State Budget Bill Passes; Business Income Deduction Largely Preserved

Ohio lawmakers passed the state’s biennial budget Wednesday with bipartisan support. Notably, Ohio’s tax deduction for business income will largely be preserved. The budget deal keeps the first $250,000 of income for limited liability corporations and other business entities tax-free, as well as keeping an existing 3% flat rate on income above that.

Language will be included that make lobbyists and lawyers ineligible for the deduction. This change is supposedly meant to address one of the primary complaints with the tax deduction—that individuals can form businesses without hiring any employees. 

The deal also eliminates taxes for people in Ohio’s lowest two tax brackets, while cutting other tax rates by 4%.

GCP supported:

  • Preserving Ohio’s current small business tax deduction, which is utilized by our members for reinvestment back into their companies, workforces, and communities. 
  • Maintaining the 3% flat tax rate that pass-through businesses pay on earnings over $250,000.

GCP will continue to track ongoing budget developments that impact our members. 

The Governor received the budget bill late last night and is expected to sign it, with possible line-item vetoes, today.


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  • Next up: Substitute HB 166: State Budget Process Continues

    Substitute HB 166: State Budget Process Continues


    A temporary Ohio budget extension was recently approved to keep the government open for business.  Ohioans may expect the Ohio General Assembly to vote on a final state budget bill between now and July 17; the lengthy legislation will then be sent to the Governor for his review and approval. 

    Among the many issues GCP is engaged in, the Senate’s budget bill would require state agencies to review and repeal regulatory restrictions over the course of the next four years, an element of regulatory reform measure Senate Bill 1, legislation which GCP supported.

    In addition, the Senate budget maintains language for an Opportunity Zone tax credit, including allowing the transfer of credits and increasing the share of invested assets in zone property from 90% to 100%. An amendment supported by GCP—to create an Opportunity Zone Study Committee to study best implementation practices from other states and impact investment strategies that support more highly distressed rural and urban communities—was not included in the final bill.

    After the Governor prescribed no significant tax changes earlier this year, the Ohio Senate recommended an 8 percent income tax decrease and the Ohio House approved a 6.6 percent income tax cut.  That aside, GCP has continually requested state leaders consider the following when it comes to predictable tax policy entrepreneurs can plan for:

    • Preserve Ohio’s current small business tax deduction, which is utilized by our members for reinvestment back into their companies, workforces, and communities. 
    • Maintain the 3% flat tax rate that pass-through businesses pay on earnings over $250,000.

    To a view a comparison of budget priorities up until this point between the Governor, Ohio Senate, and Ohio House click here.

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  • Next up: The Importance of GCP’s Political Action Committee

    The Importance of GCP’s Political Action Committee


    GCP members are extensively engaged in and understand the importance of our collective linchpin efforts to boost the economic vitality of the region.  The GCP Political Action Committee (GCP PAC) is an important tool to that end.

    Crucial public policy issues in Ohio today include the state budget process, tax and trade policies, the Great Lakes, infrastructure projects, education reform, a predictable regulatory environment, air service, and others.  And, as the political landscape continually evolves it is more important than ever for our business members to have a seat at the table.

    Learn more about the GCP PAC and how you can make a contribution to our shared cause today.


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  • Next up: White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Visits Cleveland

    White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Visits Cleveland

    Last Friday, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council visited Cleveland and other parts of Ohio to continue its tour of Opportunity Zones. The Small Business Administration was also present to speak with small business owners about how the program can spur investment and drive local hiring.

    The meeting gave Cleveland’s OpportunityCLE coalition the chance to highlight key projects happening in Cleveland Opportunity Zones. OpportunityCLE is a collaborative effort between Cleveland and Cuyahoga County’s robust network of public, private, and philanthropic partners. To learn more about this work, click here.

    Opportunity Zones were established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 with the goal of creating long-term investments in regions of low-income rural and urban communities. The program provides tax incentives for investors to re-invest within Opportunity Zones. Members from the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council were hosted by GCP this past May—and last week’s meeting served as a critical touchpoint to connect small businesses to resources.


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  • Next up: 10 Can't-Miss Ways to Supercharge Your Content Marketing

    10 Can't-Miss Ways to Supercharge Your Content Marketing

    Couldn’t make it to Content Marketing World? We’ve got you covered! Here are our 10 takeaways from this year’s show.

