Month in Review: September 2019

Our Mind Your Business writers provided a lot of valuable business advice this month. Read on to see what you might have missed from our experts in September.

Our Mind Your Business experts are proud to bring you regular guidance on various aspects of running a business—here’s a roundup of what was explored in September. And, be sure to scroll to the bottom for your chance to learn from and talk with other small business owners in COSE’s peer-to-peer program.

What if Your Business Isn’t the Right Choice?

There may be times when you can’t be as fast or as good or as inexpensive as the prospective client requests. You can't win 'em all, of course. In the September edition in our series answering sales-related questions, we presented five options to consider when your business isn't the most obvious choice for a prospective project.

And, after you finish reading what to do when you are not the best choice, take a look at the follow-up article on next steps to take when you are the best choice.

Why Employee Motivation Matters More in a Small Business

Understanding what employees want and ensuring they are happy and productive goes a long way to retaining them, and is invaluable to your business. Here are some ways you can make your workers good, long-term employees.

Why Should I Care About the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration?

You might have wondered this very thing. It's a good question--and if your small business offers a retirement plan, healthcare or other benefits, read on for the answer

Join COSE's Peer-to-Peer Program

Are you looking for a peer group or “forum” for sharing highs and lows as a small business owner--with the ability to discuss business and personal issues outside of the office? Would you like to bounce your ideas, strategies, and approach off another entrepreneur?

Please consider joining COSE’s Peer-to-Peer pilot program, which will bring COSE members together to form small groups to do just that. Peer-to-Peer groups will be led and facilitated by COSE Board Members Tim Opsitnick, Alex Gertsburg, and Taylor Evans. All content and topics discussed will be created by the group itself. All we ask is that you show up, share, and commit. Discussion will be confidential. 

Interested? Please email Jason Guyer and we’ll reach out with information as we get closer to launch.

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


Share
  • Email
  • 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!

    Share
  • Email
  • 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.

    Share
  • Email
  • 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.

    Share
  • Email
  • Next up: Ohio Secretary of State Addresses Small Business Members

    Ohio Secretary of State Addresses Small Business Members

    Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose kicked off a meeting in which Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) small business members regularly convene to discuss public policy priorities for entrepreneurs.

    As Ohio’s chief elections officer, the Secretary of State oversees the elections process and appoints the members of boards of elections in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.  It may come as a surprise to some, however, that the office also attempts to connect new businesses with the kinds of services they may need to make them successful. 

    The office grants entities authority to do business in Ohio.  In addition, the Business Services Division receives and approves articles of incorporation for Ohio business entities and grants licenses to out-of-state corporations seeking to do business in Ohio.  Limited partnerships and limited liability companies also file with the Secretary of State’s Office.  The Corporations Section of the Business Services Division approves and keeps a registry of business names, names and addresses of statutory agents, incorporators’ names, corporations’ charter numbers, dates of incorporation, and the number of authorized shares per corporation.

    To learn more about how to properly file your business in Ohio or update your business’ records, contact the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division.

    As new businesses funnel through the Secretary of State’s system, an overarching goal is to use it as an opportunity to connect the business community with a menu of services related to topics such as access to capital, mentorships, MBE and WBE certifications, etc.

    Last week’s small business meeting also highlighted a recent tax analysis that was commissioned by GCP and remarks were also heard from Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish related to investing in entrepreneurship and inclusive innovation.

    Want to learn more about some of the specific resources available to your business?  Visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s business central resource page here.


    Share
  • Email
  • 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.

    Share
  • Email