Governor DeWine Chief of Staff Meets with GCP Members


Last week, members of the GCP Government Affairs Council met with Laurel Dawson, Chief of Staff for Governor Mike DeWine. The meeting was a chance for leaders in the Northeast Ohio business community to express their policy priorities and talk about the economic vitality of our region. It also served as a valuable touchpoint for businesses and government to connect, discussing a wide range of issues like workforce development, transportation, and innovation.

Laurel has led a highly respected professional career in public administration and management, with over 40 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She served as Cabinet Director to former Ohio Governor George Voinovich and as Chief of Staff to Congressman and later U.S. Senator Mike DeWine. Laurel is a graduate of Miami University and holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development from American University.

  • Email
  • Next up: Governor DeWine Signs Biennial State Operating Budget

    Governor DeWine Signs Biennial State Operating Budget

    Ohio’s process for a biennial spending bill that sets the state FY2020 – 2021 budget has concluded.  The GCP Public Policy Agenda, based on feedback from the NE Ohio business community, focuses on three leading areas to allow for and advance growth and innovation in Northeast Ohio: An Adaptable Government & Public Sector; A Sustainable & Predictable Tax & Regulatory Environment; Talent Development & Retention to Advance Business Growth. Below is a summary of a few of the headline policy issues that are of importance to GCP members – many of which, the GCP advocacy team have been deeply engaged in – and how these issues were addressed in Ohio’s new budget.

    Business Income Deduction (BID) / Taxes

    Since its inception a few years ago, GCP members have maintained that preserving Ohio’s small business tax deduction on the first $250,000 in business income allows entrepreneurs greater ability to plan and invest in their companies and workforce. 

    The future of the BID was in jeopardy as state budget talks progressed, but in the end the deal kept the first $250,000 of income for limited liability corporations and other business entities tax-free and maintained an existing 3% flat rate on income above that.  Language was included that make lawyers and lobbyists ineligible for the BID; this change was supposedly meant to guard against individuals who utilize the BID and form businesses without hiring any employees.

    Over the years and consistently throughout the budget process, GCP members continued to provide examples of the importance of the BID and urged against shifting the tax burden from one group of taxpayers to another.  GCP applauds elected leaders for their support of the business community on this key issue.

    The new budget also mirrored other GCP tax priorities by maintaining today’s sales tax base, the current commercial activity tax (CAT) rate, and upholding today’s CAT exemption level.

    The bill effectively eliminated taxes for people in Ohio’s lowest two tax brackets and cut other tax rates by 4%.

    Lastly, the legislation set a threshold of $100,000 in Ohio sales or 200-plus transactions in Ohio for sales tax collection by online sellers, as proposed by the House, while adopting Senate changes to the conditions under which a "marketplace facilitator" must collect sales taxes.

    Regulatory Reform

    Ohio’s signed budget includes provisions that would require state agencies to review and repeal regulatory restrictions over the course of the next four years. GCP submitted testimony numerous times, on behalf of our members, in support of this effort over the course of the last two years.  Congruent with the GCP Public Policy Agenda, our members believe regulatory restrictions should continually be evaluated and focus on consistency and predictability – especially for small or middle-market businesses that may struggle to comply. 

    Qualified Energy Project Exemption

    The state budget extends, by two years from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2022, the deadline by which the owner or lessee of a qualified renewable energy project may apply for a property tax exemption. And, it clarifies the calculation of payments-in-lieu-of taxes, paid by solar energy projects that receive the exemption.

    Medical Marijuana

    A GCP Board member serves on the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee, continually looking out for the interests of employers. Ohio’s budget requires the Ohio State Highway Patrol to purchase drug testing equipment for the purpose of determining the level of THC in marijuana or hemp.

    Opportunity Zones

    The final bill creates an Opportunity Zone Investment tax credit equal to 10% of an individual’s investment in Ohio Opportunity Zone investment funds, up to $1 million per biennium. GCP supported an amendment—to create an Opportunity Zone Study Committee to study impact investment strategies that support more highly distressed rural and urban communities—that was not included in the final bill.

