"How do I get my ideas for a new brewery in Winter Park past the idea/planning stage?" Barry again asked himself. He had spent the last several years working for other boutique breweries, beginning his career unloading heavy, scented, burlap bags of hops and supplies off the delivery trucks and over time progressing, through hard work, to head brewer. Along the journey of learning and mastering proper brewing techniques, Barry always had concurrent ideas about how, if the business were his, he would do things differently. And frankly, he had reached a point in his professional career where working for others just wasn’t satisfying anymore. He yearned to validate his creative brewing ideas and unique flavors and to monetize his ideas through his own business, but how does one go about starting a new business? Just how and where does one gain access to all the information necessary to start and run a business? Although he had gravitas as an artist when it came to brewing finely crafted beer, a successful business man…. not so much, ok not at all.
To much fanfare and alacrity, the opening of the new Winter Park Public Library had successfully come and gone. The media had done a fantastic job heralding in the beauty and creative uniqueness of the new library facility, designed by renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye, and its vast and accessible resources, research capabilities and technologies. Needing a starting point to research how to plan and incubate a new business, and curious to see for himself what the new library facility looked like in person, he decided to give the library a try.
As Barry walked up the steps of the raised belvedere and towards the new building, he was impressed by the structural arches, vaulted rooflines and sweeping windows. Under his breath he asked himself, “this is a library?” He entered through the east side entrance and approached the librarian at the front desk, explained to her what he was wanting to do and asked where the Small Business Resource Center was.
Once ensconced in the Small Business Resource Center, Barry couldn’t help but notice how much sunlight radiated through the large sweeping windows, filling the surrounding space with sunshine and warmth - a motivating, pleasant space. Nicole, the Small Business Resource Center librarian, noticed Barry looking around and politely asked how she could help him. Not wanting to show his hand entirely, Barry blithely, and in very general terms, explained that in his entrepreneurial journey his business acumen wasn’t as robust as it needed to be. Listening intently and never losing eye contact, Nicole began to ask a series of questions to gauge how best to help.
The Q & A over, Nicole asked Barry to grab his paper and pen and to kindly follow her to a bank of computer screens and keyboards. Passing a series of meeting rooms, Barry noticed in one of the rooms a group of people sitting around a table gesticulating and talking to another group of people on a large, wall-mounted screen. Anticipating his quizzical look Nicole explained the new library meeting rooms included online collaborative screens for live meetings with the technologies to support video conferencing and more.
Based on the answers from Barry, Nicole began to explain the many library resources at his disposal. He could access software such as ReferenceUSA to source information pertaining to small business marketing, business and residential information, data mining within a certain radius and view historical market trends. Another software platform, Business Insights: Essentials, would allow him to research businesses, company and industry profiles, products and brands, financial reports and histories. She explained the library also offered software classes and personal instruction for programs he’ll need to use to build his business, a video production studio with a green screen to make professional looking videos, 3D printing capabilities in the Genius Lab to produce sample products related to his business if he so desired, for a small fee of course.
Nicole also ran through the monthly small business meetings and business-related classes offered through and held at the library, reciprocal partnerships with local businesses and The Winter Park Chamber to plug into existing business networks, and potential talent pools. Through the capabilities of the new library, Barry could learn how to put a business plan together, generate financial projections and statements, research and determine which type of corporate entity best suited his brewery business, where and how to file corporate papers. Nicole also brought up the partnership with SCORE, a non-profit organization that provided one-on-one business counseling.
It was a lot to take in, and Nicole could see Barry was starting to fidget, a slight vacant look passing through his eyes from time to time. He needed time to absorb all the information presented to him. Nicole suggested that he, once done at the library, take a stroll along the many walking paths on the library grounds and in the adjacent Martin Luther King Jr. Park. He did just that in view of all the greenery, ponds and nature that had a calming, centering effect on him.
Leaving the library, Barry looked over his shoulder at the new facility, felt good at moving his business plan forward, excited about what he had been exposed to and learned that day. "What a tremendous resource this place is...I can be an entrepreneur," Barry said aloud to himself as he drove away to begin planning his next trip back to the new Winter Park Public Library.