Business Librarian's Blog
Prince's Trust: Future Entrepreneurs
19th December 2022
This week, Savannah looks at the work that the Prince's Trust does to help the entrepreneurs of the future
In an unassuming building on the banks of the Clyde lies a place unlike any other. The building is new, but the occupants are not. Inside the building is the home of Prince’s Trust in Scotland. Although the Trust has been in operation since 1976, they opened their Scottish branch in 2015. Their aim has been to help young people reach their potential and become thriving members of their communities.
I have always been interested in helping young people reach their potential and being able to see the impact that the Trust has had on the young people that they have helped inspired me to reach out to a local school to run a business workshop with the Higher pupils. The aim of this workshop was to raise awareness of what the BIPC can offer them should they wish to start up their own business, as well as raising awareness of the Mitchell Library as a whole.
In November I had the pleasure of attending the Global Entrepreneur Week event that the Enterprise Team at Prince’s Trust organised. The event consisted of a series of talks and panels involving the Young People that they have helped, followed by networking opportunities and a spot of lunch.
During my afternoon at the Centre, I learned about the impact that the Prince’s Trust has had on Young People and how they help to guide them on their business path. This event has inspired me to set up a workshop dedicated to those who may want to start their own business but keep their full-time jobs.
The workshop will cover the basic of starting a business as well as important things that need to be considered when setting up a side hustle! It will look into how the resources that we have on offer here at BIPC Glasgow, and how to get the most information out of them. Look out for more information in the New Year.
It is my hope that we will continue to work in partnership with the Prince’s Trust and help shape future entrepreneurs in Glasgow. If you are 18 to 30 and would like to find out more about what the Prince’s Trust do, join us at the BIPC on Wednesday 25th January for their next drop-in session. Book here
Savannah McKibbin is Information Officer with the BIPC
Get Ready For Business Growth and Reset. Restart
28th November 2022
This week, Karyn updates us on some of the fantastic practical support available through the BIPC network to help support your business and allow it to grow.
Get Ready for Business Growth - Creative entrepreneurs, it’s time to look at your business in a different light.
@BusinessandIPCentre’s Get Ready for Business Growth is a free, three-month programme funded by Arts Council England, that can help you launch a new product, reach new markets and explore new opportunities.
Every three months, 25 creative businesses from across the UK will receive specialist support and tailored one-to-oneadvice from BIPC’s business experts, to help you become more resilient and adaptable in the face of a changing future. The free programme is run digitally and the one-to-one meetings with the consultants are by video conference.
We select high-growth businesses in the creative sector with a turnover over over £100,000 from across England and Scotland to give specialist support and tailored one-to-one advice. The programme will be digitally run and the one-to-one meetings with the consultants are by video conference. It has nine modules, including:
• Getting the growth mindset
• Good governance & building purpose into your organisation
• Refining your business model & growth strategy
• Product & service innovation
• Maximising your intellectual property (IP)
• Building your brand
• Creating a marketing strategy
• Financial planning for growth
• Business and IP research
Why Get Ready for Business Growth?
Businesses might be looking to become more financially resilient, entrepreneurial or implement a new business model. Through one-to-one sessions and workshops, we'll work with each business to help them fulfil their growth potential. They will also get automatic membership to our Growth Club where they will have the opportunity to network with other high-growth, scale-up business owners and keep in touch with their Relationship Manager. Other benefits of the Growth Club include:
• Quarterly peer-to-peer networking events
• Press and PR opportunities
• Opportunities to speak at our series of Start-up Stars events
• Group mentoring
• Meet the Buyer events
• Complimentary tickets for our series of Inspiring Entrepreneur events
Find out if your business is eligible and how to apply today:
Reset, Restart: Time to Renew?
Our programme of free webinars and support sessions is designed to help small businesses overcome obstacles and thrive in the current climate. Open to all business owners, Reset.Restart offers practical, jargon-free training and advice through a free, tailored programme. Attendees also get to meet and network with other like-minded small business owners at similar stages in their entrepreneur journey.
