The Chester County Library has long supported small business owners and entrepreneurs by providing access to top-notch, authoritative information needed to help them succeed. Most of the Chester County Library’s business resources can be accessed from home with a free Library card through the online Business and Career Center.
Sam Bardarik, Business and Career Librarian and SCORE Volunteer, helps her clients find targeted resources for their specific needs. She meets with clients one-on-one to explain the databases, review catalogs and other resources that are important to the clients’ research objectives. “Owners and entrepreneurs are often surprised by the breadth and usefulness of the resources we offer,” says Bardarik.
The Library offers business and technical skill-building opportunities, often in conjunction with community partners like SCORE, to support business planning, social media, marketing, financial stability and more.
The Role of Market Research
Business owners want to deeply understand the competitive environment and target customers prior to making costly, significant product or service decisions. Data-based choices are key to the development of business, marketing and operational strategies before the official launch.
Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA) is the No. 1 resource used to identify demographics and spending habits of key customers, build competitive profiles, inform marketing strategies, and determine ideal neighborhoods and locations to open a new business. “It’s a massive database that can focus down to the street level,” Bardarik explains. Reference Solutions compiles all that information into easy-to-interpret charts, tables, and graphs which can be incorporated into an entrepreneur’s business plan.
Other databases, like Statista and Gale Business Insights: Essentials, provide powerful search capabilities and are easy to use. Users can spend less time hunting for answers to their questions and more time on their market analysis and action plans.
References and Training
Other courses cover cybersecurity skills and related programming languages such as Python and Linux.
For nonprofit leaders, the Chester County Library provides visitors with free public access to grant maker directories and grant funders with the Funding Information Network, an international network of libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit agencies.
The Library orders books, e-books, and audiobooks on all critical small business topics. Print books and audiobooks can be placed on hold for pickup at any Chester County Library location.Print and digital magazines can be borrowed or accessed with The Flipster app. All the best titles are available: Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, Inc., and Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, Kiplinger’s and Money.
Most of the Chester County Library’s business resources can be accessed from home with a free Library card through the online Business and Career Center. Stay in touch with Business Center updates on LinkedIn or by signing up for the Business Bulletin newsletter.
SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties is proud to partner with the Chester County Library system, where many local SCORE business workshops were held in-person prior to COVID and are now hosted virtually. Popular topics such as How to Start and Operate a Small Business, Customers and Competitors: Getting the Inside Data and business planning have been featured year after year.
SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer business experts, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. Since 1954, SCORE has provided education and mentorship to more than 11 million entrepreneurs nationwide. SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties has been operating since 1985, with 100 dedicated volunteers today who provide confidential mentoring at no charge and offer business seminars, workshops and webinars to benefit the community. SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).