Tag Archives: business

How Business Information Points can help you get the job you want

Westminster Libraries Business Information PointsWestminster Libraries have four Business Information Points (BIPs) which are aimed at helping people start up their own business by providing access to a wide variety of online resources, books and magazines. However, have you ever thought about how these resources could help you not only start up a business but also find and gain the job you really want?

In Westminster Reference Library we have witnessed just some of the ways in which it can be done. To start with, library users are afforded that extra bit of time they need on the library’s BIP computers to find and apply for jobs as well as do their business research, administration and planning. And the online resources – both the In House Specials and the 24/7 resources – have come in handy as well. Indeed, just a few days ago someone used Marketline to help prepare a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis on a company with whom he had an upcoming interview.

Careers 2017COBRA the Complete Business Reference Advisor (log in with your library card number) shows people how to start up and run a successful business. However, it is also helpful in showing which qualifications you may need, organisations you could contact and what to do in order to start out on your own or find a job in a particular area. Similar to this is the yearly careers directory, a book which explains in brief which qualifications you will need to begin and progress in certain careers as well as what each job entails, how much you will be paid and what the future prospects are.

Market research databases such as IBISWorld, Marketline and Mintel can all help you to research the best sector to aim for. This is important as it might take time to prepare for a career through gaining the necessary experience and qualifications.

You can use Experian and Marketline to find out which companies you can approach and look at to find the job and experience you wish to gain. Experian can also help you learn about key names and connections, this can also be done with Who’s Who UK (log straight in with your library card) which is searchable by keyword as well as just name.

Use these databases to learn about companies and markets, plus the experience and qualifications you will need to help you in any applications you make. When it comes to actually applying for jobs they can help you prepare for those tough interview questions. Most libraries also have books to help you do any tests which you may need to perform during the application process.

How to pass professional level psychometric tests by Sam Al-JajjokaHandling touch job interviews by Julie-Ann AmosThe interview book by James Innes

The BIPs in Westminster are located in Westminster Reference Library, Paddington Library, Church Street Library and Pimlico Library – come and see us, and keep an eye out for BIP events that might be of use in your career planning.

[Owen]

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Tricks of the trade

I love the trade cards we hold at the Archives Centre, I always have done. They are so decorative as well as being packed with information about the business they are advertising, who owned it, what it sold and where it was located.

Trade card of William Woodward, nightman, 1 Marylebone Passage, Wells Street, c1820 (Ashbridge 411 Acc 1909). Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Trade card of William Woodward, nightman, 1 Marylebone Passage, Wells Street, c1820. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Westminster City Archives has over 300 trade cards, mostly dating from the mid-18th century, so the main decorative feature is Rococo shell patterns in keeping with the style of the time. They also frequently include a picture of the workshop or shop and the products they made or sold. Business premises were known by signs, a bit like modern public house signs, before street numbering was introduced in the 1760s.

Trade card of Evan Bynner, family grocery warehouse, 35 Little Newport Street, late 18th century (Box 63 No. 2e). Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Trade card of Evan Bynner, family grocery warehouse, 35 Little Newport Street, late 18th century. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

One of my favourite cards from the collection is that of Evan Bynner, family grocer, whose trade card contains a picture of a Chinese man in a conical hat. Trade cards often contain interesting information about racial stereotypes in the 18th century, as we can also see from the one for Barrett’s old tobacco at the sign of the Two Black Boys against Somerset House.

Trade card for Barrett's old tobacco at the sign of the Two Black Boys against Somerset House, Strand, 18th century (Box 63 No. 33f). Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Trade card for Barrett’s old tobacco at the sign of the Two Black Boys against Somerset House, Strand, 18th century. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

We have a postcard for sale in our bookshop of the trade card of William Woodward of Marylebone (pictured at the top of the page), who removed nightsoil (no prizes for guessing what that was in the era of chamber pots!) and other rubbish, emptied drains and cesspits, and swept chimneys in about 1820.

Trade card of John Perry, maker of jockey and hunting caps, at the sign of the Cap and Habit, Beaufort Buildings, Strand, mid-18th century (Box 63 No. 13b). Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Trade card of John Perry, maker of jockey and hunting caps, at the sign of the Cap and Habit, Beaufort Buildings, Strand, mid-18th century. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Other interesting trades show up in the trade cards of John Perry, maker of jockey and hunting caps, and Richard Siddall, chemist. Perry’s language is as flowery as the border on his card – he “Makes and sells all sorts of Caps, Ladies Habits & Gentlemens Cloaths in ye Neatest manner and at the most reasonable Rates” – and Siddall’s weird and wonderful picture makes him look more like a medieval alchemist than a purveyor of “Chymical and Calenical Medicines With all Sorts of Druggs”.

