Hidden away at Naperville Public Library are services and resources that may prove invaluable to a startup entrepreneur. Here are four key services that can be found at NaperLaunch, our business startup services center and coworking space.
Guidance and Mentoring
Library reference staff can guide startup entrepreneurs to the vast array of library resources that respond to specific needs. They can also give instruction on the use of online resources. Of course, guidance can also be obtained from books on every subject pertaining to business startup. Library staff is also familiar with government resources and websites. Since the library business services staff knows and understands these materials, they can easily guide people quickly to the right resources.
The library partners with SCORE, a volunteer organization of experienced business leaders that provide mentoring. Libraries may also offer access to resources that list business advisers in the areas of accounting, legal structure, marketing, developing a web presence, SEO, and many other subjects pertinent to startup and general business management. The online resources such as AtoZ Databases, Mergent Intellect, and others can provide contact information for adviser or membership organizations.
The online resources are authoritative sources of information that far exceed the depth, quality and relevancy of search results generally available in web searches. Databases such as Plunkett Research Online, LexisNexis, Business Insights and DemographicsNow offer much more information about markets, consumers, competitors, suppliers and industry trends than can be found in a web search. This is because the data available in these databases comes from research companies that sell the data in these formats and don’t make it available in the open web.
Entrepreneurs can literally develop all the information necessary for a startup’s strategic marketing plan right from the library’s databases and print resources.
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.