For the past several years the City of Jacksonville has consistently turned up on national lists as one of the best cities to start a business.
In 2014, WalletHub ranked Jacksonville the best city in the country to start a business. In 2015, Thumbtack.com ranked Jacksonville among the top 10 cities for black-owned small businesses in America.
So, it should be no surprise that Jacksonville Public Library (JPL) is committed to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit of our customers. In fact, one of our primary goals is to provide resources and programs to help people of Jacksonville start and grow small businesses.
We have a collection of databases that include marketing analysis, sample business plans, and access to information on potential competitors. But one of the best offerings we have is the Business Smart class that is designed to teach you how to start a business. It’s a three-part series taught by a representative from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
We launched the series last week at the Southeast Branch. As a member of the Community Relations and Marketing team I wanted to check it out to get a good look at what it’s all about. The expectation was to gain better insights to market it effectively.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The content, knowledge of the instructor, and overall quality of the course was exceptional. I’ve started several businesses in the past, yet, I learned so many things I didn’t know.
I found myself in awe that the library is able to offer this level of training to our customers
for FREE. I have seen similar courses being offered from other local organizations that target entrepreneurs. Each of the competing courses I have seen has charged at least $100 for the series or $30 per class.
The value of what you will receive from the JPL course far exceeds the cost. This course is being taught by an instructor with 30 years of service with the SBA. She knows of what she speaks and she doesn’t withhold any information. She has a genuine desire to nurture budding entrepreneurs by equipping them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.
In part-one we covered a lot of topics. We discussed the 10 reasons most small businesses fail, the importance of having a business plan and what should be included in it, and how to conduct a market analysis.
By the end of the session, everybody in the class was already looking forward to coming back for part two.
Even if you’re not ready to start your own business right now, but just have an idea that you may want to explore later, you should still take the class. It will help you flush out some of your ideas, and provide you with the foundation you need to set you up for success later. Everybody in the class had a different agenda, yet we all left feeling like we had our needs met.
The next class is on Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 6-8 p.m. at the Southeast Branch on Deerwood Park Boulevard. There is no registration required. It’s first come first serve. The class was pretty full last week, so come early to get your seat.
Hope to see you in class!