    School Funding

    Governor DeWine vetoed a minimum per-student funding guarantee for all school districts, which would have set the minimum at the amount of $1,300 per student. The final bill appropriated $275 million in FY2020 and $400 million in FY2021 for wraparound student wellness and success services.

    Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation / Industrial Commission Budgets

    GCP offers a group rated workers’ compensation program that can provide savings on premiums and safety discount programs.  Ultimately, contentious provisions were removed from a state workers’ compensation funding bill that supports administrative costs to help injured workers receive care needed.  The Governor also recently signed into law a non-controversial $109.5 million two-year budget for the Ohio Industrial Commission, which handles appeals for workers’ compensation disputes. 

  • Email
  • Next up: Help Ensure our Community is Counted in 2020 Census

    Help Ensure our Community is Counted in 2020 Census


    Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau undertakes a mammoth task: counting all the people residing in the United States. This count affects the allocation of funding for our community’s public resources (e.g., roads, hospitals, schools), how we plan for the future, and our voice in government.

    Learn more here about the importance of the 2020 Census for you, your business and community.

  • Email
  • Next up: How Being a COSE Member Helped My Business in 2019

    How Being a COSE Member Helped My Business in 2019

    From saving money with our healthcare options, to networking, writing and speaking opportunities, hear how small business owners benefited from their COSE membership in 2019.


    We love to hear how COSE makes an impact on its members and their businesses, and we want to share some of the most recent testimonials with you. Hear from some of our members about how their COSE membership helps their businesses grow and succeed, and be sure to let us know at the end of this article if you have a story of your own to share.

    “As a member since 1998, I always leverage COSE events as opportunities to meet people with new ideas and resources, and I certainly expanded my network of creative people last year. But the biggest benefit to me in 2019 was that I got curious about this MEWA thing that COSE kept advertising, and I was delighted when I flipped my coverage to a new plan and saved nearly $12,000 in annual premiums. Woot!”

    Jim Smith

    The Executive Happiness Coach


    "COSE helped my business in 2019 by providing Pandata with access to resources that allow us to attract top talent. Also, by guest blogging for COSE we have been able to further evangelize how data science and artificial intelligence can be used to provide insights and solve pressing business problems for our local business community."

    Nicole Ponstingle

    Chief Operating Officer, Partner



    “My husband retired recently and joined my business. And so in 2019—after being a member for every reason except the insurance—I took advantage of the COSE health insurance through Medical Mutual.  Even after vetting other vendors, COSE had the best pricing for the best benefits. I am thrilled to have my husband home and us working together and I am thrilled to have good coverage for an affordable rate.”

    Monika Moss-Gransberry

    MKM Management Consulting


    “COSE helped my business this year by providing me with regular positive exposure in the 'Mind Your Business' blog. The articles I wrote showcased my content expertise in workplace communication and sales pitches and helped me stay in front of colleagues and clients. I even won an 'Apex Award' for writing from Lake Communicators for one of those pieces. So, thanks for the help, COSE.” 

    Phil Stella

    Effective Training & Communication


    “Without a doubt, I have met several new, unknown business professionals at various COSE events! This has opened the door this past year for me to have lunch, breakfast or coffee with over 50 new professional contacts. The ongoing referral value is endless.

    I have also landed new requests to provide presentations both locally and nationally. And, along with the pleasure of writing several professional blog posts, I was also given the opportunity to be involved in a COSE Member Podcast, which I thoroughly enjoyed as a new experience!

    If you want to meet me for coffee, breakfast or lunch I am more than willing so call me at 330-730-3524 and let’s make it happen!”

    Tim Dimoff


    SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc


    Do you have a story to share? We’d love to hear it. Please contact Marie Zickefoose with how COSE has impacted your business. Haven’t joined COSE yet? Become a member today. Visit us online for more information.

  • Email
  • Next up: How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You

    How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You

    If you are a small business owner, then sales is a part of your business—for better or for worse. If you are not a natural seller, follow this advice to lead up to and land a sale.

    Your job as a small business owner and as a professional is to figure out what problem exists for a prospective client. Is the problem important enough for them to fix and do they need your help? If the answers to these questions are yes, it’s time to start selling. During a recent COSE WebEd Webinar titled “How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You” Rick McDermott of Sandler Training, identified planning tools that would-be salespeople should keep in mind when meeting with would-be customers.