Trade card of Richard Siddall, chymist (sic), at the sign of the Golden Head, Panton Street, 18th century (Box 63 No. 29f). Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Trade card of Richard Siddall, chymist (sic), at the sign of the Golden Head, Panton Street, 18th century. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

The most famous trade card collection in the country is the Ambrose Heal Collection. Ambrose Heal was a member of the Heal’s furniture shop family on Tottenham Court Road, who bequeathed his collection to the British Museum. He also wrote several books on the subject, one of which, called London Tradesmen’s Cards of the XVIII Century: An Account of Their Origin and Use, 1968, containing over 100 illustrations, can be seen in the Archives Centre search room. Why not come along and have a look for yourself?

And if all this has whetted your appetite, have a browse through a fascinating collection of trade cards via the John Johnson Collection of ephemera, held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. You can view the collection online – just log in with your library card number!

[Alison]

3D Printing, Break Dancing, Beast Wagon and more

Westminster BiPs logoDid you know that half of young people in the UK aged 16 to 24 want to start their own business? Well, Westminster Councillors certainly do and when they decided to launch Westminster’s first Enterprise Week , to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week 11-22 November 2015, the focus was firmly on young people and access to enterprise.

With this in mind, we hosted an Enterprise Fair at Westminster Reference Library, one of many events held across the council and in BIP libraries for Enterprise Week, showcasing the range of business support and assistance for enterprise and self-employment, creative courses, programmes, apprenticeships, funding and more, offered by organisations from a cross section of industries including fashion, music, dance, food, graphic novels and more.

We were delighted to have with us as stall holders on the day the London College of Beauty TherapyIndustry in the StreetsFashion Retail AcademyNatWest Enterprise,  Westminster Enterprise CentrePortobello Business CentrePaddington Development Trust, Maida Hill PlaceBusiness Launchpad,  Orbital ComicsRain Crew, Young Enterprise and Producer/Presenter N. N. D. who featured sound bites from participants for her programme on The Workplace on ResonanceFM.

Julie Bundy & Simon Aslaaf from Maida Hill Place, at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place

The day’s highlights also featured guest speakers who shared business journeys and industry insights. We heard from Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place , a social enterprise offering tailored support for food industry start-ups, who spoke about food enterprise and the Pop-Up economy, and why food remains their passion – for Julie, it’s the power of food to bring people together under even the most challenging circumstances; for Simon, it was the food industry’s capacity to stay afloat despite the advent of the internet, where, as he reminded us, you still can’t fry an egg!

Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance

We were also delighted to have Westminster’s very own Clint Sinclair, in his guise as managing director of Rain Crew London Dance, a non-­profit company working to bring people together through dance, delivering classes, events, performances and community based projects. From Clint and guests we learned about the world of the break dancers or b-boys, and the dance ‘battles’ or competitions that take them all over the world. With fellow dancer Sharifa Tonkmor, Clint gave a brilliant live breakdance performance and then introduced guest Spin (aka Juan David Gaviria), a successful B-Boy dancer who spoke eloquently about how looking to his future, he successfully combined his dancing with enterprise by training to become a barber.

Beast Wagon, created by Owen Michael JohnsonThis was followed by Chris Thomson, Event manager at Orbital Comics who chaired a fascinating discussion with Owen Michael Johnson, twice British Comic Award-nominated writer & artist and creator of Beast Wagon, a black comedy comic book series set in a zoo, and Jason Atomic, artist and all round cross cultural creative & performer.

All talked about how drawing as youngsters shaped their future careers and the economic & creative challenges of working in the comics/graphic novel industry. The panel discussion was recorded and is scheduled to be featured on Orbital as a podcast early next year.

We had 3D Printer demonstrations taking place throughout the day, engaging and entertaining visitors, who also had fun with the 3D goggles.

The 3D Printer - guest star at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

The 3D Printer – guest star!

We enjoyed the day and especially the opportunity to promote Westminster Libraries Business Information Point services and our special collections in fashion, art & design and performing arts here at Westminster Reference Library. We would like to thank everyone who took part and supported the Enterprise Fair.

[Eveleen]

Famous names in the archives

One of the joys of working at the City of Westminster Archives Centre is coming across famous names in the archives. There are many notable clients among Westminster’s business records.

