| Originally published by Starland News, sponsored by Mid-Continent Public Library |
With more than 30 libraries in the Kansas City region, the Mid-Continent Public Library offers entrepreneurs a wealth of tools beyond books on shelves. From databases to software to an array of events, MCPL provides a trove of information to better build a business.
Research is key when you’re starting a business.
Say, for example, I’m launching an outdoor apparel company for women in Kansas City. I want to know how many women, ages 25 – 44, live in Jackson County.
I’d log into my MCPL account, hop over to the DemographicsNow tool and then type in the location — zip code, city, county or state — I want to analyze. Then select your report type — in this case, comparison of age by sex.
Click run report and boom. I know that women account for about 51 percent of Jackson County’s population and that there are about 98,879 women ages 25 – 44.
With DemographicsNow, a user can not only analyze the demographics and market potential of any geography in the United States, you can create custom reports, perform market analysis, draft interactive maps and search people and companies.
Whether you’re a new entrepreneur, a seasoned business owner or a nonprofit, everyone can benefit from a fresh set of eyes on what you’re building.
Through its step-by-step planning tool, Gale Small Business Builder helps transform ideas into a plan. The program’s dashboard takes users through five areas of exploration to develop a blueprint that’s focused on long-term success, including self-analysis, ideation, your firm’s potential to be profitable, a business plan that can be shared with investors and financial projections.
The entrepreneur profile tool analyzes your strengths and weakness and develops a one-page summary of you as a business owner. Identifying your gaps can help inform how you should build your team.
The ideation tool taps such practices as the lean canvas, SWOT, Porter’s Five Forces and more to plan a high-level framework for a business or nonprofit.
The “Break-Even Analysis” helps founders identify when a user’s business will be able to cover expenses and generate a profit. It also offers helpful resources on budgeting, traditional and nontraditional financing sources and tech tools.
The business planner generates a presentable plan that you can pitch to investors, including an executive summary, lean business plan and strategic marketing plan. For nonprofits, the program also jumps into making grant proposals.
The final step makes some financial projections. It helps provide an analysis of a company’s financial future, including capital expenditures, sales, equity, and inventory.