    Before this year, I was a Content Marketing World newbie. So before attending this year’s CM World conference, I had no idea that everything, and I mean everything is orange—right down to the orange-dyed deviled eggs in the morning and the orange push-ups for dessert. I had no idea that actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt had his own production company (or, in full disclosure, even who he was. But in even fuller disclosure, I have three girls under the age of 10 so if he doesn’t star on the Disney Channel, I’m not going to be familiar). And mostly, I had no idea I could spend 20 intense hours with a bunch of strangers, discussing content marketing of all things, and come out wishing there was another 20 to go.

    The takeaways were endless, but I’ll focus on just the following five:

    Tip No. 1: Build an audience first, then sell them something. In his opening remarks, CM World founder Joe Pulizzi gave the best example of this advice: Star Wars. Creator George Lucas famously negotiated for the exclusive rights to Star Wars merchandise, which has made nearly $20 billion. It wouldn’t be so without that enormous audience of faithful followers.

    Tip No. 2: Know who you are. Identify your secret sauce and how you’re going to get that across to your audience. What sets you apart? What’s your tone? How are you going bring your company’s personality to life?

    Tip. No. 3: Sell the means, not the end. Serta doesn’t sell you a mattress, they sell you a better night’s sleep. Disney doesn’t sell me a vacation, they sell me a week full of family memories. Focus on the end result, the desire fulfilled, of buying your product or service.

    Tip No. 4: Tell all the stories. Every company has stories to tell, and a lot of times they are right under our noses. Talk with as many people as possible. Find the stories that are relatable and change the lens through which people view your company. Once you find these stories, tell them in a variety of ways using different technologies.

    Tip No. 5: Identify your Influencers. And then use them. Maybe they’re your faculty if you work for a university, or the doctors of your hospital, people who sit on your advisory boards or, of course, celebrities (including popular bloggers and vloggers)—anyone who has influence over your target market. Tag them on social media, tweet at them, encourage them to share your posts and tag you back. Create a buzz around your products or services through your influencers and continue to court them all along the way.

    Let’s dig deeper

    Those are some of my overarching takeaways from my experience at CMW. Now, let’s dig a little bit deeper.

    Tip No. 6: Don’t rely on vanity metrics on social media. This seems to be the latest marketing lingo, but it rings true. So what if one of your posts got 357 likes? Did it lead to anyone purchasing, signing up, providing contact info, seeking more info, etc? Building a brand is important, no doubt. But actual engagement is really where it’s at.

    Tip No. 7: Create secret boards on Pinterest for company personas. Pin things you think interest or appeal to these personas, or that just remind you of your personas (colors, textures, activities, quotes, foods, etc). Share the boards with your team and revisit them every so often for inspiration.

     

     

    Tip No. 8: Watch it! Six out of 10 millennials prefer watching a video to reading a newsletter. And we’re all seeking the attention of millennials, right? They are the latest group of consumers, so put some serious thought and effort into making a video!

    Tip No. 9: Caption it! Speaking of videos, did you know 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound? Whether it’s that they just don’t care to hear it, or don’t want their coworkers to hear them hearing it, people are foregoing audio. So, make sure your videos are captioned. Not only is it better for SEO and accessibility, but certain words might spark someone’s interest while scrolling through Facebook.

     

    Tip No. 10: Feel it! When writing, start your piece where it gives you goosebumps. Sometimes it’s at “go” and sometimes it’s not. Focus on the kinds of emotions that trigger goosebumps (shock, awe, sympathy and nostalgia) and draw those out in your story.

    As they said in the opening keynote this year, “Marketing is like a race without a finish line.” All marketers want to get there first. But even when you do, you just have to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. So perhaps the best tip is to just get a good night’s sleep. You’re going to need it.

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  • Next up: 13 Tips to Get Your Brand Balling on a Budget

    13 Tips to Get Your Brand Balling on a Budget

    Marketing expert Jeffrey M. Staats offers 13 tips to go from building your brand to igniting your brand while still staying within a small-business budget. And scroll to the bottom of this article to listen to the full webinar.

    If you missed our most recent WebEd Series, Maximize Your Marketing Spend: Spreading Your Brand Without Spreading Your Budget, you’ll want to read on to hear the great tips offered during this discussion geared specifically toward small businesses.

    Jeffrey M. Staats, a marketing expert with 17 years of experience helping companies grow their businesses by using marketing to their advantage, likes to think of his webinar as teaching small business owners “how to be balling on a budget.”  Because, as a small business owner, the real goal is to be the best at providing a solution to a consumer pain point and then spread awareness and consumption of your brand as much, and as cheaply, as possible.

