first stop for entrepreneurs looking at setting up their business, as it provides lots of helpful hints for start-ups and is very easy to search. COBRA is accessible from the Ask About Business website or the online reference section of the libraries website. 

One of the things that makes COBRA particularly useful is that it provides a very comprehensive amount of information, covering a wide variety of industries - from the global to the niche. For instance, in this month’s updates, we have profiles on business areas ranging from Homemade Pickle and Preserve Maker to Running a Creche, to House Sitters and Clothing Shops. 

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact businesses in all sectors across the UK, Cobweb Info have created and updated a wide range of Coronavirus Briefings  covering the latest developments and support available. For details of how to access COBRA click HERE

This update starts with a look at the most popular Business Opportunity Profiles (BOPs), which summarise the opportunities and requirements for a particular industry or business area. The profiles outline the qualifications and skills needed, key market issues and trends, main trading issues and relevant legislation, and a guide to sources of further information. 

Below are the top twenty most popular BOPS with library users across Greater Manchester: 

  • Mobile coffee cart 
  • Juice bar 
  • Artist 
  • Wedding planner 
  • Handmade cosmetics 
  • Ice cream van 
  • Personal fitness trainer 
  • Mobile takeaway 
  • Specialist cake maker 
  • Private exam tutor 
  • Domestic cleaning service 
  • Microbrewery 
  • Funeral director 
  • Locksmith 
  • T shirt printer 
  • Bike shop 
  • Greetings card maker 
  • Café 
  • Performing arts company 
  • Videographer 

Finally, on to the Business Information Factsheets (BIFs). These are guides and summaries which provide information on specific areas of general business - for instance marketing, legals, or funding. They’re a great resource for start-ups who need to investigate the practicalities of running a business.  

The ten most recently updated factsheets are: 

  • Completing a Self-assessment Tax Return 
  • 20 Tips to Help You Choose a Business Idea 
  • Promoting a Business Website 
  • Moving Goods Between Great Britain and the EU 
  • Employers' Liability Insurance 
  • Getting a Press Release Published 
  • Off-Payroll Working (IR35) Assessments 
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE) 
  • Tax Allowances for Capital Expenditure Making Tax Digital for VAT 

If you’d like to view any of the reports on COBRA, you’ll need a library card, which is free from any of the Ask About Business members

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