Small business workshop series coming to Central Library
By KESHIA McENTIRE The Indianapolis Public Library is equipping local entrepreneurs with the tools to start and sustain a successful small business via a series of free workshops at Central Library covering topics such as social media marketing, financial statements and the legal aspects of launching a business. The majority of the workshop presenters are […] The post Small business workshop series coming to Central Library appeared first on Indianapolis Recorder.
By KESHIA McENTIRE
The Indianapolis Public Library is equipping local entrepreneurs with the tools to start and sustain a successful small business via a series of free workshops at Central Library covering topics such as social media marketing, financial statements and the legal aspects of launching a business. The majority of the workshop presenters are women or people of color and offer diverse perspectives. In addition, the library will host a free legal clinic in partnership with the Indy Bar Association, allowing attendees to meet one-on-one with an attorney and ask questions regarding their intellectual property.
“This new workshop series comes at a pivotal time as we bounce back from a pandemic that affected employment and caused the world to reevaluate the way we work,” said Alexandra Loewen, public services librarian with Indianapolis Public Library. “Small businesses were impacted, and people were inspired to launch new enterprises. We are excited to offer this in-person workshop series that allows entrepreneurs to network face to face and gain knowledge and skills that will help them address challenges and succeed.”
Local business owner Cheo Waters knows the challenges that come with starting a business firsthand. He launched his employment recruiting business, Signature Staffing Solutions LLC, shortly before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I launched at the beginning of 2020 and I didn’t know the pandemic was coming, so I thought I would be flooded with work,” said Waters. “I got a physical office location, not knowing that I wouldn’t need it at the time, and was spinning my wheels to connect with companies and businesses.”
Waters uses free library resources to support his business. He books rooms at the library to host business meetings with clients and he has sought out advice and resources from librarians. Waters feels that it is helpful that the workshops will have a diverse group of presenters because the perspectives of women and people of color are desperately needed in business. He feels there are challenges unique to launching a business while Black.
“There are an incredible number of challenges unique to being a Black man and trying to get your foot in the door with companies, trying to connect with the facilities and provide staffing,” said Waters. “There was one point in time I removed my picture from my LinkedIn profile to help my business grow, but now I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve had more success.”
Ashley Martin, who will lead a workshop on social media marketing during the workshop series, agrees that Black entrepreneurs face unique challenges. As the chief community builder at Cerulean Consulting Group, she helps businesses, nonprofits and government agencies with digital marketing.
“It’s not about playing the game; it’s about writing new rules. It’s not necessary to shrink any longer,” said Martin. “I always tell folks if someone doesn’t want to work with you, maybe you were not meant to work together. It is required for companies to get on board and practice what they preach — to have a diverse board, a diverse staff, and to welcome diverse contractors. Black folks, white folks, and everyone should be standing up for diversity.”
Loewen hopes people who come out to the workshop series leave feeling empowered.
“Some attendees may have an idea regarding a potential business in their head, and they might want guidance on how to bring that vision to life,” said Loewen. “Others may have been in business for years but are looking to pivot and grow. No matter what stage you are at in your business journey, we have something for you here.”
The workshop schedule can be found below:
Don’t Fear the Spreadsheet: Financial Statements and Your Small Business
• 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 12
Registration is required through the library’s website, indypl.org.
This workshop will explore the different types of financial statements, how to understand them, how to develop them for your business plan, and how to use them to manage your business and make numbers-informed decisions.
Presenter: Mehnaz Qureshi, Indy Tax Service
Intellectual Property Legal Clinic
• 4-6:30 p.m. Sept. 12
The legal clinic is being offered in partnership with the Indy Bar Association. Patrons can meet one-on-one with an attorney for approximately 15 minutes to ask their intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights) questions. Consultations will be available in person on a first-come, first-served basis. Participating attorneys include members of the Indy Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section.
The Legal Aspects of Starting a Small Business
• 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 20
Registration is required through the library’s website.
In this workshop you will be introduced to some of the essential legal aspects of starting a small business, such as how to choose a legal structure for your business.
Presenter: Alexandra Blackwell, Jeselskis Brinkerhoff and Joseph, LLC
Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
• 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 26
Registration is required through the library’s website.
Having an online presence is now critically important for any business. This workshop will help you to evaluate and select social media platforms for your business and use these platforms in both practical applications and long-term relationship building with your customers.
Presenter: Ashley Martin, Cerulean Consulting Group
The library has a wealth of free resources for business owners. Visit indypl.org/services/business for more information.
Keshia McEntire is a public relations specialist at Indianapolis Public Library.
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