Being a business owner can be tough, because there are so many moving parts and the only constant is change. It’s even more difficult to own and operate a business during a global pandemic when nothing is "normal" and the trends and patterns that were once defined, no longer exist (or are very fluid).
As a Business Librarian, entrepreneurs often schedule one-on-one research appointments where they try to grasp some sort of focus that will help them get a hold of something real and tangible, whether it be the location of their target market so that they know where to focus their marketing efforts, or the similarities and differences of their competitors, so that they can adjust best practices or learn what not to do. Some industries are very saturated, while others are scarce and don’t offer as much relevant, up-to-date information for insight. All of it can be overwhelming as a business owner when you’re just trying to find the perfect formula for your business; providing the optimal product or service to the most targeted audience, in the place(s) where they exist, at exactly the right times.
Finding that formula takes trial and error, time, patience, and strategy, and it’s important to know that the formula can—and most likely will—change over time. As a business owner, you must constantly reassess and check the "health" of your business, based on internal and external factors.
At the BRIC, we specialize in helping entrepreneurs learn how to conduct business research in the areas of market research, demographics, and conducting a competitive analysis, but some of our partners have been so helpful in providing useful information or services that have helped me as business owner and as a Business Librarian providing services to business owners.
Here are three resources that you may find helpful, either for yourself or for someone looking for additional business resources.
Find a business mentor
A business mentor that specializes in your chosen industry can be one of the most useful resources to have in your arsenal of business knowledge. They have the experience, knowledge, network, and passion to help business owners succeed and it is their mission to provide guidance, which is what many business owners want. SCORE connects entrepreneurs with business mentors who they can work with over an extended period of time, and also offers a new real-time mentoring platform that gives live advice. This is great for entrepreneurs who are seeking ongoing, guided support.
Get legal advice
As you can imagine, at some point business owners have legal questions that we can’t answer as librarians, and since we definitely want to give accurate information, we refer entrepreneurs to the professionals. One of our partners, Philly VIP, is our go-to when it comes to most of our referrals involving legal questions, and we love them because they provide free legal assistance to small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Business Development Webinars
As a business owner and a Business Librarian, I feel that you can never have too much business knowledge, especially because business information is always evolving. There are so many organizations that provide regular business development educational webinars, many of them occurring virtually, which is even more convenient for entrepreneurs. Below you can find some of my favorite organizations for business education/development, along with links to their webinar listings:
There are so many great resources available for business owners, visit our Business Services page for more information on some of these resources.