Business Posts

NaperLaunch to Celebrate 6th Annual Entrepreneurs Week

NaperLaunch will celebrate its sixth annual Entrepreneurs Week with programs designed to explore the foundational concepts, skills, and techniques of entrepreneurship.

The week kicks off on Monday, September 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the 95th Street Library with Building Relationships through Effective Listening, presented by John Panarese of Fox Valley SCORE.

On Tuesday, October 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the 95th Street Library, Scott Miller of the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits will discuss Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business.

On Wednesday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m., Lindsay Harmon, an Adult Services Librarian at Naperville Public Library, will present Part 1 of Marketing Using Library Resources. This workshop, which is part of the monthly NaperLaunch marketing series, will be held at the Nichols Library. Part 2 of the workshop will take place on Wednesday, October 16.

The week will conclude on Thursday, October 3 at the 95th Street Library with a panel discussion, All About Franchising. Moderator Gloria Spielman of The Entrepreneur’s Source and a panel of local franchisees will discuss the world of franchising and answer audience questions. Panelists include Pam Bartlett of Pinot’s Palette, Robin Helzerman of Tutor Doctor, Elliot Hershik of Supporting Strategies Far West Suburbs, Katie Powell of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, and Richard Ueberfluss of Assisting Hands Home Care.

For more information about Entrepreneurs Week, visit the NaperLaunch website.

Posted: 
Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 13:00

Business Pitching

Is getting in front of people and convincing them that you have a great product or service one of your favorite things to do? If so, you’re probably in the minority among entrepreneurs. The truth is, many startup entrepreneurs who have a great business idea are fearful and unprepared to pitch their business to others.

Developing this skill can be one of the hardest things a new entrepreneur has to learn, but it’s one of the most important. Fortunately, like most things in life, practice makes perfect. The more a startup entrepreneur tells her story, the better she becomes at telling it. Almost every pitch experience is an opportunity to learn something that will make the next one even closer to perfection.

What is business pitching and how does one develop a business pitch? There are different types of pitching. The most commonly known is the pitch for funding. This pitch involves telling your story in such a way that an investor or a lender is willing to “show you the money.” A funding pitch generally follows an established formula and includes certain expected elements, such as identification of the customer problem and your unique solution, which is your unique value proposition. Add to that an assessment of the market, your vision of how you will achieve a commanding marketing share, a description of your team’s strengths and a clear plan of launching and running a successful startup.

Another type of pitching a business is inviting a strategic alliance partner to join forces with you in a marketing effort. If you share customers of another business that does not compete directly with you, but whose product combined with yours makes a better customer solution, you will likely make a stronger value proposition to potential customers if you can combine your marketing campaigns. An example of such a collaboration could be a mortgage loan broker striking an alliance with a realtor. There are many more examples of businesses that can align their marketing to become a more appealing choice for potential customers. This type of pitch requires an appeal to the potential partner’s needs to build a stronger relationship with current and future customers. By teaming up in an alliance, each partner has a broader product offering to market without having to expand their own operations beyond their expertise or available funding.

A third type of pitching is a sales pitch. Obviously, every business needs to make sales by appealing to potential customers. The sales pitch requires much more listening than talking. The successful salesperson discovers customer needs (problems) through asking questions. Listening to answers will guide the salesperson to pitch the benefits of a product or service that solve customer problems. In this way, the customer “buys” instead of the salesperson having to “sell” the solutions.

All three types of pitching require some research and analysis of the target audience and development of a solid pitch strategy. Practicing a pitch out loud with a partner is an excellent exercise. It is also a good idea to capture a pitch on video and refine the presentation to remove noticeable flaws and perfect the language and emphasis on key points.

The NaperLaunch new business startup center at the Naperville Public Library offers a quarterly pitch session for entrepreneurs to practice and prepare their pitch. The next Pitch Session will be Thursday, August 29, at 8:00 a.m. at the Nichols Library. The library’s Business Services Team members (library staff) are available for one to one guidance to put together a pitch for this session. SCORE mentors are also available for coaching interested pitchers through this entire process.

Get involved with our startup community and learn how to pitch. With preparation and practice, you will easily overcome the fear and your confidence will grow. It will pay huge dividends in the development of your startup!

Posted: 
Monday, July 29, 2019 - 16:45

New NaperLaunch Academy Cohort Is Forming; Learn More at Open House

Past participants in the NaperLaunch Academy have reported doubling their revenue in the 12 months following graduation. Others have increased their sales and expanded their business lines. Whether you’re thinking of starting a business or looking to take your business to the next level, the Academy has a proven track record of fostering business success.

The Academy offers a focused curriculum to help entrepreneurs develop a business idea, determine its feasibility, complete a break-even analysis, and write a solid business plan, including deep financial forecasting.

The coursework also addresses legal requirements to start a business in Illinois, acquire funding if needed, and how to transfer risk of loss from negligence or property damage. Participants will also learn fundamental professional selling skills and how to establish the basis for a marketing strategy for their business.

Class sessions are held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the NaperLaunch coworking space at the Nichols Library.

A cohort is forming now for the session that begins July 23. The deadline to register is Thursday, July 18.

If you are interested in starting up a business or desiring to make a strategic pivot in an existing business, you’re invited to attend our open house on Tuesday, July 9 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Nichols Library. Ask questions and get information about the Academy, its curriculum and class schedule. Past participants will discuss the Academy’s impact on their businesses as they started up or expanded.

Posted: 
Monday, June 10, 2019 - 14:15