What the Cleveland Indians Can Teach Small Businesses About Beating Big Competition

During the 2018 COSE Annual Meeting, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan and play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton explain what small businesses can learn from the team. Read on below for a brief summary or click below to listen to the full audio of the session.

Small business owners have a lot more in common with the Cleveland Indians than they might think.

During a panel discussion featuring Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona and Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan and moderated by play-by-play voice Tom Hamilton, Dolan said the team in many respects is like a small business in how it is a small market team competing with franchises in major media markets such as New York and Los Angeles.

The key, he said, to being successful in a situation such as that comes down to making sure you have the right people on your team.

“The beauty of the game of baseball is the $25-million guy has to get on the field with the $500,000 guy,” he said. “But when you get the right $500,000 guy, you draft well, you develop them well, they turn into guys with names like (Francisco) Lindor and (Jose) Ramirez.”

Francona agreed with Dolan’s assessment, adding that while it might not be fair for smaller market teams to compete against the bigger market teams, he’s not one to accept excuses.

“We may not have the same payroll as the Yankees or Detroit or whatever, but we trust the people we have,” he said.

The COSE Annual Meeting is just one of the many events COSE hosts each year that help small business representatives learn what they need to know to grow their business while also making new connections. Click here to view a list of upcoming events and find one that will give you the tools you need to succeed.
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  • Next up: What's the Hardest Thing About Being an Entrepreneur?

    What's the Hardest Thing About Being an Entrepreneur?

    We met recently with two of the nine finalist small businesses for Season 2 of Cleveland Chain Reaction and asked them what the hardest thing is about being an entrepreneur.

    What began as a field of more than 100 hopeful small businesses hoping to receive a $100,000 investment from the project’s investors has been narrowed to a field of just nine.

    We had an opportunity recently to meet with two of the finalists—Hatfield’s Goode Grub (a food truck and catering business) and Cleveland House Hotels (a provider of vacation and temporary rental homes around Cleveland)—and asked them what the hardest thing is about being an entrepreneur.

    Jessica Hatfield of Hatfield’s Goode Grub pointed to the unique situation she has of being Ken Hatfield’s first employee when the business started and of the two of them being married as well.

    “Working together as a team, it’s really awesome but it has its challenges,” she said.

    Nick Semertsidis of Cleveland House Hotels also pointed to the importance of communication with others on the team when growing a small business.

    “At times we have different ideas on things, but we always work it out in the end,” he said.

    See what else these entrepreneurs had to say in the video below.

    Learn more about Cleveland Chain Reaction and its mission to create jobs, investment and prosperity in Cleveland’s neighborhoods while providing education and information for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to benefit the community by visiting www.clevelandchainreaction.org.

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  • Next up: What to Know About Background Checks

    What to Know About Background Checks

    As part of our ongoing series featuring members, Mind Your Business sat down with Robert Drusendahl, who talks about the technologies that are keys to success for his background screening business.

    Robert (Bob) Drusendahl is president and CEO of Pre-Check, a background screening agency established in 1992. In their 25-plus years, they have gained nearly 500 Cleveland-based clients, but have several national accounts as well. Pre-Check is a 100% veteran-owned business. The Pre-Check team takes great pride in providing quality results with personalized service, with typically a three-day turnaround time. For the past four years, Pre-Check has added a recruiting solution for our customers by finding qualified candidates for their businesses through a process called Smart Hire.

    What technologies are keys to success for your business?

    We have built our own recruiting tool called Pre-Select, an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that supports employers’ hiring process from placing the ad, to the time they are hired and brought on-board. Through leveraging our ATS, we have created Smart Hire and OLA, our On-Line Application process. OLA allows the job seeker to electronically apply and complete the forms necessary to perform a background check. Pre-Check still believes in combining good old-fashion hard work with today’s most recent electronic solutions.

    What are some of the free tech tools you use in your business?

    In the background screening industry, you get what you pay for. For example, a free service like going to electronic court houses, which are often not up to date with recent criminal histories, can be a problem. Several times the wrong criminal history can be associated with an applicant because there has been no on-site search from a court researcher using proper identifiers. Also, employers will go to on-line job boards for free listings of job seekers only to find that the performance of the person that they hire does not match up with what has been stated on their resume. We seldom use free tech tools because they have not necessarily proven to be sufficient in making well-qualified hires.

    What tangible impact has technology had in how you operate your business?

    We have a large database that collects every source of information so that we can organize and forward specific aspects of the background check to the responsible party for processing. We Gerberize, which means that we have established procedures for most everything we do. Using Microsoft 360 and hosting our data in the cloud gives us an extremely secure process for protecting our information. All of which means we can accomplish more with less people, giving us a cost savings advantage.

