Make the Virtual Small Business Resource Center Your First Stop on the Road to Entrepreneurism

June 26th, 2017

Small Business Resource CenterStarting a small business is no easy feat!  Just thinking of starting a business can cause major stress.  Entrepreneurs have to be willing to research and think through every component of their business.  At the library, we realize research isn’t everyone’s passion like it is ours and not everyone has the time to sort through the 876 million results of a Google query “How to Start a Business.” Fortunately, Cecil County Public Library has an online resource called the Small Business Resource Center, which gives entrepreneurs a great place to begin their research.

We recommend all aspiring entrepreneurs spend time in the Small Business Resource Center because it really can help answer a lot of the questions an early-stage entrepreneur might have.  This database is designed especially for small business owners.  Based on the type of business you are thinking of starting you will find business plans, related professional associations and articles from trade journals which are specific to your industry.  It also has general information on common small business topics such as management, financing, budgeting and marketing.

To access this free online resource, visit: https://www.cecil.ebranch.info/small-business/business-plan-help/ and scroll down to Small Business Resource Center.  Enter your library card number and you will have immediate access to this information.

Another helpful feature of this resource is the glossary.  It defines business terminology that a new entrepreneur might not be familiar with such as “cash flow” and “break-even pricing” in easy to understand terminology.  There is also a page dedicated to overall “how to” questions like: How to Finance Your Business, How to Sell a Business, How to Buy a Business, and more.  The resource will generate recommended resources that answer these questions.

For more information on this database, or our other small business databases that provide competitor and demographic information, feel free to contact the Small Business Information Center at the Cecil County Public Library at 410-996-5600 ext. 128 or email sbic@ccplnet.org.


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

January 17th, 2017

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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