Reset. Restart began during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of supporting small businesses to adapt and weather the storm. Even though the set of challenges business owners are
facing today have changed, we know that help is just as necessary now as it was then. Now in its second year, we have updated our Reset. Restart programme so that business owners can continue to benefit from trusted advice and support, wherever they are.
How does it work?
Business owners can choose to join one or more of our series of webinars for practical, jargon-free training and advice from marketing to sales, tech to funding. We’re running the webinars monthly, they are free and scheduled for convenient times so that attendees can fit them easily into their busy lives. The topics are listed below:
• New marketing ideas that work
• Running a successful high street business
• Renew your business purpose
• Tech 101: build a website or app for your business
• Streamline your business with digital tech
• The steps to sell with confidence
• How to raise the money you need, now
• Making your social media marketing pay
• Business Model Canvas coaching
• How to attract investment in challenging times
What are the requirements?
Reset. Restart is open to all UK business owners and completely free and online.
To find out more, visit https://www.bl.uk/events/reset-restart
Karyn Don is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow
Social Media Business Accounts
14th November 2022
In this blog, Kavan Stafford, Information Officer explains how to run an effective social media account
Social media has become a fact of our daily lives. Across the world, there are currently estimated to be 4.59 billion social media users  (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) with the average user spending more than two hours a day  on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Instagram, and many more.
Businesses have followed potential customers and flocked to social media. A whopping 96%  of small business owners use one or more social media sites as a marketing tool meaning that, if you run a business, you are almost certainly a user. And the fact that over 70%  of customers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions means that, if you’re not already, you should be! The question is this: how can you use your time on social media as effectively as possible to market your business?
I have been running the BIPC Glasgow Twitter for almost three years now, meaning I was running it all the way through COVID, BIPC Glasgow’s reopening and more. And, while I’m no expert, I like to think I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way! Below are three of the most important lessons I have learned:
Timing is everything when it comes to social media posts. With the ubiquity of smart phones, potential customers are no longer tied to their desktop computers for the use of social media. In fact, 55.7%  of social media use is through mobile phones meaning that businesses using social media can catch people when they’re out and about. I find that the posts which get the best engagement on our feed come out at the parts of the day when people have the fewest options of what to do. I aim to have posts out at either end of the day during rush hour, when customers may be scrolling through their phones on trains and buses, or at around lunch time when customers are taking a break.
Remember, you don’t need to give up your own hard-earned lunch to post! You can schedule posts in advance to make your life easier.
- How Often?
Just as important as the timing of posts is how often you make them. There is a fine line to walk with posts on your business social media accounts. Too few posts and people may think your business is inactive. Too many and they may feel that it is akin to spam and may unfollow. So how many times a day should you post?
According to Sprout Social, a social media management tool, around 75% of consumers think that 1-2 posts a day is about right for a business  and this is a rule of thumb I have found to be accurate over the years. It can be hard to keep that level of posting up, however, especially when you are trying to make a success of a new business and so I would suggest trying for once a day initially and then reviewing as you go on. The important thing is that your social media account has some activity every day so, even if you don’t manage to post, at least try to “like” or “retweet” things relevant to your business daily. This can be a great way to get new followers!
- Am I doing the right thing?
A final important lesson I’ve learned running the BIPC Glasgow Twitter account is to check analytics regularly to make sure things are going okay. You can do this on Twitter by going to your Twitter Analytics, but similar tools exist on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites.
The data collected by these sites about your recent posts can be invaluable in determining how you go about using social media for your business. You can see what types of posts got the most engagement and at what times, how many people clicked on your links, and how many new followers you get every day. You can then use this information to let you know when to try something new and, perhaps even more importantly, when to keep doing what you’re doing!
How can BIPC Glasgow help?
