Business Posts

Advantages of the NaperLaunch Coworking Space

Demand for coworking space has continued to rise dramatically in 2017 and is forecast to do so again in 2018. An online search for trends in coworking will return dozens of articles expounding on the subject, all indicating that in many places around the world, the number of facilities and the amount of office space devoted to coworking has doubled in 2017 and the expectation is that such facilities will continue to expand in number and size in 2018.

One trend that remains somewhat unique is finding coworking space in a public library. While there are examples of this public space increasing as well, there are still only a small percentage of public libraries offering a space that is rich in amenities and conducive to the support of startup entrepreneurs.

Free Work Space

At Naperville Public Library, a coworking space was opened in 2015 as part of NaperLaunch, a business startup services center at the library’s downtown location, the Nichols Library. Over the past 2.5 years, the space has served thousands of “coworkers”, new entrepreneurs and local workers who have found an office space to meet their needs. At NPL, this facility is connected to an impressive array of supporting services and programs that have helped quite a few business startups in Naperville and surrounding communities.

Since using this space is free of charge, it is a welcome solution for many startups facing the challenge of earmarking their already thinly stretched capital for office space instead of growing a customer base that generates needed revenue.

Networking and Collaboration

Additionally, the space at NPL offers opportunities for networking and collaboration between the various users of the space. A new entrepreneur’s visibility is thus increased just as new business operations are starting up and market awareness is perhaps the greatest need.

The program offering at NaperLaunch is a rich mix of presentation, instruction and participatory events. Meetups, roundtables and small business workshops are available every week and cover all aspects of starting up and running a business in Illinois. Mentoring services are also available.

Through these events, NaperLaunch members meet and associate with other entrepreneurial-minded individuals and build a strong startup community.

Office Equipment and Technology

The library’s Tech Buffet that is located nearby also offers access to state of the art technologies that can be used to create marketing videos and other marketing materials such as buttons, fliers and etched glass give-aways (as examples), and 3D-printed prototypes of products. Access to standard office equipment is also available, such as printers, fax transmissions (outbound), copiers and scanners. The use of only some of these services incurs any costs, and when it does, it is minimal.

Free Wi-Fi

With free Wi-Fi and in-table access to power and USB charging capabilities, the coworking space accommodates the use of portable electronic devices, such as tablets, laptops and telephones. Coworkers are in a pooled office environment, so telephones may be used in the room. Otherwise, most workers are tuned into their own music sources, heads down and working privately.

The coworking space at NaperLaunch has proven to be a good solution for many coworkers in the area. Come on by and take advantage the convenient location!

Posted: 
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 08:30

It’s Never Too Late to Launch a Startup

That’s the idea behind guest writer Thomas Knauff’s new article in Entrepreneur.com online magazine.  And although Mr. Knauff is in his sixties and has logged 21 years between his first and latest startup ventures, his ideas are valuable to entrepreneurs of all ages.  Here are his main points:

 1. Seek out investors who know your industry

“We looked for partners who would make their investment decisions based on industry drivers and our longer-term growth prospects, and not the short-term pressures of a VC or PE fund investment cycle.”  If your investors are not knowledgeable about your industry, you may get blindsided or undercut by differing expectations and time horizons.

2. Embrace the nuance of your company’s finances

“Without finance, nothing else matters because the resources won’t be there to make it happen.”  Hard to say it any better than this!  Take the time to really understand the financial details.

3. Learn everything about your sales operation

“Everything that happens in a company depends on someone selling something.”  It’s critical to understand the sales cycle and the factors driving your customers’ purchase decisions.

4. Do something that reflects your personal values and motivations

“Deep commitments can keep you going during the toughest days.”  Most entrepreneurs have lots of tough days!

5. Become a student of the organizational dynamic, that is, how people behave and react to one another

“The organizational dynamic is pivotal to the success of every entrepreneurial venture; many leaders cast it aside as something to attend to later...and most investors think it’s fluff because they can’t calculate its value relative to EBITDA.”  However, anyone who has looked at a newspaper or tuned in to the news recently has been struck by how many organizations are struggling with cultural issues, sexism, and inter-generational forces.  Don’t wait to address these issues!

Posted: 
Monday, January 22, 2018 - 08:45

4 Invaluable Business Startup Services at NaperLaunch

Business Planning

Many entrepreneurs who come to the library for guidance have never even seen a business plan, let alone written one. Through several different resources at the library, entrepreneurs have access to previously written plans in every type of business imaginable which can be a helpful guide or template for writing a plan.

The Gale Small Business Builder software, available at NaperLaunch, can be used to create a business plan ‘to take to the bank’. This is a top of the line software application that was, in fact, developed by a local entrepreneur in Naperville.

Such tools are indispensable for the new startup that is seeking to gain new partners, senior level employees or investors.

Workshops and Meetups

Meeting in a session with other entrepreneurs and listening to a presentation from a subject expert is another great way to gain meaningful insights into the startup and business management processes. Getting acquainted in less formal sessions with fellow startups creates a community of support as well as learning.

Such events often enhance learning because other entrepreneurs are on hand to help the new startups decipher what is being presented. Another side benefit may be the opportunity to connect with a local SCORE mentor, as these workshops are frequently sponsored by the SCORE chapter.

These four key services only scratch the surface of what is available at NaperLaunch. The coworking space nurtures an environment of networking and collaboration with other entrepreneurs. New startups should not overlook the extensive and free resources at NaperLaunch when seeking guidance and assistance along the entrepreneurial path.

Adapted from a previous LinkedIn article.

Posted: 
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 08:30