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Celebrate Entrepreneurship at Naperville Public Library during Small Business Week

Every year since 1963, the U. S. Small Business Administration recognizes the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and small business advocates from across the nation through National Small Business Week. This year’s Small Business Week is being held from April 29 through May 5, and will begin with an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. where national award winners (including the naming of this year’s national Small Business Person of the Year) will be recognized and awarded for their achievements.

In addition, all 68 district offices of the SBA will be holding events this year, with many are doing multiple events during the week for the small business community they represent. Some of these will be available online through the SBA website.

For the sixth year in a row, Naperville Public Library’s business startup center and coworking space, NaperLaunch, will mark Small Business Week with workshops and programs to educate and inform small business owners, in order to foster business success.

This year the week’s events will culminate with the finals of the Business Plan and Pitch competition and the NaperLaunch Business Showcase. During Business Plan and Pitch Competition finals, local entrepreneurs will pitch their plan publicly for judging by a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and angel investors. These finalists are vying for a $4,050 cash award.

NaperLaunch members may reserve a table to display information about their business during the Business Showcase.

The public is invited to take part in the events on Saturday, May 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Please join us at the Nichols Library during Small Business Week. This year’s events are listed on the NaperLaunch Website, www.naperlaunch.org.

Posted: 
Monday, April 23, 2018 - 8:45am

Increase Your Financial Literacy During Money Smart Week

While most Americans probably wouldn’t try to manage their own medical or legal affairs, many are shouldering growing responsibilities for making personal financial decisions. They face a vast array of savings options for retirement, college and other goals (Roth vs. traditional IRAs, 529 plans and more) as well as a dizzying choice of credit vehicles (credit cards, home equity loans, reverse mortgages, etc.). At the same time, the proportion of private workers covered by a defined benefit retirement plan (traditional pension) has fallen sharply over the last few decades. In fact, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Retirement and Disability Policy has called it the "disappearing" pension plan! One result is that workers are increasingly being covered by defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s, which usually require participants to select their own investment choices from those offered by the plan and to decide when and how to modify those choices over time.

All these factors make financial literacy a critical goal for Americans of all ages and incomes. The Global Finance Literacy Excellence Center, whose mission is to inform policy and develop and promote financial literacy programs around the world, has emphasized that "…financial literacy levels around the world have reached a crisis point. People are increasingly expected to take responsibility for their own financial security, yet they are unequipped to do so. The consequences of their decisions have far-reaching implications not only for the individuals involved but also for society."

If you are interested in boosting your financial literacy, we invite you to join us during Money Smart Week. Programs are free and do not require registration or a library card.

4/23/2018 Mistakes to Avoid When Saving for Retirement

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Nichols Library – Community Room

Investors often make several mistakes that could hinder proper retirement planning. This seminar will identify those mistakes and offer suggestions on how to avoid making them. The presentation will also provide ideas on how to make the most of retirement savings.

 

4/25/2018 Making the Most of Social Security

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Nichols Library – Community Room

Social Security is the sole means of support for many retirees and offers a high level of flexibility to optimize retirement income needs. This presentation will discuss the different filing options available to married couples, divorced individuals and widows. These alternate filing options can often provide monthly lifetime social security payments higher than the standard filing options that are typically selected. Attendees will be provided with a client workbook that they will be able to keep for future reference.

 

4/26/2018 Morningstar Investment Research Center

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Nichols Library – NaperLaunch

Fani Koutsovitis of Morningstar will demonstrate how to use the Morningstar Investment Research Center to manage investments in bonds, stocks, mutual funds and ETFs. This is one of the free online resources available from Naperville Public Library.

Posted: 
Monday, April 9, 2018 - 9:00am

Jumpstart your Job search with Lynda.com

Whether you are a recent graduate or an experienced professional, if you are looking for a job in today’s market, you may need some tips or advice on the job search process. Naperville Public Library offers an excellent resource with our online subscription to Lynda.com, which you can access with your library card at no cost.

Lynda.com was cofounded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman, a computer instructor and author with a strong background in media arts and design, and her husband Bruce Heavin. It is an online collection of instructional videos that can help anyone learn software, creative and business skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Its courses and video tutorials are presented by recognized industry experts. The trainers are well-prepared, informative and engaging. A wide variety of subjects are covered, including the various aspects of finding a job.

A “Learning Path” called “Become a Successful Job Hunter” was added in September 2017. It consists of 11 video courses in 13 hours of video tutorials. You can “maximize your job search efforts with expert advice from career coaches and business professionals. Whether you're a college graduate or student looking ahead, learn how to craft a career plan, write a resume, search for a job, and nail the interview. You'll also get a primer for professional life with courses on business acumen and how to start your job off right.” These courses range from 15 minutes to over an hour, but the authors break down their courses into a series of lessons between 5 and 10 minutes long. Screenshots, illustrations and animations are presented to illustrate the instruction. You can pause, rewind or fast forward each tutorial session. Exercises are provided for practical use.

