March 23rd, 2015

Follow Your Dream with the SBIC

Clipper ship“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Do you ever dream of becoming your own boss?  Do you ever wonder if owning your own business is a possibility?  Do you have the entrepreneurial spirit to go it alone and start something new?  Does Mark Twain’s quote inspire you to begin the journey toward self-employment?  If so, let the library help you start your journey!

Did you know that Cecil County Public Library has a Small Business Information Center (SBIC)?  The SBIC provides free information and assistance with the process of starting or running a small business.  This is a no-cost, focused service for potential and existing small business owners.  In addition to access to up-to-date business information, the SBIC also works with a team of local business organizations to get you the help you need. Make an appointment with the SBIC by calling 410-996-5600 ext. 128 or by emailing .

The library also offers free online courses that will help you gain the knowledge you need to be successful in your business endeavors.  These 6-week courses can be accessed here, and all you need to sign up is your library card number.  Examples of available courses include “Creating a Successful Business Plan,” “Accounting Fundamentals,” “Effective Selling,” and “Introduction to QuickBooks.”

Along with our online courses, we also offer programming at the library.  On April 1 at 6:30pm at the Elkton Library, Jason Lim from Edward Jones will be presenting, “The Entrepreneurial Equation: Out of the Box Ideas to Prepare for Success.”  To sign up for this program, click here.  You can also sign up to receive email notifications about upcoming small business programming at the library by clicking here.

Don’t look back twenty years from now and, as Mark Twain put it, “…be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Make an appointment with our SBIC librarian, attend the April 1 program, and sign up for our online courses today!

November 24th, 2014

Small Business Saturday

2014_SBSI am very excited to introduce our first guest blogger, Patti Paulus.  My position as the small business librarian started almost six years ago, and I have had the pleasure of knowing Patti as a client and friend for the past five years.  I am so proud that the idea of an artist co-op from five years ago launched into such a successful business, The Palette & The Page.  She has positively contributed so much to the downtown revitalization of Main Street in Elkton and the store makes shopping local a no-brainer!

By now you have probably heard about “Small Business Saturday” which is the Saturday after Black Friday, this year it’s November 29th.  For Small Businesses, it is a pretty big deal.  As one of the owners of a small business in downtown Elkton, it feels like a special celebration and recognition of us and all small businesses.  The point of the event is to purposefully go out and shop at small businesses on that day in particular.  Of course, all small business owners want you to remember them whenever you shop, eat, need a repair or some construction, need your hair done – I think you get the picture…

Many studies have been done about the impact small businesses have on a community.  According to the SBE Council, small businesses are incubators for innovation and employment growth and have accounted for 60% of the net new jobs created since the end of the recession, which began in about mid-2009.  According to the American Independent Business Alliance, “Multiple studies show locally-owned independent restaurants return twice as much per dollar of revenue to our local economy than chain restaurants. And independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors.”  Additionally, according to AMIBA, “Buying remotely on the web creates almost no local benefit-just a few minutes’ work for a delivery person.”

My small business, The Palette & The Page, a gallery owned by women in downtown Elkton, has been in existence for 5 years.  With much help from Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center (SBIC), we have grown to represent 30 local artists, 12 local authors and provide our community with a place to find truly unique items for themselves, their homes and their family and friends.

We’ve also been very instrumental in creating an active First Friday Art Loop in Downtown Elkton, providing opportunities to see new artwork, meet artists and authors, hear live music AND support small businesses- all throughout the Elkton Arts & Entertainment District.  Just this year we were chosen to receive the 2014 Small Business of the Year Award from the Elkton Chamber & Alliance.

On November 29th, for Small Business Saturday, we are joining forces with Small Busi-nesses everywhere, but especially those in our community.  We encourage you to “Shop Small” – support the places in your community that add value by helping to make the community strong, where people remember you, where you can be a part of giving back by spending your dollars  in a place where it will impact your community twice as much.  Additionally, your support will keep on giving as those businesses return their dollars to their community by investing in the community.  We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, November 29th!

If you are interested in starting your own small business, contact the Small Business Information Center at 410-996-5600 ext 128. Also, try this resource for small business success.

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