connecTel: Get to Know Your New GCP Member Benefit

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and connecTel are pleased to announce a partnership that provides GCP members with exclusive access to a complete suite of telecom solutions.

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    connecTel represents more than 150 telecommunications vendors, from major players such as AT&T, Verizon and Spectrum, to smaller, regionally-based providers specializing in hosted/cloud products, SIP, IT support, cabling and more.

    The new partnership between GCP and connecTel opens up a wide range of affordable products and services to help GCP members be smarter about their telecommunications as connecTel becomes an extension of GCP members’ existing IT team. connecTel’s team works together with small-, mid-size and large businesses to source and customize voice, Internet, data and wireless services to deliver solutions at the lowest possible cost.

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    This new partnership will allow companies to leverage their GCP membership to gain access to exclusive benefits.

    “All GCP members will receive a free bill review of all voice, data, & cellular bills as part of our partnership with the GCP,” according to Scott McKinney, President/Shareholder of connecTel.

    connecTel’s robust suite of product offerings and services include:

    • Voice: Core services, such as local dial tone, long distance, international, toll-free and sundry usage plans.
    • Consulting and auditing: Consulting and auditing benefits range from bill auditing, RFP development, and contingency/shared savings pursuit of credits.

    • Hosted and cloud services: On-demand access to a cloud provider’s servers.

    • Mobility management services: A turnkey solution for all things mobile, including administering devices and carrier accounts, help desk support for end users, definition of mobile best practices, security and more.

    • Internet: Services include dial-up, broadband and dedicated wireless connectivity provided over copper, fiber, coaxial cable or wireless transfer medium.

    • Mobile device management: Expert insight on such things as product choice, cost savings, deployment options and security requirements specific to each organization’s unique needs and concerns.

    • Data services: Comprising all WAN types and provided over copper, coaxial cable and wireless transfer medium.

    • Long-term partnership: connecTel’s benefits don’t end with these services, however. connecTel acts as a long-term partner dedicated to troubleshooting, handling service problems and continual cost cutting.

    And another benefit: whether it’s for a two-person, or 20,000-person business, connecTel is a long-term partner focused on trouble shooting, solving service problems and continual cost-cutting.

    “Our goal is to be a trusted telecommunications partner and to become a dedicated extension of your team,” says Jeff Nemcek, President of connecTel Wireless.

    Learn more about how connecTel’s telecom solutions can free your team up to focus on what matters most: your business. Visit connecTel’s site by clicking here.


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    Next up: Content Marketing for Tech Firms
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  • Content Marketing for Tech Firms

    Today, prospects and clients have access to source after source of information to find or research solutions. But how does your company standout in this cacophony? How do you get noticed by prospects and clients alike? And most importantly, how can your company create and share information that takes your prospects from awareness to purchase?

    The world has changed. Sending out foot soldiers to track down customers or cold-calling until one’s fingers bleed no longer generate the new, prospective clients as they used to. 

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    Today, prospects and clients have access to source after source of information to find or research solutions. But how does your company standout in this cacophony? How do you get noticed by prospects and clients alike? And most importantly, how can your company create and share information that takes your prospects from awareness to purchase? 

    Leveraging effective content marketing strategies is the answer, and Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, will tell you how it’s done. 

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    About our speaker 

    Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. Joe is first and foremost a content marketing evangelist, and founded the Content Marketing Institute, as well as the premier international content marketing event Content Marketing World and Chief Content Officer magazine. He is also co-author of the highly praised book Get Content Get Customers(McGraw-Hill), recognized as THE handbook for content marketing, as well as Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand. 

    Joe writes one of the most popular content marketing blogs in the world and is overly passionate about the color orange. Follow Joe on Twitter @juntajoe.

    Listen here.

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    Next up: Content Marketing Resource Guide
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  • Content Marketing Resource Guide

    Four times a year, Mind Your Business publishes a Resource Guide focused on putting you in touch with the experts who will help you improve your business. This month’s Resource Guide is focused on content marketing.

    Four times a year, Mind Your Business publishes a Resource Guide focused on putting you in touch with the experts who will help you improve your business. This month’s Resource Guide is focused on content marketing. Download the Content Marketing Resource Directory as a PDF or an Excel file.

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    Next up: Corporate Theft: Who Holds the Keys to Your Kingdom?
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  • Corporate Theft: Who Holds the Keys to Your Kingdom?

    One thing that I’ve learned throughout my career is how overly trusting people in the workplace can be. I cannot count the number of times I’ve investigated a case where a long-time bookkeeper embezzled millions of dollars from a company, simply because the associate was like an entrusted “member of the family” and given the “keys to the kingdom.”

