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From reference librarian to business advisor

A description of the development of the different services for business in the Business & IP Centre in the British Library

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From reference librarian to business advisor

  1. 1. From Reference Librarian to Business Advisor Neil Infield – Manager Business & IP Centre - @ninfield (twitter)
  2. 2. 2Was the library of last resort
  3. 3. 3 Now open for anyone who wants to do research academic, personal or commercial
  4. 4. Let’s go back to the beginning of the Business & IP Centre
  5. 5. The first thing we did was to ask what our customers wanted from us.
  6. 6. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th thing we did was to implement their requests. Easier said than done!
  7. 7. We started with this. Free access to our collection of hard copy and online business information
  8. 8. These, plus quite a few more…
  9. 9. Added a helpful friendly knowledgeable inquiry service. With business and Intellectual Property specialists on hand.
  10. 10. Plus hands-on training for our range of databases
  11. 11. But that wasn’t enough. We had to train as workshop presenters … Which was quite a scary process
  12. 12. But every day customers came to the enquiry desk and said… “I just want to someone in private about my business idea / invention. Do you do that?” The answer was “No, sorry, we are librarians, not business experts.” …Not good enough
  13. 13. So we had to train as Business Advisors. Even scarier stuff for librarians!
  14. 14. At first we were terrified…
  15. 15. But gradually we became more self-assured And now it’s my favourite part of the job
  16. 16. Business Advice isn’t rocket science •Confidentiality •Rapport •Non-judgmental •Good listeners •Referral knowledge •Never telling – helping decisions
  17. 17. We adopted the ‘Lean’ approach to start-up For our customers and for ourselves
  18. 18. And the Business Model Canvas
  19. 19. The British Library is stuffed full of billions and billions of facts. But…
  20. 20. We needed to get our customers to think why … Why would someone chose their product or service?
  21. 21. Too many had the ‘build it and they will come’ approach to marketing
  22. 22. We recently celebrated our 10th anniversary Here are some of my highlights…
  23. 23. “I came to last night's event, and was inspired by the speakers to start my own business... What should I do?”
  24. 24. The accountant who wanted to start a courier company with his dad The drug-addict tramp who wanted to develop artificial intelligence software The house-wife who wanted to open a primary school
  25. 25. “So what do you think about my invention / business idea?” Decorative bra straps
  26. 26. “So what do you think about my invention / business idea?” A device for spreading out tennis racquet strings
  27. 27. “So what do you think about my invention / business idea?” A portable safe for the beach
  28. 28. Amelia Rope and her amazing Chocolate BIPC Success Stories
  29. 29. Jeff Woolf and his Morpher folding cycle helmet BIPC Success Stories
  30. 30. Tom Blake and his Keep Me Jewellery BIPC Success Stories
  31. 31. Nick Skaliotis and his Kikka Digga BIPC Success Stories
  32. 32. AnnoyingDown to earth InspiringFunny