Month in Review: June 2019

From how to improve where your business appears in Google search results, to whether or not your emails are missing their mark, June was a hot month on the blog.


It’s finally summer in Cleveland and we’re heating things up on Mind Your Business. Check out some of our favorite articles from June.

Making Relationships Work

Before you enter into a new business relationship, it's imperative you really know your new partner. Here is the basic information you need to know, and the proof you need to see, in order to ensure your partnerships work for you.

Online Marketing: Lessons From a Google Leader

From recipes that call for apples to a place to go ziplining, you can find it all on Google. But, how easy is it to find your business? Follow these tips to help improve where you appear in search results.

Do Your Emails Suck?

Yeah, we said it—your emails just might suck. If you’re sending long attachments, using all caps, sounding too formal, or committing any of these 15 worst email practices, you’re probably missing the mark with your emails.

Will Changes to Canadian Trademark Laws Impact Your Business?

If you conduct business or are a trademark owner in Canada, it's imperative that you are familiar with changes on the horizon for Canadian trademark laws, specifically with registration and fees.

What was your favorite Mind Your Business article from June? Let us know on Twitter!


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  • Next up: Month in Review: August 2019

    Month in Review: August 2019

    From the benefits of working with contractors to the benefits of employee wellness programs, MYB explored a variety of topics that will benefit your small business.


    We were hard at work on the blog last month. Check out some of our favorite Mind Your Business articles from August.

    Hiring Contract Remote Workers Can Benefit a Small Business if Done Right 
     
    Not having the responsibility to pay for heath care and saving on office space are just two of the reasons many businesses are using contract remote workers. Read these other benefits to hiring contractors and how you can have a successful experience for all parties

    The Benefits and Costs of an Employee Wellness Program


    From reduced health care costs to increased employee morale, there are many benefits of a workplace wellness program. Discover the details behind employee wellness programs: the costs associated, the benefits and examples of the limitless possibilities for these programs.

    Sales Q & A: Goal vs. Objective
     
    All small business owners are sales people in disguise. In this new Mind Your Business series, we are providing expert answers to some of your most pressing sales questions. Take a look at what differentiates a sales goal from a sales objective, and let us know what questions we can answer for you.

    RELATED: 3 Things to Know About Success in Sales

    Shutting Down Workplace Gossip
     
    Workplace gossip may seem harmless, but it can negatively impact employee productivity and morale. Before watercooler buzz becomes damaging to your business, learn how to address it in a positive and assertive manner.

    Could Your Professional Relationships Ruin Your Small Business Status?

     
    Receiving a small business status can be valuable when it comes to federal contracts and other benefits. But, this status may be jeopardized if your business “affiliates” with another business or even a person, and that affiliation results in revenue and employees that exceed the small business size limits the government has set. Learn more about protecting your small business status

    What was your favorite Mind Your Business article from August? Let us know on Twitter!

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  • Next up: Be Heard: National Regulatory Fairness Hearing

    Be Heard: National Regulatory Fairness Hearing

    The Small Business Administration’s National Ombudsman Office is a resource for entrepreneurs, trade associations, nonprofits and small government entities who are facing unfair enforcement actions, excessive penalties, fines and other regulatory issues with federal agencies. The Regulatory Fairness Board is strictly non-partisan and it aims to:

    -Resolve regulatory disputes with federal agencies
    -Reduce unfair penalties and fines
    -Seek remedies when regulations are inconsistently applied

    The Regulatory Fairness Board is seeking your input via an upcoming public hearing where small businesses can amplify their concerns.  Organizations or small business owners wishing to be allotted time to testify must submit written testimony in advance to ombudsman@sba.gov no later than Monday, August 5, 2019.

    A Greater Cleveland Partnership volunteer leader, Keith Ashmus, serves as a representative on the Regulatory Fairness Board for Region V, which covers Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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  • Next up: Ohio’s Congressional Reps Introduce GLRI Act of 2019

    Ohio’s Congressional Reps Introduce GLRI Act of 2019

    Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Senator Rob Portman introduced identical bills in both chambers of Congress in late July to address the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2019, which would reauthorize and increase federal funding to protect the lakes, includes nearly 40 bipartisan sponsors from the Great Lakes region.

    The bill extends funding for the GLRI through 2026 and increases funds to $375 million in 2022. The bill also raises funding by $25 million every year until 2026, when it reaches $475 million.

    GCP has led advocacy work of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) since 2018—advocating for renewed GLRI funding to protect the lakes, which serve as a major economic force. You can learn more about the work of the GLMCC here.

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  • Next up: Online Marketing: Lessons from a Google Leader

    Online Marketing: Lessons from a Google Leader

    We all know Google is where it’s at when it comes to finding a business to fulfill a need. Make sure your business takes advantage of the many online marketing services—most of them free—that Google has to offer.


    During a breakout session at this year’s BizConCLE, attendees heard some lessons from Google Digital Coach Angelina Darrisaw Cheeks about online marketing from the perspective of a Google leader.