    One thing that I’ve learned throughout my career is how overly trusting people in the workplace can be. I cannot count the number of times I’ve investigated a case where a long-time bookkeeper embezzled millions of dollars from a company, simply because the associate was like an entrusted “member of the family” and given the “keys to the kingdom.”

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    This issue raises a very important question, “Who has the keys to your kingdom?” The keys represent limited or full access to your financials including account numbers, credit card information and the checkbook. I don’t recommend casting a net of suspicion over your employees or picking through wastebaskets or their files; this only leads to disgruntled personnel and low morale. While trust is necessary, it shouldn’t be mistaken as an effective internal control.

    When opportunity and money come together, even the most upright people can be tempted to cross the line. The person might skim a small amount from you, perhaps to cover a bill when they are feeling desperate. If the theft goes undetected because that person has the “keys," they may skim more the next time, and the time after that―often with intentions of repaying it.  I worked a case where a woman who worked at a manufacturing company embezzled over $1 million dollars from the company over the course of 20 years. She controlled the finances for so long, and nobody noticed her ongoing theft.

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    If you think this will not happen to you, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that 5% of revenues for every single business are lost to fraud, about $3.7 trillion globally. Equally as concerning, more companies are reporting that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recover funds lost to fraud.

    There are a few things you can do to strengthen your internal controls. You should always conduct background checks, implement segregation of duties and make consecutive day vacations mandatory. And no one person should have all of the keys to your kingdom – implementing checks and balances could save your business.

    In sum, you have to build trust within your business, but you also have to implement proper oversight and strong internal controls. 

    If you want to know how to prevent fraud and protect your business, attend my workshop, “Cyber Crime and Internal Theft” at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, October 24 at the Small Business Convention at Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. 


    About Bill


    Bill Kowalski is a principal and director of operations for Rehmann Corporate Investigative Services, an accounting and financial services firm in Troy, Michigan. The firm aims to help business owners protect their money with preventive services such as pre-employment background investigations, due diligence investigations for mergers or loan applications and IT security testing. Before founding his own business, Bill worked with the FBI as a special agent and as assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit office with oversight responsibility for counter-terrorism operations throughout Michigan. He also worked at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. 


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    Next up: COSE and Encentiv Energy Partner to Deliver Energy Efficiency Incentive
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  • COSE and Encentiv Energy Partner to Deliver Energy Efficiency Incentive

    The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)located in Northeast Ohio has partnered with Encentiv Energy to deliver a new energy efficiency incentive program for Ohio’s small business community.  Through COSE, Ohio businesses can qualify for regional incentives that can help reduce the overall cost of an energy efficiency project.  These incentives are available by aggregating multiple projects and leveraging the energy efficiency forward capacity market through the regional grid operator, PJM. This incentive program is a good project funding source that is often overlooked.  

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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    CONTACT:

    Mr. Lee E. Levitt, SVP Sales & Marketing

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    Encentiv Energy

    Toll Free: 1-855-896-0568

    LLevitt@EncentivEnergy.com

    http://www.encentivenergy.com

    Encentivizer™ Delivering New Energy Efficiency Opportunities For

    COSE Northeast Ohio’s Small Business Community

    Pittsburgh, PA, December 1, 2015  - 

    The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)located in Northeast Ohio has partnered with Encentiv Energy to deliver a new energy efficiency incentive program for Ohio’s small business community.  Through COSE, Ohio businesses can qualify for regional incentives that can help reduce the overall cost of an energy efficiency project.  These incentives are available by aggregating multiple projects and leveraging the energy efficiency forward capacity market through the regional grid operator, PJM. This incentive program is a good project funding source that is often overlooked.  COSE is the only administrator in Northeast Ohio to use the Encentivizer™ platform to aggregate eligible energy efficiency projects into this program.

    “The PJM Energy Efficiency Capacity Program is a great source of funds for any size project,” said Steve Moritz, President & CEO of Encentiv Energy.  “Through COSE, customers in Ohio can access these funds for both completed as well as new projects.  Eligible projects could earn up to four years of payments, providing significant value to COSE’s members.”

    Senior Director of Energy Services, Nicole Stika stated “Since January 2015 when FirstEnergy suspended their local electric utility rebate program in Northern Ohio, COSE has been searching for a solution that rewards the business community when they complete energy efficiency projects like lighting upgrades, new construction, HVAC, and more.  Encentiv Energy’s Encentivizer™ platform allows COSE to estimate and offer program participation access to the business community with real incentive dollar returns.”  There are no out of pocket costs to participate in the incentive program through COSE.