If that all seems like a lot, don’t worry! Nobody is born knowing how to run a social media account. That’s why, in addition to the tips above, BIPC Glasgow have tools to help you make the most of social media for your business.
As part of our recent Power Up project, we developed a series of resource is to help you integrate social media into your business. This includes a directory of free social media training tools, as well as Digital Skills Guides to topics such as “Selling Online” and “Maintaining a Web Presence”, all created and maintained by us at the BIPC.
Our external online resources can also offer help with COBRA guides to subjects like “Social Media Marketing” and “An Overview of Social Media for Business”, and Mintel reports on “Social Media: Engaging With Brands”, “Social Media: Sharing and Socialising”, “Social Media in the UK” and more all available for free in the Mitchell Library.
Finally, our partners at Business Gateway offer a fantastic range of free workshops, both in person and online, that can help you get going on social media. Upcoming events include “Tik-Tok and Instagram Reels for Business”, “Planning and Scheduling your Online Content”, “Facebook for Business”, and many more. All the events are free and you can find them here.
So, with all this help available from your BIPC, there’s no excuse left! Let’s get Tweeting, Tik-Toking and Facebooking, and lets get your business social media savvy! And don’t forget to follow the BIPC Glasgow team on Twitter @BIPCGlasgow too!
Kavan Stafford is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow
Something for Nothing?
30st October 2022
In this blog, Alistair McCafferty-Bain , Information Officer looks at the world of unregistered IP and what it means for your business if you do not register your Intellectual Property
Getting something for free is one of the best things ever. Well, in my opinion anyway, and I haven’t met many people who don’t agree with me. What if I told you that you got a whole bundle of rights for free that can potentially grow in value. Even better! I’m talking about a group of Intellectual Property Rights (or IPR for short) that protect the creative works associated with your business. There is a lot of potential value in registering these rights officially, but I thought it would be useful to have a look at what automatic rights you have if you identify these later in your business journey, or even after you start trading. Let’s take a look at a couple of these rights.
Unregistered trade marks
I'm sure you all know about trade marks. They’re hard to escape in everyday life, they’re everywhere you go. A trade mark is a sign which is capable of being represented graphically, registered for specific goods or services within subjects known as classes. As an asset a trade mark can be extremely valuable, and that value is often largely dependent on building and protecting your reputation.
So, what happens when you choose not to register a trade mark? Well, you can rely on UK common law to offer some protection. There are a few differences in the protection offered though, which I’ve listed in a handy chart below.
Another right to think about is registered designs. A registered design protects the overall visual appearance of a product including its shape, decoration and its configuration. Like other forms of IP, registered designs must be new and unique and they can cover 2D designs or the 3D shape of products. You’ll want to consider registering a design when there’s potentially some value in the appearance of it, and it stops your competitors copying your designs.
So let’s ask that question again, what happens when you choose not to register a design? In this case you can rely on the UK design right which protects unregistered designs. However, it does offer less protection than a registered design, but it’s still worth knowing about the differences.
Registering your IPR
As with all things that are free, it’s sometimes best to sit back and ask yourself the question – is it too good to be true? While it’s great that unregistered IPR exist, businesses will often choose to register their IPR such as trade marks and designs for a number of reasons:
· Investor readiness – shows third parties you’re serious about protecting your rights
· Collaborate with confidence – with the use of best practice
· Identity commercial opportunities – such as franchising and licencing
· Protect – your assets from competitors
· Take action – if infringement arises it’s easier to prove ownership
Whatever you choose to do, by researching your options you’re putting yourself in good stead. You’ll find a whole host of fantastic information about IP on the IPO website. Ultimately it is up to you to decide whether you want to register your IP, but If you need help with working out what’s best for you then why not get in touch with the BIPC Glasgow team for a one-to-one appointment or use our IP Clinic service where you can speak with an IP Attorney for a free 30 min meeting. If you like the sound of any of these then get in touch with us at email@example.com to find out more.