    One of these effective planning tools is the “KARE Profiling Tool”. Here’s how it works:

    Keep accounts—these are the ones that do all their business with you. You are basically in maintenance with this type of account, and they are also known as your “raving fans.” Use them and their testimonies to help you acquire new accounts and even more raving fans.

    Attain accounts—these are the accounts you don’t currently have, but you’d like to. Make a list of who you want to go after. Who are your ideal accounts? How do I get in front of them?

    Recapture accounts—These are accounts you might have had previously, but for one reason or another you do not currently do business with them. It is important to have a strategy to go back and recapture these accounts, if they are ones you want back.

    Expand accounts – these are clients who already do business with you, but they could be doing more. These are commonly seen as the low-hanging fruit to growing your business.

    Focus on your fans

    Most of your focus should be on customers who are already in love with you. You must believe what you do is fantastic for your clients and have a process to show them that.

    Also, before you begin selling, make sure you understand the anxiety crevasse that exists between you and your clients. You need to be able to overcome potential clients’ fear, anxiety and doubt, and be able to deal with these pressures during sales calls.

    Every salesperson or company should adopt a selling system that works well for them. This is the process by which you develop an opportunity from start to finish. Whether that finish is closing the sale or closing the file, you must have a defined beginning and end.

    For Sandler, the selling system flows as follows:

    • relationship building;
    • bonding and rapport;
    • creation of upfront contracts;
    • finding a way to qualify people before giving them your intellectual property;
    • product or service fulfillment; and
    • a post-sell relationship or follow-up.

    Don’t give away your product for free

    Never give up your product or service before the sale has been made. Once you give your product and service away, it’s over. There may not be any reason for the would-be client to pay your or to continue business with you.

    Once you have pitched your sale, there are four positive results:

    • a “yes” response;
    • a “no” response (this is positive in the fact that you can now move on);
    • a response that indicates you have a clear future together, such as establishing a next meeting date;
    • a referral or introduction to do business with someone else; and
    • lessons learned (ask them what you could have done better and learn from their feedback)


    Don’t get between your prospect and where you want them to go. Don’t get overly anxious to get to the sale just because they appear interested. If you are way more interested in the transaction than the prospect is, that is not a good sign for the future of your relationship with that client.

    Miss this webinar or need a refresher on what was discussed? Check out the full replay below:

  • Email
  • Next up: Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility and More at the Small Business Resource Fair Oct. 16

    Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility and More at the Small Business Resource Fair Oct. 16

    Are you registered for the Small Business Resource Fair on October 16? If you want to get your business noticed in a crowded marketplace, you should be.

    Nachum Langsner—co-founder and CMO of LocalBizGuru, a COSE member—will be presenting a workshop titled Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility. As a small business owner, it’s imperative that you incorporate search engine optimization strategies into your marketing plan in order to standout online.

    The LocalBizGuru presentation will also provide expert advice on:

    • Why online reviews are important and their impact on your business and bottom line;
    • How to leverage your Google My Business profile to your advantage; and
    • What you need to set your digital foundation and beat your competition.

    Join us for a day focused on getting your small business access to the resources, support and opportunities you need to grow. Hosted by the Business Growth Collaborative—a network of 11 entrepreneurial support organizations in Northeast Ohio—the day is structured to allow business owners and their teams gain access to the specific tools that best match their unique needs. 

    Other topics that will be explored include using technology to drive productivity, content marketing strategies, product development and much, much more.

    The resource fair will feature:

    • An exhibit hall comprised of small business support organizations and resource providers, including Business Growth Collaborative Partners and other businesses focused on supporting entrepreneurs;
    • Networking tables where you can meeting entrepreneurial support organizations and discuss business challenges and opportunities;
    • Hands-on workshops focused on the most common small business needs, interests and challenges;
    • A social media lab where business owners can develop their brand image by creating a social media presence onsite at the event on the major social channels of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram;
    • Complimentary professional head-shots; and
    • A video lounge where attendees can film a 15- to 30-second pitch video to promote their business.

    Reserve your spot at the Small Business Resource Fair today!

  • Email