May 3, 2022
The Library’s Square One Small Business Services team supports local entrepreneurs by connecting them with valuable business resources, offering free educational classes, and providing one-on-one guidance. Several Square One clients recently shared their experiences working with the Library and how it has helped their businesses.
Kansas City entrepreneur Daniel Hipsher is one such client. Hipsher is building a profitable business around his family’s barbecue recipe. He has been around the barbecue industry since he was a child. In the ’90s, he helped his father manage a barbecue restaurant before branching out on his own to launch his own place, Daniel’s Barbecue, in 1996. Within a decade, he had successfully grown the business to include three locations and a catering division.
Hipsher sold the restaurants in 2006 but retained the recipes, copyright, and logos. He manufactures and markets his own barbecue sauce, which is now sold in more than 100 stores. Things have changed since Hipsher’s first foray into entrepreneurship. He described his initial approach to running his small business as old-fashioned. When he was a child, entrepreneurs could set up shop and rely on their wits and customers to spread the word about their business and products. Now, business owners need a more strategic approach.
As a result, Hipsher began looking for programs that aided small businesses like his own, which led him to Square One. Hipsher liked the individualized attention and advice that he received from the program staff. He said that he has worked with Square One to learn how to use social media more effectively to promote his brand and the story behind his business. He has learned different strategies for leveraging various social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as photo formatting skills.
Beyond the technical skills, Hipsher values the honesty of the Square One mentors when communicating their business expertise. “I think the Square One program is superior…. they give you their honest suggestions, ideas, [and] experience for free,” he said.
In his time with Square One, Hipsher’s perspective on businesses has changed. He also has a new mission. He is now using what he learned from running small businesses and working with Square One to help other entrepreneurs.
“I've gotten to the point where I kind of feel like I know what my purpose is,” he said. Working with the library “ignited a passion in me to try to take my experience and help other people.”
This blog was adapted from materials authored by Knology, a social science research and evaluation nonprofit. These materials were produced in partnership with Urban Libraries Council for the Strengthening Libraries as Entrepreneurial Hubs initiative, a project funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Knology was the independent external evaluator for the project and is solely responsible for the content in the original material.
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