It’s exciting when the eureka moment happens. The instance when a brilliant idea surfaces and you think, “I have something here. This could be big.”
But taking that idea to action is complicated. It’s not enough to have a brilliant idea or to be passionate about your goal. It takes planning, research, and a supportive business ecosystem to start a new venture or launch a new product.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone.
Kacey Flemming found the Library District’s vast business services early in the research phase of her startup, Common Good Tech. By working with the Library’s Business Librarian, Kacey was able to determine the viability of her startup idea.
“The research gave us confidence in this niche market to move forward,” Kacey says. She founded Common Good Tech with her father, an engineer and tinkerer, and together they are inventing convenient home and backyard products for pet lovers and hobbyists.
Poudre River Public Libraries have just about everything a 21st century entrepreneur might need: work space, Internet access, reference materials and research databases, and professional guidance through dedicated business librarians and strategic partners like the Larimer County Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
Here are just a few ways that startups and entrepreneurs can benefit from working with the Library and our Business Librarians.
Do Your Homework
You have your idea, but is there a market for what you’re producing or offering?
Market research is critical to determining whether to move forward with your current startup vision or whether it needs to be refined. The Library’s many free databases and eResources are a wealth of information about your industry, target audience, regulations, competitors, and other business-critical data.
Some of the most popular digital resources for market analysis include
• Census Business Builder
• Encyclopedias of American / Emerging / Global Industries
• First Research
• Market Share Reporter
• Reference USA
“I’m so grateful for the help we received with market research,” Kacey says. “Librarians spent hours researching the market and providing reports and other community resources. It was info that otherwise would have been only available to me behind paywalls.”
Focus on Your Niche
If you’re working within a particular niche or emerging industry, market analysis is going to be useful in determining the size of the market and the existing competition.
“We were able to find reports and statistics about the size of the backyard chicken market, which is our focus right now,” says Kacey. “We were also directed to industry research on similar industries like pre-fab greenhouses which is an area of interest to us in the future.”
Write the Business Plan
Librarians can point you to the many books and eBooks available to help you write your business plan. Much of the market research done previously will be helpful in writing the business plan.
You can also access the Business Plans Handbook Collection eResource which includes actual business plans compiled by, and aimed at, entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses. Sample plans are taken from businesses in the manufacturing, retail and service industries which serve as examples of how to approach, structure and compose business plans.
Set it Up Right
Business Librarians can point you in the direction of information to help start your business. While they are not legal or financial experts, librarians are experts at finding the right library and community resources to help you with the legal elements of establishing a business, ownership structures, tax planning, and researching potential partners and investors.
One eResource that’s available is Legal Information Reference Center, which contains full-text publications and thousands of legal forms. The full-text legal reference books are provided through Nolo, the nation’s oldest and most-respected provider of legal information for consumers and small businesses.
You’ll find information about forming an LLC or a corporation, a legal guide and forms for starting and running a business, and much more.
Work with Pros and Mentors
You don’t want to work in a vacuum when starting a new business. Surround yourself with the right people, mentors, and experts to jump start your business and ensure better success.
Poudre River Public Library District is closely partnered with the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Our Business Librarian and Nonprofit Resources Librarian both serve as consultants with the SBDC and work closely with SBDC team members to support business development.
Kacey worked with both organizations to form Common Good Tech and continues to get guidance from experts in areas like business accounting and patent applications. She also took part in CSU’s Venture Validator course hosted by the Institute of Entrepreneurship, a four-week program that provides early-stage startup assistance and mentorship to CSU students.
“I wish I would have found these community resources sooner,” Kacey says. “But, I’m happy to have resources now to learn from, people to connect with, and a community of support.”
Are you considering a startup?
Get in touch with our Business Librarian Matthew West to discuss your startup idea and what you need to make it a success. Request a one-on-one appointment and explore resources online through the Library’s Business Center webpage.