Tag Archives: Mintel

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.


An ExCel-lent opportunity to show off our wares

Eveleen and I visited The ExCel Business Show last month to promote Westminster Business Information Points (BIPs). This event is organized every year  to create stimulus for budding entrepreneurs and business people.

BIP staff at the ExCel Business Show 2013

After a brisk tour of the many exhibits and saying hello to colleagues from The City Business Library, we set about promoting the BIPs and telling people the business benefits of a Westminster Libraries membership card – chiefly the opportunity to access fantastic online resources, free.

Zsuzsanna and the lizard at the ExCel Business Show 2013While this lovely Bearded Dragon lizard was unable to join, we signed up more than 50 professionals and enthusiasts. They included Blondell, who is keen to set up a business in the motor industry, and Guru, who knows he wants his own business but is not sure which path to pursue.

We were able to advise Blondell that she would be able to research the motor industry market using MINTEL, Keynote and Marketline reports, and Guru that he may find it easier to narrow down his business idea by first reading “20 tips to help you choose a business idea” from COBRA and then exploring the Business Opportunity Profiles which are available for pretty much every start-up you can think of – and many you probably can’t.

At the ExCel Business show 2013Whilst inside, one was overwhelmed by the sheer number of stands – there were more than 150 exhibitors, including business giants like Lloyds TSB Bank, PC World, IKEA etc., as well as small startups run by one or two people. The whole place was buzzing with deals being made, products and services being explained, people being enticed into buying, understanding, selling and networking. It was a frantic adrenaline rush for anyone entering the arena, with very inspiring and motivating lectures and seminars from famous speakers like James Caan.

At the end of day with tired feet and dry throats we came out, leaving behind the exciting world of the Business Show. We met many people at the event who were delighted – and astonished – to discover that there is a free service out there, with no hidden costs for their business research. Most found it hard to believe that thousands of pounds worth of invaluable market reports and more are available to use, free, from Westminster Libraries. We’re proud to host one of the best and most comprehensive ranges of online business databases in the country.


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.


Marvellous Mintel Market Intelligence [e-resource of the week]

About Mintel Market IntelligenceTV and radio pundits regularly preface business items on the retail sector, and in particular our shopping habits, with the statement

“according to market research company Mintel…”.

Now something of a byword for market research, Mintel began trading in London in 1972 and grew from its small UK base, covering just the food and drinks industry, to become the global player it is now, covering the full monty of market sectors from PCs to pets, digital to diet trends, soup to spectator sports and more.

Market research fleshes out the often very dry, complex statistical data on what and how we buy, giving a detailed picture of our current likes and dislikes, with the aim too of predicting future preferences, information further broken down according to certain defined demographic groupings, ie: age, sex, socio-economic background etc., potentially providing you and your business with the information necessary to tailor your product or service to the prevailing markets, all the while keeping a necessary eye on future trends.

A quick look at Mintel’s methodology or its ‘How it’s done’ pages reveals just what makes it special. Its consumer and market profiling is the result of painstaking research including conducting original face to face & online interviews, consumer and industry surveys, detailed analysis of government, consumer and trade association statistics, manufacturer sponsored and company reports and accounts, directories, global news articles and more. From this we get a glimpse of just what makes Mintel reports worth consulting and quoting.

Mintel’s website is colourful and a joy to navigate. As well as topical ‘What’s Hot’ briefings on newsworthy items, i.e ‘Tracking the mood of the nation’, ‘Re-educating female drinkers is the key to reviving sales of red wine’, (I’ll drink to that), each individual report has a menu bar of user-friendly headings covering internal and broader market issues, competitive context, market strength and weakness, size and forecast. Reports also cover companies and products, brand communication and promotion, channels to market and more. You will also find news updates on markets and companies, together with individual company profiles. Information presentation is clear with easy linking to and between relevant sections, making what can seem like effortless navigation and understanding, with the option always to go into more detail.

In fact Mintel is marvellous. If you want to impress with your market research, then you really should put some Mintel into it because if  you haven’t heard of it, you can be sure the people who count in the business world and beyond have.

Mintel reports can be hard to find – fortunately for you and your business they are available at Westminster Reference Library Business Information Point. Visit us to find out more.