Business Posts

NaperLaunch Offers New Programs, Same Great Peer Learning and One-on-One Mentoring

With the new year comes some exciting new developments at NaperLaunch. In March, we’ll debut some updates to the format, schedule, and content of our programs. These changes reflect the latest evolution of our continued efforts to serve the needs of Naperville-area entrepreneurs and small business owners. While some of our programs may look different, our commitment to meeting business owners where they are remains the same. Here’s a look at what’s new, and what won’t change, at NaperLaunch in 2020.


What’s new?

To accommodate the increasing number of entrepreneurs interested in participating in the NaperLaunch Academy, as well as requests from established small business owners seeking opportunities to interact with their peers, we’re revamping our morning and evening programming:

Expanded NaperLaunch Academy offerings

Beginning in March with cohort 10, we will be running concurrent NaperLaunch Academy cohorts on two different nights, with staggered start dates. This will allow us to offer more cohorts per year, reducing wait time for prospective Academy participants. We’ve also consolidated our marketing series workshop content into a new NaperLaunch Academy course, Write a Strategic Marketing Plan, that offers attendees a comprehensive view of marketing rather than focusing on a single platform or tool. The current Academy cohort is the first to include the new course.

New master mind groups

Intended for businesses that are past the startup stage and actively producing revenue, master mind groups allow participants to gain insights from one another’s accumulated knowledge and experience. Group members will become intimately acquainted with the business models and plans of each participant. Expert advisors will also be on hand to add insights to the conversation in each meeting. Each master mind meeting will follow an agenda and each member of the group is expected to actively participate. Registration is ongoing; each group will be limited to 15 participants.


What hasn’t changed?

Serving the unique needs of individual entrepreneurs and small businesses is at the heart of everything we offer at NaperLaunch. In 2020, we will continue to meet our members where they are, offering opportunities for business owners at every stage to learn from the experience of their peers and from expert advisors. These include:

Peer learning opportunities

NaperLaunch will continue to offer a variety of ways for entrepreneurs at all stages of business development to learn from each other. These opportunities include monthly SCORE Business Roundtable discussions, moderated by volunteer mentors from SCORE Fox Valley and open to everyone, with no advance registration required, as well as bimonthly SCORE Women’s Business Roundtables, where women business owners, startups and entrepreneurs come together to discuss business challenges and opportunities through a mix of moderated open discussions as well as presentations on topics of interest to group members. In addition, our quarterly Pitch Sessions will continue to allow entrepreneurs to practice their pitch and get immediate feedback and coaching from peers. Registration is required to pitch; no registration is needed to observe and give feedback.

One-on-one mentoring

All of the programs and services offered at NaperLaunch are developed in partnership with Fox Valley SCORE. SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free business mentoring services to entrepreneurs in the United States. SCORE mentors provide customized assistance to help start or grow a business. SCORE mentors hold office hours at NaperLaunch, participate in events, and accept appointments for individual mentoring sessions. Each NaperLaunch Academy student is assigned a SCORE mentor who works closely with them throughout the program.

In addition to business coaching from SCORE mentors, NaperLaunch members have access to Business Services librarians, who can provide an orientation to the library’s business resources, help with registering a corporation or limited liability company, and assist with researching industries and target markets.


We look forward to hearing what you think of the changes we’re making. Call or email us, interact with us on social media, or stop by the library and visit us in person.

Posted: 
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 12:15

Learn about Expanded NaperLaunch Academy Curriculum at Open House on Jan. 7th

Have you resolved to start a business in 2020? The NaperLaunch Academy can help you achieve your goal!

The NaperLaunch Academy is a free, 17-week business curriculum designed to help entrepreneurs develop fundamental business knowledge, improve salesmanship and leadership skills and learn the “lean startup process.” Through courses on business ideation, planning, marketing and sales, support from SCORE Mentors and all of the resources available at the Naperville Public Library, we empower entrepreneurs with everything they need to be successful.

New in 2020: The Academy curriculum will include a 4-week course on strategic marketing planning. Participants will use the Strategic Marketing Plan outline in the Gale Business: Plan Builder software to create a plan that includes goals, objectives, customer personas, customized messages and tactical plans.

The next NaperLaunch Academy Open House is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at the Nichols Library. This informal, interactive session is an opportunity for potential participants to ask questions and learn about the NaperLaunch Academy, its curriculum and class schedule. Attendees will receive guidance about the purpose of the academy, the expectations of participants and the intended learning outcomes. Get a preview of the academy and hear from past participants about the value they received from the academy as they started and expanded their businesses.

Stop by and see what the NaperLaunch Academy can do for your small business. Registration for the next cohort ends Friday, Jan. 10. Classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Posted: 
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 12:15

The Power of the "Master Mind"

In the classic book Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill writes that power comes from accumulated knowledge and an individual can organize that knowledge and accumulate more of it and do so faster by taking advantage of the “master mind,” those persons who have mastered certain skills or processes and who possess superior subject matter knowledge. To access that powerful knowledge and thus move at a quicker pace toward certain objectives or successful endeavors, Hill recommends forming master mind groups, in which individuals gain insights from one another’s accumulated knowledge and experience.

Andrew Carnegie is an excellent example of someone who benefited by engaging knowledgeable individuals who shared their insights, knowledge and lessons learned from experience. He retained 15 experienced and powerful individuals who were his advisers, partners and sounding board. In fact, Carnegie enlisted Hill to document how he had acquired so much wealth. The outcome of that engagement is the aforementioned book. Carnegie felt that this practice of listening to the “master minds” of his day was the primary reason he became one of the leading industrialists and philanthropists of his age.

This relatively simple process can be duplicated today by anyone willing to devote some time and energy to it. We at NaperLaunch want to help local business owners adopt this practice by sponsoring three master mind groups. Each group will meet monthly on Thursday mornings from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m. The groups will be formed by registration only and each group will meet on a different week of the month. Each group will be limited to 15 participants at a time; if one drops out, then another registrant may join. The group members will become intimately acquainted with the business models and plans of each participant. Expert advisers will also be on hand to add insights to the conversation in each meeting. Each master mind meeting will follow an agenda and each member of the group is expected to actively participate.

We anticipate fostering a bond of commitment and support among group participants as they learn from each other’s expertise. Most importantly, we believe in the concept of “peer learning.” The NaperLaunch community is built upon that principle.

To learn more about the NaperLaunch master mind groups and to join a group, visit the Peer Learning page on our website.

Posted: 
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 11:00