William Morris’s tobacco order with Fribourg and Treyer, 1894-1896

William Morris’s tobacco order with Fribourg and Treyer, 1894-1896

Years ago I was asked to find the account of William Morris, leading designer of the Arts and Crafts Movement, with Fribourg and Treyer, tobacconists and snuff merchants, of the Haymarket. His account includes several orders for 100 Corona A de Rothschild cigars for £6.0s.6d which he placed until just a few months before his death on 3 October 1896 at the age of 62.  You can still see their lovely bow-fronted shop in the Haymarket today, though it closed as a tobacconist’s in the 1980s and is now a stationer’s.

Photo of Fribourg and Treyer’s shop at 34 Haymarket, 1898. Image property of Westminster City Archives  Photo of Fribourg and Treyer’s shop at 34 Haymarket, 1963. Image property of Westminster City Archives

Imagine our surprise when one of our volunteers found the bill for the Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s funeral on 10 December 1928 in the order books of Tookey and Sons of Marylebone High Street. He had an elm cremation shell for £12.12s. and a motor hearse to take him from the nursing home to a private chapel. The whole bill came to £58.13s.6d including the cremation at Golders Green Crematorium and obituaries placed in The Times, Morning Post and Glasgow Herald.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s funeral bill with Tookey & Sons of Marylebone High Street, 10 Dec 1928

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s funeral bill with Tookey & Sons of Marylebone High Street, 10 Dec 1928

In 2007, with the help of the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, we acquired the archives of Beale and Inman, tailors, of New Bond Street, whose customers included Winston Churchill. As well as the usual sales ledgers and order books, they include a fascinating series of “new name” books, which record the names and addresses of new clients, together with references from other high-class shops noting their ability to pay promptly or otherwise. Little did their clients know that unflattering comments were being recorded against their name, such as this one in 1881:

“Sort of a humbug. Order cancelled. Only wanted to have 1 shirt, after he had given an order, found several faults with pattern etc”.

As well as giving us an insight into the relationship between this business and their clients, these books also show what an extensive information network the shops had built up to learn from the experience of other companies such as Harrods, Marshall and Snelgrove and Whiteley and find out which customers were credit-worthy.

[Alison]

 

Win yourself a Masterclass!

Westminster Libraries Business Information PointsTo celebrate Westminster Enterprise Week 16 -21 November (to coincide with Global Enterprise Week), Westminster Libraries Business Information Points are offering a unique opportunity to 40 young entrepreneurs aged between 17 and 28 years old to attend one of two special Masterclasses (each worth £300) presented by popular Social Media Trainer Amber Raney-Kincade, in addition to being featured in the Westminster Reporter magazine.

This opportunity is open to anyone running a business or self-employed, in any industry from dog walking to doing business online, from craft making to baking cakes. If you or anyone you know are interested, then start pitching yourself and your business now!

All you need to do is tell us:

  • What is your business background?
  • What stage is your business at?
  • What is your inspiration?
  • Do you have a business plan?
  • Do you have a business coach or mentor?
  • How are you funding your business start-up?
  • How do you promote your business?

We look forward very much to hearing from you. Email your replies to: bip@westminster.gov.uk – Closing date 9 Nov 2015

*Please note: winners can attend one Masterclass only. Please indicate which Masterclass you wish to attend (details below).
*By signing up to attend, you agree to be contacted by Westminster BIPs and the Communication Team. Your business journey will be used to promote BIPs services and support.

Amber Raney-Kincade


About the Masterclasses:

Pitch yourself
at Westminster Reference Library, Wednesday 18 November, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Someone asks you, “What is your business?” If you can’t explain it in a concise way, they won’t understand it. If they have money to fund it, you’ve just lost out! This two hour masterclass will explain the details of how to write a solid, informative and interesting pitch for your business. You will learn:

  • what is an elevator pitch
  • how to write an elevator pitch
  • what is the difference between a good and bad pitch
  • how can you adapt your pitch to the audience/listener

Never again will you need to worry when someone asks that question, because you know how to answer it professionally! This masterclass is suitable for those who have a solid business idea and are either ready to promote or just getting started.

Targeting Your Audience & Defining your Marketing Mix
at Church Street Library, Friday 20 November, 10.30am – 12.30pm

You have a business idea, and you think “this will be perfect for everybody”. Think again! By trying to sell your idea to the world, you’ve got alot of work to do. When you look at the potential audience for your business in smaller segments, you can focus your marketing and messaging to them specifically, and get a greater response. In this masterclass, you will learn:

  • what are audience demographics and how they should matter to your business
  • how to define who your potential customer really is, and understand how they act
  • make better decisions on how to reach your real potential customer
  • avoid time consuming and expensive marketing pitfalls

By getting your target right, you will avoid wasting precious time and money on the wrong audience.


We look forward very much to hearing from you. Email your replies to: bip@westminster.gov.uk – Closing date 9 Nov 2015