Our neighbour’s business

Business InformationLast week I headed out west to ‘Hammersmith & Fulham Means Business‘, described as the ‘biggest business expo in West London’. I was charged with getting the word out about what Westminster Libraries Business Information Points have to offer.  Joint provision of Triborough library services was suddenly writ large!

Westminster Libraries Business Information Points was one of over 50 stands, an interesting mix of small independent companies and support organizations. On this occasion, I was flying solo and while I initially bemoaned the fact that, confined to my table, I could not readily mingle with the crowd, I soon found that plenty of people wanted to chat. So much so that eventually I had to steal not one but two chairs so people could stop and chat and – more importantly – fill out membership forms and join Westminster Libraries in relative comfort.

So, of the 27 people who went home with a new library card, who joined and why?

Pimlico LibraryThere were sisters who wanted to set up a pet accessories company, a young man already running a lingerie company and seeking to further establish his business, a would-be designer & retailer of eco friendly jewellery wanting to get started.
It was heartening too to find people who were already trading now looking to expand, make new contacts or find out how to go about recruiting and employing people.

Paddington LibraryWhat, they asked, could Westminster Libraries Business Information Points do for them?

We provide access to some of the best, if not the best, online business information databases in the UK. License agreements with online providers mean that users must have a Westminster Libraries card to get access – something that the advent of Triborough Libraries has made easier for everyone in the three boroughs.

Church Street LibraryTo use the examples above, the sisters joined to access COBRA as it provides hundreds of business opportunity profiles, including one on pet services. It will tell you how register your company, or how our would-be jewellery entrepreneur can set up as a sole trader, or locate premises, start retailing online or from a shop. The lingerie entrepreneur needed market research to support his expansion – he will find all that he needs an more with Keynote, Mintel and Marketline. The eco jewellery designer wanted to use recycled materials and scrap metals – the KOMPASS Worldwide online products and services directory will help source these materials from the UK and beyond.

Westminster Reference LibraryNetworking was an issue for many sole traders or those already self-employed, Experian company information database will allow users to find new industry contacts and create mailing lists to market niche services.
All the BIP Libraries in Westminster hold events monthly providing excellent networking opportunities. You can also find out about these by liking BIPs on Facebook.

Not only have library members access to a wide range of exclusive business databases, many are available remotely from home or office via the 24/7 Library. So for all the above reasons and more, people took the opportunity to join Westminster Libraries to get access to these online information sources because they knew immediately they were on to a good thing! No argument there.

[Eveleen]

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