    We live our lives in moments. We come to Google to search for something in the moment we need it, whether it’s a recipe, directions, a 25th anniversary gift or a zillion other things we might want to know.

    With Google, business owners have the opportunity to connect with customers in the moment they need something. If your business doesn’t come up in that search, then it’s harder for potential customers to take action with your business.

    Here are three keys to connecting with customers.

    Key to Connecting No. 1: If you have a brick and mortar shop, reach customers where they are.

    Smart phones know your location and are usually tracking where you are. You need to make sure your business shows up around people who have an intent with your business. These are referred to as “near me” searches—allowing potential consumers to see the locations of businesses that meet their needs. People rarely scroll past page two, so it is crucial your business shows up in the first page of search results.

    Here are some ways Google can help you improve where you appear in search results:

    Verify your business on Google My Business. You’ll receive a free business listing and have access to helpful analytics, among other things.

    Collect reviews from happy customers. Once you verify your business, you will be permitted to respond to reviews posted about your business. Responding to reviews, especially ones that are negative, shows you care and you’re responsive.  

    Hire a Google Trusted Photographer. A professional will take pictures of your business to go along with your verified business description. We are living in a visual world—show people what the experience will look like when they come into your business.

    Take advantage of other Google services. These include the ability to feature special hours, engage with customers through messaging and share unique information about you or your company, thus enabling you to differentiate your business in a crowded online space.

    Key to Connecting No. 2: Be accessible across all streams, platforms and devices.

    People tend to start their journey on one device and finish it somewhere else, so it’s important that you show up for your users across all devices and know how to talk to your audience on all platforms.

    Keep it fresh. Regularly refresh your website content. Doing so will not only show you’re an active business, but it also will improve your presence in Google search results.

    Provide value. Make sure you are providing useful, powerful and engaging content. One way to offer valuable information on your site is by offering tutorials to convey your expertise in your particular industry.

    Email is still king. Platforms change, social media changes—but emails rarely change. Part of your marketing strategy needs to be a robust e-marketing tactics. When you have the opportunity to appear in someone’s inbox, you have the chance for a direct conversation with them. So instead of focusing fully on social media, as many business owners tend to do, build your base using email as a tried and true method of communicating and solidifying loyalty.

    Analyze the results. When assessing how well your approach is working, do not merely focus on vanity metrics such as how many people open your email or follow you on Facebook. The clickthrough rate from your e-newsletter to your website is a better measurement of how successfully your message got through to your readers. Take into consideration these guidelines:

    • Have a clear subject line
    • Thoroughly proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes
    • Provide content that’s useful and engaging
    • Create content that’s shareable
    • Use qualitative data based on what your customers are constantly asking you questions about

    Key to Connecting No. 3: Use other valuable Google tools to grow your business.

    Google provides myriad other tools that can help to better your business.

    Google Search Console. This program is comprised of tools and reports to help you measure your site's search traffic and performance, fix issues and make your site shine in Google search results. It can tell you what queries people are using so you can insert those key words more often throughout your site.

    Testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. Most sites lose half their visitors while they are waiting for the sites to load. This service allows you to test your mobile speed and provides you with an assessment of your site versus those of your competitors. It can give you a sense of your load time on mobile devices and how you can improve that time.

    Google Ads. Specifically, Google Ads Smart Campaign is designed for small business owners. Using this service can help you identify what information is important to turn potential customers into actual customers. Keep in mind that one ad can’t accomplish everything. The benefit of using digital ads is that, while you will be more specific in the reach and engagement will be higher and the cost will be lower.

    Consider the following guidelines when using Google Ads:

    • Don’t put too much information into one ad
    • Tell your audience what you want them to do and what you have to offer in a clear way
    • Don’t just list your business name and its tagline or logo
    • Think of ad copy as a promise you are making to your customer
    • Hyperlink to the exact URL you want to direct people to; this is the first step in delivering on your promise
    • Google Trends. While this program isn’t specific to your website, it can give you a deeper understanding of trending key words to put on your site and to feature in your marketing pieces and other promotional materials. Trends change, especially as the seasons change—you need to maximize on what’s trending and capitalize on what’s in style based on your industry.

    BizConCLE is just one of the many events hosted by COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership each year to help give businesses the education and resources needed to succeed. Click here for a list of upcoming events that can help your company grow, too.

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  • Next up: Register Now for a Morning Conversation with Congressman Dave Joyce

    Register Now for a Morning Conversation with Congressman Dave Joyce

    On Friday, August 16 from 7:45 – 9:00 AM, U.S. Congressman Dave Joyce will join GCP for our Morning Conversation series. Congressman Joyce is a lifelong Ohioan and represents the 14th District of Ohio, which includes Northeast Ohio communities like Twinsburg, Mentor, and Mayfield Heights.

    Congressman Joyce serves on the influential House Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for reviewing federal spending and determining how tax dollars are spent. Since he came to Congress, Congressman Joyce has established himself as a leader in bipartisan efforts to preserve and protect the Great Lakes.

    To learn more or register, click here.

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