    In order to be balling on a budget, Jeffrey says it’s helpful to first know the following three fun facts:

    Fun Fact No. 1: Video is hot. So hot, in fact, that 64% of consumers say watching a video on social media influenced them to make a purchase.

    Fun Fact No. 2: Consumers are doing their own research. More than seven in 10 (72%) of B2B buyers are researching options before they even talk to vendors.

    Fun Fact No. 3: If a potential buyer leaves your site, you can still get them back. Exactly 70% of people are more likely to convert with you when they are sent a retargeting ad after looking at your website.

    As a seller, brand awareness is the first step on your journey. For a small business with limited budgets, staffing and time, look for digital marketing to be the majority of your marketing. Jeffrey takes us through the stages of building, growing and igniting a brand, identifying 13 tips along the way that can be done digitally and inexpensively.

    Build Your Brand

    The initial goal with your digital marketing strategy is to build your brand. You’re a small business so you’re probably still working on having a voice within your industry. Take the following five steps toward doing just that.

    Build Your Brand Tip No. 1: Corner the market as a thought leader. Identify an expert in your company and get that person out there to start writing content—whether it’s on your website, blog or social media. The focus should be on the customer’s pain point and what your company can do for them as an industry expert.

    Build Your Brand Tip No. 2: Leverage fans for testimonials. Referrals are key to small-business success and should be a regular part of your marketing strategy. Build a referral program, leveraging your fans—your brand ambassadors—on a regular (i.e. quarterly) basis.

    Build Your Brand Tip No. 3: Align key messaging with SEO. You have a great solution for a customer pain point and you want to make sure it translates into your website and what people are searching for. Have an SEO audit done on your site so that you know where you stand. Keywords and key messages should be built into all important areas of your website.

    Build Your Brand Tip No. 4: Own one social media channel. Small businesses want to be everywhere but it’s just not possible to do it all, well. Choose one channel and post three or four times a week, purchase sponsored ads and create lead forms. It’s better to put your budget efforts toward one channel than spread yourself thin.

    Build Your Brand Tip No. 5: Expand your subscriber base and give them options. When someone signs up for your distribution lists, ask them how often they want to hear from you. Find out what type of content they would like to hear about and what they consider to be their pain points. Let them choose the way they want you to interact with them.

    Grow Your Brand

    Once your brand is established, it’s time to grow it further. Jeffrey offers four steps to experiencing this type of growth and knowledge transfer.

    Grow Your Brand Tip No. 6: Be valuable. Reward someone with something tangible for giving you their email address so that they recognize the value you offer up front. Give them a checklist or a template or something that they’ll find useful and entice them to come back for more.

    Grow Your Brand Tip No. 7: Offer webinars and blogs. Plan a consistent webinar series and blog as part of your content strategy. You’re a thought-leader in your field, after all, so you have a lot of insight to offer. Bring in outside experts to contribute, providing more engagement and furthering your reach.

    Grow Your Brand Tip No. 8: Have media on speed dial. Anything you do that’s worthy—whether it’s hire more people or roll out a new product—should be sent to the media. Create a media spreadsheet with local contacts and send an email every time you have something new.

    Grow Your Brand Tip No. 9: Leverage co-branding. Take advantage of opportunities to create a co-branding marketing campaign with associations or other strategic partners. Spend money to be able to access their lists instead of doing it all on your own. Being backed by an association or other partner is more powerful and gives you additional credibility.

    Ignite Your Brand

    Ultimately, you’re looking for high growth for your company. Here are four tips to ignite your brand and take it to the next level.

    Ignite Your Brand Tip No. 10: Get on review sites. 82% of online buyers look at reviews before making a purchase. Get people to talk about you on the major review sites, such as Yelp.

    Ignite Your Brand Tip No. 11: Leverage chat. Offer a chat option on your website so that you can have a conversation with your potential customer and give them quicker answers to their questions than an online form is capable of providing.

    Ignite Your Brand Tip No. 12: Create a calculator. Offer the capability on your site for potential customers to calculate the ROI or do a product comparison.

    Ignite Your Brand Tip No. 13: Start a video series. This is a great way to bring personality to your brand, while offering expert information and cultivating your content.

    Watch below for a full recap of this webinar.



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