Those looking to start a business, grow a business, or raise funds for a nonprofit can find many helpful resources at The City Library. The Library is a hub for learning of all kinds, and has many business tools, classes, and databases available — for free!
In partnership with SCORE, the Library regularly holds small business workshops. These workshops cover important basics for beginning entrepreneurs such as creating a business plan, bookkeeping, setting financial goals, and understanding business taxes. For non-profits, the Library offers intensive grant-writing workshops (taught by members of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) which cover the important factors in writing successful grant proposals. Information on these workshops can be found at slcpl.org/events.
FREE ACCESS TO PROPRIETARY RESOURCES NOT FOUND ON THE WEB
Whether you’re starting a business or looking for funding and resources for your nonprofit, bookmark this link to The Digital Library slcpl.org/digitallibrary. The Digital Library, along with your City Library card, gives you free access to several expensive business databases and resources, available 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection. Normally these databases come with subscription fees, but with The City Library you can get started on research and planning before spending dime one.
For example, the Gale Business Plans Handbook features actual sample business plans aimed at entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses. These plans come from businesses in the manufacturing, retail, and service industries and serve as examples of how to approach, structure, and compose your business plan. Once you’re ready, the real work begins with the Gale Small Business Builder. This database has step-by-step workflows and tools to help you plan for your small business. These tools can also be optimized for use by nonprofits.
SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURS WITH ONE-ON-ONE CONSULTING
Entrepreneurs have sung the praises of the ReferenceUSA database, the premier source of business information for reference and research. ReferenceUSA helps you to generate B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) lists, use mapping tools for researching new locations, and conduct general market research on both potential customers and competitors. Molly Kohrman, founder of the recently opened sweet shop Brownies! Brownies! Brownies! made use of one-on-one reference consultations with Librarians and learned to use ReferenceUSA. She found the business information she needed for her SBA loan application and was later approved for the full amount by Zions Bank.
“Having some solid research to back up my demographics and projections was extremely important,” Kohrman said. “I don’t think I would have been able to get a loan for the entire amount that I needed and secure a storefront as a first-time business owner without the Librarian’s help and the Library’s resources.”
For nonprofits, grantseeking databases like the Foundation Directory are available in-house at the Main Library, Glendale Branch, and Sweet Branch. “Having worked for several nonprofits, I know that the search for funding can sometimes take the focus away from the mission,” said one local veteran of nonprofit organizations. “Foundation Directory helps streamline the grantseeking process and helps expand the pool of potential funders.”
SUPPORTING ECONOMIC SUCCESS WITH A PROFESSIONAL CREATIVE LAB AND MORE
If you’re a small business owner, you’ll likely find yourself involved in every single aspect of your business. The City Library can help you learn new skills and build a foundation of basic knowledge that can prove helpful as you launch your business. The Creative Lab at the Main Library gives you free use of the full range of Adobe Creative Cloud software, a professional sound-booth and audio/video recording equipment, a large format printer — all with regular classes and one-on-one assistance available to help you learn how to get the most out of these resources. For even more in-depth tutoring, your library card gains you access to classes available at Linked-In Learning (formerly Lynda.com). This database is home to thousands of classes, ranging from business, to design, to web development, and beyond. As with all of the Library’s databases, you can learn at your own pace — anywhere, anytime.
The City Library is committed to promoting economic success throughout Salt Lake City. Visit slcpl.org/digitallibrary or stop by any of the Library’s eight locations to get started.