Alistair McCafferty-Bain is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow
This week, Savannah McKibbin, Information Officer with the BIPC tells us about our plans to take the business offer out to the communities.
Community Libraries and the Mitchell
17th October 2022
When people think of the Mitchell Library, they often think of the giant green dome that can be viewed from the M8 or of the majestic great hall hosting weddings and celebrations. They might reflect on the fact that the Mitchell is the centre of Glasgow’s library network that links up the 32 Community libraries spread across the city. They might not immediately think about the Business and Intellectual Property Centre which is situated on Level 1 of the building. Within this space is free access to excellent online resources as well as physical resources that any Glaswegian can access with a simple library card. However, the grandness and location of the building can sometimes be a barrier to participation.
My background in libraries stems from the community branches where I spent 4 years working in different areas of the city. During my time as a Library Assistant, I had very little knowledge of what was available in the Mitchell Library and always felt like it was an otherworldly place, where only students and professionals went. It wasn’t until I was doing my postgraduate degree that I became aware of what services were available in the building and how I could access them. With this in mind, we have set out to increase awareness of what we offer at BIPC Glasgow, and to look at ways in which we can take the offer out into the community. In the New Year we hope to have a more visible presence in some of our community libraries. In the meantime, all of our resources, webinars, workshops and events are available for everyone in the city who is thinking about starting up a business, or taking the next steps to expand so keep an eye on our events page to keep up-to-date. Look out for our posters in libraries across the city and should you have any questions feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for our newsletter.
Savannah McKibbin is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow
Our Business Librarian Karyn explores the mysteries of Intellectual Property and why it might be more important to your fledgling business than you realise.
The Mysterious World of IP
3rd June 2022
Recently I attended a virtual IP Masterclass, provided by the Intellectual Property Office based in Newport. I’ve learned about the importance of protecting ideas and all the intricacies of Copyright, Patents, Trademarks and Design Protection.
For many people the notion of protecting their IP is not at the forefront of their mind when taking the first steps in building their business. Indeed, in some cases it might not even occur until you find out that someone has ripped off your ideas and there’s very little you can do.
The fascinating story of Monopoly’s beginnings as The Landlord’s Game is a great example of someone’s idea – in this case feminist and social activist Lizzie Magie – becoming a successful product without them being properly credited or rewarded. In Lizzie’s case she was only given a one off fee of $500. To add insult to injury, she had intended the game to show players how unfair the American economic system was at the time of the Great Depression!
You might not have come up with a boardgame, but if you’re starting up your own business, you might assume that protecting your IP is too expensive or too complicated, but that’s where Glasgow BIPC come in. We can help you gain the knowledge and access the support you need to make sure you know how to
• identify your IP
• protect your IP
• avoid infringing on other people’s IP
At the BIPC we have
• Experts in Residence, including an IP Attorney
• eResources where you can find everything from a COBRA overview of IP to Access to Research academic papers
• Workshops, events, webinars and 1:1s clinics
Don’t forget there are books available in your local library too.
We can help guide you to the resources you need which you can then access for yourselves at home. All you need is to be a member of Glasgow Libraries. We also have a business enquiry service which can signpost you to what you need when you need it so don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team by emailing email@example.com It doesn’t matter what stage you are at – we can help.
After my intensive training I have a much better understanding of how the BIPC can help you to navigate the waters of Intellectual Property and I look forward to meeting some of you who might just be starting along that journey very soon.
Karyn Don is Business Librarian at BIPC Glasgow
This week we hear from Information Officer Kavan Stafford on his return to his BIPC role and the Business 1:1s available.
1-1 Offer and Why It’s Good To Be Back
20th May 2022
The first of June 2021 was a sad day for me and (dare I say it) the rest of the BIPC team. After almost two years of working in the department, I returned to my old job as a Glasgow Life Assistant in the Mitchell Library. It was sad to leave but the good news is that it wasn’t for long. In January 2022 I returned to the department along with new staff members Savannah and Karyn and, I have to say, it’s good to be back.