Topics covered in other Lynda.com courses include learning basic job skills, transitioning out of your job, finding a remote job, job hunting online, and the new rules of work. And of course, you can update your computer, software and business skills by viewing any of the many other videos available in this valuable online resource. Get started now with Lynda.com!

Posted: 
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 9:15am

Advantages of the NaperLaunch Coworking Space

Demand for coworking space has continued to rise dramatically in 2017 and is forecast to do so again in 2018. An online search for trends in coworking will return dozens of articles expounding on the subject, all indicating that in many places around the world, the number of facilities and the amount of office space devoted to coworking has doubled in 2017 and the expectation is that such facilities will continue to expand in number and size in 2018.

One trend that remains somewhat unique is finding coworking space in a public library. While there are examples of this public space increasing as well, there are still only a small percentage of public libraries offering a space that is rich in amenities and conducive to the support of startup entrepreneurs.

Free Work Space

At Naperville Public Library, a coworking space was opened in 2015 as part of NaperLaunch, a business startup services center at the library’s downtown location, the Nichols Library. Over the past 2.5 years, the space has served thousands of “coworkers”, new entrepreneurs and local workers who have found an office space to meet their needs. At NPL, this facility is connected to an impressive array of supporting services and programs that have helped quite a few business startups in Naperville and surrounding communities.

Since using this space is free of charge, it is a welcome solution for many startups facing the challenge of earmarking their already thinly stretched capital for office space instead of growing a customer base that generates needed revenue.

Networking and Collaboration

Additionally, the space at NPL offers opportunities for networking and collaboration between the various users of the space. A new entrepreneur’s visibility is thus increased just as new business operations are starting up and market awareness is perhaps the greatest need.

The program offering at NaperLaunch is a rich mix of presentation, instruction and participatory events. Meetups, roundtables and small business workshops are available every week and cover all aspects of starting up and running a business in Illinois. Mentoring services are also available.

Through these events, NaperLaunch members meet and associate with other entrepreneurial-minded individuals and build a strong startup community.

Office Equipment and Technology

The library’s Tech Buffet that is located nearby also offers access to state of the art technologies that can be used to create marketing videos and other marketing materials such as buttons, fliers and etched glass give-aways (as examples), and 3D-printed prototypes of products. Access to standard office equipment is also available, such as printers, fax transmissions (outbound), copiers and scanners. The use of only some of these services incurs any costs, and when it does, it is minimal.

Free Wi-Fi

With free Wi-Fi and in-table access to power and USB charging capabilities, the coworking space accommodates the use of portable electronic devices, such as tablets, laptops and telephones. Coworkers are in a pooled office environment, so telephones may be used in the room. Otherwise, most workers are tuned into their own music sources, heads down and working privately.

The coworking space at NaperLaunch has proven to be a good solution for many coworkers in the area. Come on by and take advantage the convenient location!

Posted: 
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 9:00am

It’s Never Too Late to Launch a Startup

That’s the idea behind guest writer Thomas Knauff’s new article in Entrepreneur.com online magazine.  And although Mr. Knauff is in his sixties and has logged 21 years between his first and latest startup ventures, his ideas are valuable to entrepreneurs of all ages.  Here are his main points:

 1. Seek out investors who know your industry

“We looked for partners who would make their investment decisions based on industry drivers and our longer-term growth prospects, and not the short-term pressures of a VC or PE fund investment cycle.”  If your investors are not knowledgeable about your industry, you may get blindsided or undercut by differing expectations and time horizons.

2. Embrace the nuance of your company’s finances

“Without finance, nothing else matters because the resources won’t be there to make it happen.”  Hard to say it any better than this!  Take the time to really understand the financial details.

3. Learn everything about your sales operation

“Everything that happens in a company depends on someone selling something.”  It’s critical to understand the sales cycle and the factors driving your customers’ purchase decisions.

4. Do something that reflects your personal values and motivations

“Deep commitments can keep you going during the toughest days.”  Most entrepreneurs have lots of tough days!

5. Become a student of the organizational dynamic, that is, how people behave and react to one another

“The organizational dynamic is pivotal to the success of every entrepreneurial venture; many leaders cast it aside as something to attend to later...and most investors think it’s fluff because they can’t calculate its value relative to EBITDA.”  However, anyone who has looked at a newspaper or tuned in to the news recently has been struck by how many organizations are struggling with cultural issues, sexism, and inter-generational forces.  Don’t wait to address these issues!

Posted: 
Monday, January 22, 2018 - 8:30am