During the peak pandemic, local libraries were an unlikely source of salvation for struggling entrepreneurs. Forbes reports they offered critical insights businesses needed to survive the pandemic on a shoestring budget. Across some local libraries, there was a 100 percent increase in the number of business-related information sessions, an 18 percent increase in training-resource use, and a 38 percent increase in the number of training-related videos watched.
Even with the pandemic having subsided, libraries remain a veritable treasure trove in terms of both information and resources for business owners. Here’s why visits to the local library are more than worth your time.
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Easy answers to business problems
No business problem is unique. Someone has likely already encountered it, been through it, and documented their experience. The library will provide you with in-depth guides on common business challenges and strategies on how best to handle them – more than what you can find online. More importantly, you’ll be able to learn from other people’s experiences.
Specialized gatherings to learn from experts
Libraries often host conferences and workshops targeted specifically at business owners. The conferences are led by experienced businessmen. They talk about their niche, share their experiences, impart lessons learned, and field questions from the attendees. You can get a lot out of them if you’re prepared. Workshops include talks with successful businessmen from the region, bankers, and other influential people. Business owners can have all their most pressing queries answered.
Direct assistance from experienced librarians on business-related ventures
Starting and managing a business involves research on a variety of subjects, from product development to sales. Libraries often assist business owners with a part or entirety of the research – sometimes for free. Not only are librarians qualified in terms of what they know, but they are also aware of what the best resources are and how they can be accessed. The most experienced librarians can even offer advice on business matters.
Supplementary study material
Every business owner should be looking to expand his or her awareness and acquire new skills to grow their business. Doing an MBA program – whether in accounting, marketing, human capital management, or economics – is a path many leaders take. Busy entrepreneurs can pursue an MBA online while continuing to run their business, allowing you to balance work, school, and family life. Your local library can be instrumental to your success by providing supplementary study material and companionship in the form of fellow students.
Databases and other resources for informed decision making
Yes, you can look up statistics and data your business needs on Google. Eventually, though, you hit a pay-wall, where you have to fork out money for a specific piece of information. Your library can be extremely useful if you happen to need such information frequently. Many local libraries offer free resources – including business databases with regularly updated information for business owners to consult that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars. Examples include data logs, market research, reports, directories, journals, and newsletters.
Enhancing your communication and other business skills
By reading business-related books, you can acquire skills every entrepreneur needs to have – like bookkeeping, budgeting, and goal setting. Further, the act of reading itself indirectly enhances your various business-related skills. For example, reading helps your vocabulary, provides you with talking points, expands your knowledge, boosts your analytical skills, and reduces stress, says JRELibrary.
Besides learning business tricks, your local library may be able to help you in more practical ways – such as by offering access to video creation tools, connecting you with fellow business owners, and promoting your business. Every local library is unique in what it can offer. Explore yours and you will be amply rewarded in various ways.