| By Gale Staff |
While the news cycle tends to highlight larger corporations and leaders of the industry, it’s the small businesses and the determined people who run them that are the unsung heroes of the U.S. economy. According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses account for 99.9% of all businesses in the United States. Small business owners around the country head to work each day, solving problems and creating jobs.
These businesses aren’t often flashy. In fact, census data approximates that the United States has roughly 25 million “one-person” businesses, and most have less than five employees. Based on these numbers, it’s very likely that at least one of your library patrons owns or works for a small business. We often take for granted that these businesses exist but it’s important to consider them and how they help support your own community. Perhaps a local diner sponsors the youth soccer league. Maybe the boutique on Main Street attracts new shoppers to town. No matter their mission, small businesses pay local taxes and provide local jobs, which helps any community thrive.
This year the SBA hosts National Small Business Week from April 30 through May 6, so why not take the opportunity to show support for the small businesses in your community? Libraries can raise awareness for the free guidance for business owners in Gale Business: Entrepreneurship and Gale Business: Insights. Plus, just in time for Small Business Week, Gale launched printable tools and on-demand webinars that include tip sheets and resource guides for these two resources.
Provide Important Information
Libraries can provide crucial information for local business owners; after all, not everyone has the time or can afford to attend business classes. Luckily, aspiring entrepreneurs can use Gale Business: Entrepreneurship to start and run their own businesses. The easy-to-use interface is mapped out in four distinct business phases: plan, fund, start, and manage. There are curated topics no matter where an individual is on their small business journey. For those just beginning, Gale Business: Entrepreneurship includes helpful, accessible information on budgeting, business plans, market research, and more. Conversely, those in the growth stages of their business can find tips on managing employees and technology that might assist their expansion.
Additionally, users can tap into hundreds of actual business plans through Gale’s Business Plan Handbook. With this all-inclusive resource, entrepreneurs can browse full-text examples of business plans, helping them gain the confidence to create their own. Gale Business: Entrepreneurship also houses digitized, easy-to-search content from dozens of business-related eBooks, magazines, news pieces, and other pertinent sources.
Amplify Your Business Research
With Gale’s business suite, public libraries can serve as an educational hub for local business owners, offering access to ideas and strategies to help them grow and succeed. Business students and practitioners can expand their research and understanding of market trends and financial concepts through Gale Business: Insights. This database combines reference content and targeted publications to assist users in better understanding today’s business landscape.
Gale Business: Insights‘ Company Hubs lets researchers gain deeper insight into actual companies, including business history, hierarchy, and even financial data—users can see real financial statements provided through reliable, third-party organizations such as Thomson Reuters Financials and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Understanding a small business’s market trends and financial health is key to that company’s success.
Business owners can also use Gale Business: Insights to better understand their industry’s growth potential. Comparing similar entities helps entrepreneurs assess the strengths or weaknesses of their own businesses. Gale’s platform even facilitates chart comparisons allowing users to create and download visualized data for their reporting needs.
Libraries that subscribe to Gale can leverage the new Small Business Roadmap to deepen engagement with their community’s small businesses. The Small Business Roadmap is designed for anyone. There’s no need for you to be a business expert. Rather, think of this resource as a how-to guide for supporting a small business owner’s success. Topics include outreach and programming ideas to help your library attract local business owners. By investing in these types of initiatives, you can demonstrate real, practical value for public library spaces. Show how your library is not only a community hub for children and families but that there are real assets for local business owners to use as well.
Celebrate Small Business Week
Sharing Gale’s business resources helps educate and guide current and aspiring local entrepreneurs, but there are many other fun ways to participate in National Small Business Week. Consider some of the ideas below:
- Shop local: From April 30 through May 6, make a point of shopping at the small businesses in your community. Hit the local bookstore rather than buy titles from Amazon. Swing by the corner coffee shop instead of Starbucks.
- Buy gift cards: If possible, buy gift cards from small businesses. You can use them for yourself later or as presents for birthdays and holidays. Maybe give them as raffle prizes for other library events throughout the year. Giving gift cards to your community members helps raise awareness for local brands.
- Promote on social media: If your library has a social media page, help advertise local businesses that you love! Tag the business in your posts and share the ways that the business contributes to your community. Be sure to include National Small Business Week hashtags in your posts—#SmallBusinessWeek and #SmallBizSuccess.
- Host a Small Business Night: Invite local entrepreneurs your library. New and aspiring business owners can mingle with more established community business leaders, sharing best practices and maybe even finding a mentor. Moreover, you can use the event as an opportunity to spread the word about your library’s key resources for entrepreneurs.
The wealth of content housed in Gale Business: Entrepreneurship and Gale Business: Insights makes starting a business a little less daunting. Who knows, you might help spark the next great venture for your community!
You can explore additional information about National Small Business Week through the SBA’s official site.