Sno-Isle Libraries offers a number of business classes throughout the year. Above, an attendee at a recent class at Coupeville Library takes notes on a presentation.

Library series aiding small business owners

Small business owners and entrepreneurs can now find even more support through their local library thanks to Sno-Isle’s Strategic Focus initiative.

Though the libraries have offered business support services for decades, the plan is targeted specifically toward assisting those setting forth on enterprising ventures as individuals or as part of small groups.

Of the over 100 free business classes offered throughout Sno-Isle annually, Oak Harbor Library is offering a series of workshops to help current and prospective business people to jump-start their new venture.

Anna Rohrbough, a certified leadership development coach and speaker, presented the first of these four workshops, entitled “Creating a Breakthrough in Your Business,” Oct. 25.

Rohrbough drew from her 15-plus years as a business owner and direct sales leader to speak to attendees about the pillars of leadership, and how to decipher and harness their passions and strengths to pave a pathway to success.

One of the most essential facets of the training, Rohrbough said, is the concept that in order to lead, one has to lead oneself first.

“People don’t understand they are already leaders in their life,” she said, adding that it is part of her objective to help attendees to recognize this and take initiative.

It’s a lesson Rohrbough said she learned at an early age, taking note of her father’s approach to empowering her and her brothers to trust in themselves and discover and utilize their own strengths.

“The biggest obstacle is ourselves,” she said. “A lot of times we try to do more things from the outside: get more programs, more education. But it’s really finding out who we are, listening to our own life.”

There is a reason people feel inclined to step out, to disrupt the status quo, she said, and it is important to take action on this urge in order to decipher the next step.

Mary Campbell, managing librarian at Oak Harbor Library, attended Rohrbough’s workshop and said it was “enlightening.”

Campbell explained that Sno-Isle developed the Strategic Focus plan about three years ago after two years of research and consultations with community members and stakeholders to determine what angle the library should pursue in bolstering its support services.

Small business emerged as a prevalent area of interest. In turn, Kassy Rodeheaver was hired as lead librarian of business services, helping to develop programs like these workshops to better serve the community.

“Businesses can make great use of the library’s market research tools and print and online directories to find out information on their competitors and potential customers,” Rodeheaver wrote in an email. “We help them navigate the big data for small businesses that can give them the competitive edge in the marketplace.”

With about 40,000 people residing in the Oak Harbor area, Cambell said, there is plenty of need for services.

“Then with the college and Navy here, there is always a lot of opportunity,” she said. “We have a sophisticated group of people that knows how to look at not just local needs but needs all over the country and the world.”

The second part of the four-part workshop series took place Tuesday. The third will happen at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, facilitated by Bob Hale from Entrepreneur’s Source, who will discuss how to be your own boss.

Each course features a different speaker and a different topic. Maya Sullivan will present the final workshop, with a focus on discovering one’s passion and determining the right business or industry in which to pursue a fulfilling future.

Doors open at 8:30 with time set for networking and refreshments, provided by Friends of the Oak Harbor Library.

Though registration is encouraged, Campbell said drop-ins are also welcome.

Oak Harbor Library also works in conjunction with the Island County Economic Development Council to offer a monthly business class entitled “How to Start a Business.”

This course introduces attendees to Sno-Isle’s resources and how to develop a plan using Small Business Administration guidelines.

“Libraries have a breadth of information for people,” Rohrbough said.

“If they have any inkling of starting a business or sharpening their skills, any workshop will help them move forward.”

More in Business

Chamber honors business success

Coupeville Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet and board installation… Continue reading

Audiology center celebrates 1 year anniversary

Coupeville’s Hearing Health Services will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday,… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Best Western wins brand award

Best Western Plus in Oak Harbor received the Best Western Hotels &… Continue reading

New nursery in Coupeville blooming with energy

Jackie Bartsch has been getting a lot of lookie-loos in the last… Continue reading

Bringing style, design options to Central Whidbey

Owners of a new interior design store want their shop to be… Continue reading

New county contract brings added WSU programming

As of March 1, Washington State University Extension, Island County serves as… Continue reading

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County gets new director

Jennifer Paddock had dedicated her career to helping children, which made her… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Mayor Bob Severns, Police Chief Kevin Dresker, and deputy fire chief Mike Buxton addressed the audience’s concerns. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Homeless meeting focuses on health, safety issues

Business owners and community members voiced concerns to city officials about trespassing,… Continue reading

Sweet! Tickets are still available for Coupeville’s tastiest event of the year

A handful of tickets remain available for Saturday’s Coupeville Chocolate Walk. For… Continue reading

Whidbey Coffee gets new facility, wholesale manager

One of Whidbey Island’s homegrown businesses is getting a double shot of… Continue reading

Fight off that turkey coma with variety of weekend activities

There are several events happening this weekend, sure to revive even the… Continue reading