Why the Library Can Be a Founder’s Best Friend


Some of the best resources for Louisiana entrepreneurs can be found for free at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.

Andrew Tadman, the reference services coordinator at East Baton Rouge Parish Library, explained how startup founders could leverage the library’s offering to build a stronger business at a recent Tech Park Academy.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library research staff offers face-to-face consultations, where founders are, and helps them connect with the resources that fit their specific needs. All this comes with signing up for a free library card.

“These resources are paid for by your taxes, so you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t take advantage of them,” Tadman said.

Develop a Comprehensive Business Plan

Gale Business: Plan Builder provides a step-by-step online planning tool to start, manage and optimize a business or nonprofit. Plan Builder focuses on five areas of exploration to develop a business plan focused on long-term success:

  • Entrepreneur Profile helps users explore what they can bring to the table as an entrepreneur and assess where they stand in preparing to start a business. A one-page summary of them as an entrepreneur is generated.

  • Business Ideation employs tools such as Lean Canvas, SWOT analysis, Porter’s Five Forces and more to plan the high-level framework in which their business will operate.

  • Break-Even Analysis delivers insight to determine when your business will be able to cover expenses and begin to realize a profit.

  • Business Plans creates a plan that can be presented to potential investors and lenders, including Executive Summary, Lean Business Plan, Full Business Plan, and Strategic Marketing Plan.

  • Financial Projections gives a robust analysis of a company’s financial future encompassing capital expenditures, sales, equity and inventory.

Once founders have created a well-developed business plan, they can focus on understanding customers to find product-market fit.

Find Product-Market Fit With Free Data Resources

Founders and their marketing teams can find rich sources of information from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library that would typically require paid subscriptions.

Gale Business: DemographicsNow helps founders with tools designed to choose a business location, research competitors, analyze market size, build direct marketing lists, profile current and potential customers, forecast trends and cover consumer buying patterns.

Entrepreneurs can use Data Axle and Statista to identify trends and barriers to entry with key figures covering finance, companies, employees and other details. These data can help teams answer critical questions as advertising and promotion:

  • How and where will you promote your product to your target audience?

  • Which advertising channel has the most reach?

  • How much will it cost?

Better business plans and data can only get founders so far. They need to upskill and adapt to the changing marketplace. Fortunately, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library can help.

Learn Skills to Stay Ahead of the Competition

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library provides four significant educational resources for founders:

  • Udemy, offered through Gale, gives users access to 6,000 online lifelong-learning courses.

  • Lynda.com, the library version of LinkedIn Learning, focuses on practical education for entrepreneurs.

  • Gale Courses provides monthly six-week-long, instructor-led courses on business topics.

  • Accel5 is a microlearning platform powered by 3- to 5-minute videos from top business thinkers.

These online courses can give entrepreneurs the skills to face the challenges of running a business and prepare their teams for the future.

“We have resources for potential entrepreneurs all the way up to people with established businesses,” Tadman said. “We offer one-on-one consultations to find out what you need and show you the tools we have to specifically address what your needs are.”

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