This month, Square One Small Business Services at Mid-Continent Public Library is celebrating its five-year anniversary. Square One has come a long way since its inception. While our core mission of connecting businesses with information has remained the same, our methods have significantly changed. To evolve beyond the traditional business services offered by public libraries, we knew we couldn’t follow the same formulaic recipe. Instead, we examined the specific business ecosystem of Kansas City and tailored our services to fill the gap. [Learn more about the over 200 business resource organizations in Kansas City.]
Kansas City is 78 percent micro-enterprise, and these small, independent businesses have big challenges and small opportunities to compete. Square One is different in that we offer practical advice and services in an environment free from excessive jargon and industry speak. Simply put, we provide impactful services while keeping it straightforward and easy to understand. We also recognize that many entrepreneurs don’t have the time to make it to the Library, so our staff travels throughout the community to meet small business owners wherever they may be.
Although Square One offers services to the full range of small businesses, one of our biggest areas of emphasis has been the food industry. Food connects people in ways that many other businesses do not. After all, everybody eats! Additionally, food businesses act as gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities and connect people culturally. This industry has a wide array of purveyors with varied backgrounds, skillsets, and needs, making them a perfect partner for Square One.
For example, a food truck in its first year has to be equal parts Chef and Bookkeeper. The average person doesn’t have a degree or experience in bookkeeping. The reality of a new business owner’s life is that, often, they are incredibly busy juggling all their new responsibilities; so, making the message simple is critical. Square One is respectful of this and builds learning experiences that truly reflect the learner’s needs.
During the last five years spent advocating for the underdogs in small business, Square One has helped countless individuals start, grow, pivot, and refocus their business efforts. Most importantly, we chose to buck the trends of library business services by offering pragmatic services in plain language, all while meeting entrepreneurs at their level and location.
This exceptional combination of effective simplicity has allowed Square One Small Business Services to grow and serve even more people in the bustling Kansas City business community. With such a tradition of service, one can only expect the next five years to be even better.
-Square One Small Business Services
I am a retired CPA with 45 years experience, having worked in financial services as a CFO and general consulting experience. I have limited experience in food services, but business planning and implementing accounting procedures are similar across industries. If there is a need for my experience, please email me. Thanks.