A lot has changed since I left. We have brand new resources, Local Data Online and Mintel, and brand new workshops like Environmental Responsibility For Business Start-Ups as well as a brand new hybrid offer of in person and remote workshops, webinars and one to ones.
Of course, much has remained the same as well. We still offer the same great service to people starting up businesses in the Glasgow area and still seek to give as much free access as we can to resources like FAME and COBRA.
One of the things I have always enjoyed the most about my role as a BIPC Information Officer are 1-1’s. It’s great to meet a new person and to show them all the resources the library has available to help them make the best start they can in their business journey.
What I found out when I returned to my role is that even our 1-1’s have changed since I’ve been away! While we still offer the same great service as before where you can book 1-1’s with our staff by coming into the Mitchell, by emailing or by calling, we now have a new way you can book to speak to us about your business.
Every month we offer three 1-1 Business Information and IP Support sessions so that you can book well in advance for the business support you need. The sessions are absolutely free and you can book them via our Eventbrite page.
It is very good indeed to be back in the BIPC and I hope you all will take the opportunity of the 1-1 sessions to come and speak to me about your businesses so I can tell you how BIPC can help you make your business dreams a reality.
BIPC Glasgow can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by telephone at 0141 287 2904. All of our upcoming events including our 1-1 Business Support Clinics can be booked on our Eventbrite page.
Kavan Stafford is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow
This week we hear from Information Officer Alistair McCafferty-Bain on the important subject of cake, and the advantages of networking, sharing ideas and making connections.
Everything starts with CAKE!
6th May 2022
Imagine a cake day, dedicated to all things sweet and baked. Doesn’t it sound amazing? Well recently I had the chance to go down to London to take part in CAKE day. At this point I should say that in this instance CAKE stands for Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange. Luckily for me I was treated to actual cake on CAKE day so I didn’t leave disappointed. Attending CAKE day is an important part of being a member of the British Library Business & IP Centre network. I really enjoyed meeting everyone who up until this point I’d only met on a small fuzzy screen on my laptop, sharing ideas and information with other centres across the UK to reflect and build upon good practice.
British Library piazza with added cake!
Networking in action
During the visit Foluke Akinlose, founder of Precious, talked about the challenges and opportunities faced by women of colour in business. Her work champions the professional achievements of women of colour through an online magazine, awards, and networking events. She spoke about meeting one person from Santander at an event and helping to create a report which has changed the way they deliver business support programmes. As a result Santander now offers outreach to help build trust with this community, promotes diverse role models in their case studies and mentoring programmes, and trains colleagues to tackle unconscious bias. What struck me was by going out there and meeting one person she’s changed attitudes of a huge international company. That’s some impressive networking!
The Knowledge centre at the British Library – can you spot the cake?
What CAKE day and Foluke showed me was the importance of taking time to make these connections, especially when starting a business. Building relationships with other likeminded people is an important part of every entrepreneur’s personal development. It builds soft skills such as listening, selling your personal brand, and giving help as well as receiving it. It offers an opportunity to meet potential clients, suppliers and business partners which can all help when starting up. Our eResource COBRA has a handy factsheet covering the topic (BIF121 Business Networking) which highlights some benefits:
• Share or learn about new ideas
• Find out what your competitors are up to
• Gather general or specific industry information
• Get help with problems from people with appropriate knowledge and experience
• Keep up to date with new industry developments, regulations and policies
• Form relationships with potential partners
It’s not always easy to put yourself out there, but with all those potential benefits it really is a great skill to develop.
Finding local networks
There are lots of people out there like Foluke who have created networks that you can join to get yourself started. Here are some examples of local business networking organisations:
You’ll also find sector specific networks which trade associations and professional bodies can usually provide details for. There are also a number of free online networks such as LinkedIn.
