November 28th, 2016

Plan for your business with Demographics Now

dnowAs a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, predicting industry trends and demographic changes can be a crucial component of future success.  Nearly every entrepreneur would probably agree with this, but the challenge comes in learning how to accurately predict these changes and where to go to find this type of information.  For Cecil County Public Library cardholders, look no further than your home computer/device or your local library branch.

From a computer and with your library card number, you can access the database Demographics Now at http://www.cecil.ebranch.info/small-business/business-plan-help/.  Demographics Now gives users fast and easy access to detailed demographic information for Maryland state, counties, and towns with customizable searches.  The demographic information found within Demographics Now provides information helpful for marketing, business planning and advertising, as well as facts on population, income, and consumer expenditures using Census information.

Here is an example of how this database can work for an entrepreneur.  If an entrepreneur is interested in opening a car repair business in Cecil County, Demographics Now allows users to see how many people in Cecil County own 1 car, 2 cars, 3 cars etc and how many cars they are projected to own in 2021.   The database provides information on approximately how much Cecil County residents are spending on motor repair, tires, body work, etc. and how much they are predicted to spend on these things in 2021.  The user can see the projected changes from 2016-2021 in household income, age, educational attainment, and housing type.  The database allows users to dig deeper and analyze differences between zip codes too.  Users can see the percentage of households in Cecil County that visited an automotive repair retail establishment, and this is just a small fraction of what is available.

Personalized assistance with this database is available for free by contacting the Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center.  The Small Business Information Center provides free information and assistance with the process of starting a small business and can be reached at 410-996-5600 ext. 128 or by email at sbic@ccplnet.org.

 


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October 31st, 2016

Small Business Information Center Client Highlight: Aristos’ Harvest – Beth Tumas

aristosharvestBeth Tumas walked into the Small Business Information Center at the Cecil County Public Library back in 2012 with the dream of creating a small business that produces and sells natural honey and goat milk products, locally, with fresh homemade ingredients. At the time, Tumas did not even own a single bee or goat, but she had a vision and a passion, she just needed a plan of action. Fast forward to today, and Beth operates her small business, “Aristos’ Harvest” along with her numerous colonies of bees, her herd of alpine goats and with her other animals, she has recently expanded her business to a new farm. She sells her honey, soaps, lip balms, and her hand salve at stores like Pickled Pickles in Oxford, PA and Rooted in New London, PA. Tumas’ mission statement for Aristos’ Harvest is that it will be “a working farm that balances our animals, ourselves, and the environment through education, business, and environmental stewardship.” Tumas credits her business success with the help she received at the Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center (SBIC).

At the SBIC, she met with the Small Business Librarian one-on-one and learned the process of starting a business and how to map out her goals in a business plan. Tumas is especially grateful for the free online Gale Courses the library offers. She took the free course titled, “Start Your Own Business” and learned about the different legal business structures and the tax implications of each form. She credits the course for giving her a firm foundation to make smart decisions in the early stages of her business.

Tumas also credits the knowledge she gained at the free programs offered by the SBIC at the library with her success. Tumas states, “the free QuickBooks classes taught at the library really tasked me with organizing my business. I realized the importance of keeping track of inventory and now, at any point, I can know if I am making or losing money. I am so grateful I learned this in the early stages of my business.” At another program Tumas attended, “From Hobbyist to Entrepreneur: Building an Online Business” presented by local business owner and artisan, Sara Renzulli, she learned the adage “Don’t be afraid to promote yourself.” Tumas said that really stuck with her and has given her the courage needed to self-promote her business, something that she was not initially comfortable with. The Small Business Information Center provides free assistance and resources to any aspiring or established entrepreneur.

If you are interested in learning more about the Small Business Information Center, visit http://www.cecil.ebranch.info/small-business/, call 410-996-5600 x481, or email sbic@ccplnet.org. For more information on the free Gale Courses, visit http://www.cecil.ebranch.info/digital-library/gale-online-courses/. If you are interested in learning more about Aristos’ Harvest, visit her website at www.aristosharvest.com, email her at aristosharvest@gmail.com, and be sure to like her on Facebook. Tumas will be at Pickled Pickles in Oxford, PA on Friday, November 18th from 5pm to 9pm to meet customers and to create a bees’ wax craft for those interested.

What small business do you want to start?