When you think of librarians, you might imagine the friendly and hard-working staff who provide readers’ advisory, host programs, and answer reference questions at your local library. These staff members are tasked with the important work of providing for their particular community and they do it well.
Hanna Taylor is another sort of librarian: a Small Business Specialist. This unique position was designed to help educate potential and current small business owners. How do they accomplish this? By being completely mobile and going out into the business community, forming partnerships, educating small business owners, and sharing resources for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
They rarely have an 8 to 5 day, instead working what’s needed, be it a split shift or a 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. When asked which of the 31 branches our staff work out of, the answer for the Small Business Specialists is, “All of them.”
It’s a unique position in the world of libraries, and one that is molded specifically by community need.
Here’s a glimpse of Hanna’s working day:
6 a.m. : Awake and getting ready for Northland Coffee Connect — a weekly networking opportunity to introduce new business owners to potential community partners.
7:30 a.m. : Make it to North Kansas City, meet with a few new Connect attendees, and explain what I do for the Library. I also chat with regular attendees and they schedule one-on-ones to create a sales list using Reference USA.
9:00 a.m. : Networking is over and I head to the Clay County Economic Development Council to have a Small Business Bootcamp meeting with Jim Hampton. We discuss the upcoming bootcamp and confirm our keynote speaker and booth participants. We also brainstorm a list of breakout sessions and make a plan to reach out to them.
11:00 a.m. : I head to Administrative Headquarters to have IT look at my laptop while I meet with Community Programming to discuss our upcoming Business Basics Series. This event is focused on topics such as funding and advertising, and is meant to help new small business owners.
12:00 p.m. : A quick lunch and then I’m off to the Colbern Road Branch to meet with a small business owner that wants to open up a daycare. We chat about our online resources and upcoming programs and schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss what progress she has made.
2:30 p.m. : I have 45 minutes to answer emails and double-check my calendar before I head to the Blue Ridge Branch to help set-up for Nontraditional Advertising for Small Business with Luke Wade, a local social media expert who founded KC Crew and grew this sports league business by leveraging social media.
4:00 p.m. : I ensure the programming room is ready and the projector is working. I prepare any necessary materials or handouts that the class may need.
6:00 p.m. : Luke arrives and I do a technology check. As the class gets underway, I explain what Square One is and how we help the community. Luke teaches attendees about the different ways to market a small business and how to use various social media and how to use different software for email newsletters.
7:30 p.m. : The class wraps up with a Q & A session followed by our community programming surveys. I urge every attendee to fill out a survey because it allows the library understand how to better help the small business community. Some surveys will praise the speaker or the Library, some will suggest new topics for future business education, and some will leave their contact info so we can schedule a one-on-one meeting. At this time, I typically hand out business cards that will lead to even more one-on-one meetings.
8:00 p.m. : Surveys completed and room cleared, I finally get to head home.
So what does tomorrow hold for Hanna? Something completely new and different, but always focused on the small business community.