Your next networking steps
I would recommend taking a look at COBRA for more information on this topic. Remember you can access COBRA for free remotely via our eResources with a Glasgow Library membership so it couldn’t be easier. And one last tip from BIPC Glasgow before you head off in the business networking world – bring cake and you’ll be friends with everyone in no time. Good luck!
Alistair McCafferty-Bain is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow
Welcoming another new member of the Business team, today we hear from Information Officer, Savannah McKibbin, and her favourite resource.
22nd April 2022
Starting a new job is never easy. When it came to deciding to apply for the Information Officer post, I had a passing knowledge of the department but would never have considered myself an expert on the subject. However, I am never one to let that stop me. In preparation for the interview I did as much research I could on the resources and services offered by the department. This gave me a firm base on which to start my new career in the Business department. Through my research I found out about the many Experts in Residence that the BIPC have as well as the volume of information that is available through the various databases.
There are many challenges that one can face as an Information Officer that can seem daunting at first and only through practice and perseverance does it get any easier. I have found relying on the knowledge of my colleagues to be the single biggest help in acclimatising to this new role. I imagine there are many parallels when it comes to starting a business, it can seem overwhelming when you have an idea and you just aren’t sure where to start. It is important to just take it one step at a time.
A good starting point that I find rather helpful is the Complete Business Reference Advisor or COBRA for short. In this resource you will find factsheets galore covering a range of topics from the basics of how to write a business plan to more in-depth topics such as the legal requirements you may have to consider in your field of business. I used this resource on a daily basis when I first started out in my role, and it still continues to be my go to if I am unsure of a particular answer. The beauty of this resource is that you can use it from the comfort of your own home and all you need is your library card! It is arguably the most comprehensive and accessible resource that we offer and can help you at all stages in your Business journey.
I am looking forward to working with the people of Glasgow, and helping them fulfil their dreams of starting their own business!
Savannah McKibbin is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow
To start off our new series of blogs we welcome Karyn Don, our new Business Librarian, who tells us about settling in to her new role.
8th April 2022
After nearly 30 years spent working in school libraries, I recently made the move to public libraries to take up the post of Business Librarian with Glasgow Life, based in the historic Mitchell Library. I have joined the BIPC team at the perfect time as COVID restrictions are phased out and face to face business support is fully re-established, along with the webinars and online workshops which have become the norm over the past couple of years. I’m very lucky to be working with people who are generous with their time and happy to support me get up to speed in the world of Business and IP - and to find my way around the labyrinthic stacks behind the scenes of the Mitchell! Our office is continually buzzing with questions (mostly from me I have to say), ideas and energy.
It feels like we’re living through a hinge in history and it’s exciting to think we can play a part in helping people take that fledgling idea they might’ve had during lockdown and to help make it a reality. Part of my job is to take our business offer out to new audiences and I am looking forward to meeting people who might not know what we can offer them, and to highlight the wide variety of resources and expertise available at the BIPC for free. Librarianship is often perceived as being about curating information, but I’ve always thought of it as being about building relationships and helping people to access and use the information they need, when they need it.
I look forward to becoming an experienced user of all the online resources we have available at the BIPC. So far COBRA has proved to be the most useful for me as it holds just about every piece of information you might need if you are interested in setting up as a Chocolatier, a Private Detective, or would like to establish a B&B for Horses (honest). I must admit to having a soft spot for FAME which can be used to research the market and create marketing lists too – helped by the fact that every time someone mentions it, I am immediately back in the 80s with ‘I’m going to live forever, I’m going to learn how to fly’ echoing in my head.
My favourite part of the job so far has been the variety – truly no two days are the same with so many new opportunities opening up already, only weeks into the job. I have really enjoyed meeting new and established businesses who are making use of the service now, or who have done so in the past. Watching the journey of a business from initial idea to being an established and successful company, confident that they have all the information they need to progress is going to be extremely rewarding and I can’t wait to see it for myself.
Now, where are those legwarmers?
Karyn Don is Business Librarian at BIPC Glasgow