January 17th, 2017

Cecil Business Resource Partners Prove to be Game Changer for Local Veteran-Owned Business: Peacock Training Institute, LLC

I am so proud to have played a role in Cecil County native Alan Pfau opening his very own firearms training business, Peacock Training Institute, LLC. His story is so compelling because it showcases the power of successful partnerships between local organizations, and the strength the library has in connecting patrons to vital community resources.

Pfau served his country for over 14 years with multiple deployments stateside and overseas, and he hoped to translate the skills he learned in the military into a small business. One of his first decisions was to check out some books around the topic of owning your own business at the Cecil County Public Library. Little did he know that information gained from the books he checked out on entrepreneurship would be a small portion of the information he would receive from the library on launching his first business. While at the library, he learned about the Small Business Information Center, made an appointment with me and we discussed how the library could help him become his own boss.

Pfau and I met one-on-one and discussed his dream of starting a firearms training business. I provided relevant demographic and competitor information related to his industry, including gun ownership rates, which in turn helped him make more reliable projections for his business plan. The competitor information I was able to provide for him came from a free library database called Reference USA. With this information, he analyzed gun ranges near and far and got a sense of their sales volume, number of employees, and credit rating scores. I also knew he would benefit from assistance from other local organizations that have a mission to help small businesses succeed in Cecil County. I referred him to the Cecil Business Resource Partners (CBRP), which he describes as a real turning point for his business. CBRP is a partnership of Cecil County’s education entities and non-profit organizations that have joined together to share information about free resources for small businesses. CBRP members include: Cecil County Public Library, Cecil County Office of Economic Development, Small Business Development Center, Cecil College, Susquehanna Workforce Center, Cecil County Chamber of Commerce and Business Education Partnership Advisory Council.

One CBRP member I suggested Pfau meet with immediately, the Small Business Development Center counselor Ryan Del Gallo, Pfau now credits as being an instrumental mentor in the creation of his business. “Del Gallo assisted me with the financials of my business, writing a business plan, really everything that I needed advice with – he was there for me.” Pfau regularly meets with Del Gallo to discuss his business and credits his relationship with the Small Business Development Center as giving him access to connections throughout Cecil and Harford County. These connections fostered growth for his business, especially the focus group set up by Del Gallo to test out Pfau’s business concept.

Pfau used another connection he received through CBRP to teach a seminar titled, Refusing To Be A Victim, at Harford Community College. CCPL’s introduction to CBRP also gave him a connection to Cecil College. Pfau’s goal is to eventually teach courses there as well. Pfau mentioned another member of CBRP, the Susquehanna Workforce Center (SWN), as giving him access to private industry contacts. He also has an internal training scheduled with SWN in January.

Pfau’s entrepreneurial journey is a shining example of why the Small Business Information Center can be a game changer for local entrepreneurs. The library is a welcoming place, and when I meet with nascent stage entrepreneurs, they feel comfortable asking important questions and researching industry information to be better poised to reach out to banks, community members, or other organizations for assistance with their start-up.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center, or any of the other CBRP members call 410-996-5600 ext. 128 or email sbic@ccplnet.org or visit: www.cecil.ebranch.info/small-business/.

For more information on seminars and training provided by Peacock Training Institute, LLC, visit www.peacocktraining.com or contact Alan Pfau directly at 443-406-6260. Peacock Training Institute, LLC’s main goal is to make sure clients understand and feel comfortable handling firearms, and Pfau’s training programs are designed to prevent participants from becoming a victim, inside or outside the home. Pfau acknowledges that there is only one place to shoot in Cecil County, Elk Neck State Park, but Peacock Training Institute, LLC will accommodate shooting arrangements there. Pfau’s long-term goal is to open his own shooting range in Cecil County, and with the help of the committed Cecil Business Resource Partners, he can see this coming to fruition.


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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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