What Do Small Businesses Need?

I just finished presenting the latest Business Bytes program at mpow, during which something really encouraging happened. Towards the end of my presentation, I asked people if they were finding the presentation helpful (introducing the concept of video marketing and YouTube). They were mostly nodding their heads yes, but when I asked a followup question of how many would come to a hands-on workshop focused on creating videos and putting it on YouTube, almost everyone’s hands went straight up. Later on, after someone asked if we have any Macs and creative software for the public to use, I asked how many would use a digital media lab/suite if the library created one. I think everyone raised their hand and someone even asked, “What would it take for the library to do something like that?”

If this impromptu survey of local business owners is any indication, I think it’s pretty clear that libraries have a great opportunity in front of them to help their local businesses work with digital media. Even if you start with just one digital media station and start providing this kind of service, you’re providing something that many business owners need and, I would say, even hunger for. To many small business owners, interest in something like YouTube is way beyond the point of personal interest or enjoying funny viral videos and really more about survival. Why wouldn’t public libraries want to meet the needs of these local community members?

What do you think your local business owners would benefit from learning? What tools could help them in their quest to make their businesses succeed?

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