    ABOUT COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises) & Encentiv Energy

    For over 40 years, COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises) has protected and advocated for the small businesses in Northeast Ohio. As the region’s small business expert organization, COSE offers its members networking and educational events, advocacy on legislative and regulatory issues and cost-effective group purchasing programs. The programs and services COSE offers are designed to grow Northeast Ohio’s small business community successfully.

    Encentiv Energy has built one of the industry’s leading national Incentive Management Platforms, Encentivizer™ to address the complex world of local electric utility rebates, incentives, and funding solutions for energy efficiency projects.  Our technology is changing the way manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, utilities, and end-users maximize their participation with the local utility rebate program AND regional incentive programs while offering a solution that leverages multiple funding opportunities to maximize energy savings. 

    For more information, contact COSE at 866-553-5427 or Encentiv Energy at 855-896-0568.

    - END -

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    Next up: COSE and IMT Launch Multi-State Energy Efficiency Initiative for Chambers and Small Businesses
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  • COSE and IMT Launch Multi-State Energy Efficiency Initiative for Chambers and Small Businesses

    As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Integration program’s initiative to scale-up replicable, energy-efficient solutions for small and medium office buildings, apartments, stores, restaurants, and businesses, the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) are leading a three-year energy efficiency initiative together  with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

    As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Integration program’s initiative to scale-up replicable, energy-efficient solutions for small and medium office buildings, apartments, stores, restaurants, and businesses, the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) are leading a three-year energy efficiency initiative together  with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.

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    The initiative aims to reach more than 400 small businesses that own or rent property using a chamber-led, business-to-business model successfully piloted in Cleveland, Ohio, by COSE and IMT’s Cleveland Energy Aligned Leasing Program. The program engaged over 60 local building owners and small business tenants representing more than 7 million square feet of space to help them pursue efficiency through landlord-tenant collaboration.  

    It’s important that small business landlords and tenants are brought together around efficiency, as the small- and medium-sized buildings that many of them occupy make up 90 percent of the United States commercial building inventory and account for more than 40 percent of the energy used in the commercial sector. Therefore, the potential impact of reaching a fraction of this sector is significant. COSE and IMT will work with their chamber partners in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina, and Traverse City, Michigan, to unlock this potential to target small business landlords and tenants occupying small- and medium-sized buildings in order to drive the uptake of energy efficiency through energy assessments, implementation of energy conservation measures, and green leasing practices.

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    “Traditionally, energy efficiency is left ‘invisible’ to small businesses and they just view it as any other operating expense—so they lose sight of the many benefits that it could deliver to their bottom line. Our role is to help landlords and tenants better understand how to treat energy efficiency as a resource, which can be cost effective and beneficial,” said Nicole Stika, Vice President, Energy Services at the Greater Cleveland Partnership/Council of Smaller Enterprises.

    “The goal is to help them explore what’s under the hood, increase their awareness of the need and the opportunity and be their trusted energy manager when that staff person often doesn’t exist in a small business. We are motivating cash flow positive investment and accelerating the adoption of energy efficiency through smart building solutions.”

    With innovative chambers of commerce such as Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Traverse City providing strong conduits to small businesses, they have a unique ability to arm both owners and tenants with the knowledge to save money and cut utility expenses with smart energy efficiency strategies for their spaces. COSE and IMT will offer their expertise to small business chamber members through energy efficiency education, technical assistance and financial resources to tap into their savings potential.

    “Small businesses are usually not part of traditional trade associations that promote energy efficiency, and reaching these businesses requires finding a trusted resource that they do participate in, such as chambers of commerce and pairing educational resources and turnkey services that are a win-win for a business’s bottom line and the environment,” said Alexandra Harry, Senior Program Associate at IMT. “IMT and COSE’s deep expertise in collaborative and sustainable solutions such as green leasing, energy management, audits, and more will open the door to savings in a sector that has traditionally been difficult to reach.”

    Over the course of the project, IMT, COSE, and its partner chambers will aim to solidify an energy efficiency model that is applicable to any chamber to implement and maintain. The project will work in Greater Cleveland in addition to Greater Traverse City, Michigan, Greater Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and other markets nationwide. IMT and COSE will collaborate with each local chamber to identify energy leaders from the real estate community, convene workshops with real estate stakeholders, engage local contractors, and connect multiple energy service options to the local community. The project will have national impact as the organizations aim to identify 5-10 additional chambers for project participation in years two and beyond. 

     “The small/medium commercial sector and homebuilding industry are critical to the American economy, but under-resourced when it comes to energy efficiency,” said Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency in a statement. “These efficiency solutions will allow us to build better, healthier homes and significantly improve our nation’s existing building stock, cutting energy bills for American consumers and businesses.”

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