    Are there any tech tools you are thinking about adding?

    Using platform technology called an API, we are reaching out to partner with other information systems so we can integrate Pre-Check into their systems. This will broaden our national and even international presence.

    You have attended various COSE events in the past. Why do you make attending these events a priority and what benefits have you received as a result?

    I have been a member of COSE since 1994. I enjoy the networking and the educational benefits of the training sessions such as the strategic planning course, the COSE meet ups and, most recently, the GCP/COSE investor events. I find that being a member of COSE gives me a sustainable business advantage where I have found both personal and professional growth.

    Learn more about the benefits of being a COSE Member by clicking here. Or, contact our Membership Team directly via email at memberservices@cose.org or by phone at 216-592-2355.

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  • Next up: Why I'm Going to the 2018 COSE Annual Meeting

    Why I'm Going to the 2018 COSE Annual Meeting

    In the lead up to the 2018 COSE Annual Meeting later this month, we will be running a series of stories focused on what attendees are hoping to get out of this year’s event and the lessons they’ve learned from previous Annual Meetings. Read on below to learn why one of our attendees is particularly excited about the 2018 Annual Meeting.

    Bridget Thibeault is the chef and owner of Luna Bakery in Cleveland Heights and she recently registered for the 2018 COSE Annual Meeting taking place Jan. 23. Thibeault took time recently to sit down with Mind Your Business to talk about why she registered for the event and what she’s looking forward to getting out of the experience.

    I registered for the annual meeting for two reasons—the speakers (Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, play-by-play voice Tom Hamilton and Indians’ Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan) and I am a new member and would like to learn more about what COSE has to offer me as a small business owner.

    I attend as many events as possible to learn new ways to lead and manage my company. We are a relatively new business that has grown very fast and we are preparing to open a second location in the spring of 2018.  For the past couple years, I have been focusing on organizing my company so we can grow with vision and strategy. (As a side note, my husband is the baseball coach at John Carroll University so he is coming with me as a guest since the content will be great for him too.)

    Luna is a very busy cafe and teamwork is one of the keys to our success. I'm hoping to learn some new strategies for teamwork and leadership from the speakers. I’m also looking for some additional insight into COSE and, of course, networking.  I find that every event I attend in Cleveland leads to more people finding out about our brand and we gain new customers.

    I am excited for the COSE Annual Meeting!

    Swing on by the 2018 COSE Annual Meeting and get unique insights on leadership strategies and how to build a winning team from the Indians’ Terry Francona, Tom Hamilton and Paul Dolan. Click here to register today!

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  • Next up: Why 'Scanning' Is an Important Part of Organizational Success

    Why 'Scanning' Is an Important Part of Organizational Success

    Scanning, whether it’s for an external environment or more of an introspective look at your own self, is a powerful skill that is not as easy to master as you might think. Read on below to learn more.

    Scanning is an individual or group’s ability to pay attention to what is going on around them, internally and externally. When you walk into a room, you immediately look around to see who is there, the layout, and what is going on. A lot of it is unconscious behavior. Some people scan that same room for danger. Some scan for safety or to see if anything is familiar. Others scan to see if there is anyone there that they know. Some scan for what is different. Some scan for gender or race or class for example—how many women or men are in the room.  

    Some people have an agenda or clear goals and scan the room for the people they have attached to those goals. So, why pay attention to your scanning?  

    How do you scan and what do you scan for?

    What you don’t see is as important as what you scan for in assessing situations and leveraging them for your own goals. What is missing in your picture can greatly impact your ability to accomplish your goals or see the bigger picture. For example, if you scan for the familiar, who in the room you know, then you miss all the new people that could be potential new clients if you go to know them. 

    The second part of scanning is the internal scan. How are you scanning yourself? What in your internal world are you paying attention to i.e. your thoughts, your feelings, your heart, your gut, your physical being, your energy, your history, your present, your future, and the impact of what is happening externally on you internally? And pay attention to how effective you are at shuttling back and forth between your internal scan and your scan of the external environment?

    This is a powerful skill. As I facilitate meetings or coach clients, I am paying attention to multiple levels of system. I am constantly scanning my internal self, the room, the group dynamics, the energy of the group, the content of the session, how the world outside of the room is impacting the session and discerning and intuiting what is needed from me in each moment to support the goals and intention of the session and the bigger unit of work that we are engaged in together. This allows me to remind the client of context, of what they may be missing in their scanning process and all kinds of factors that can be taken into consideration and integrated into their decisions, solutions and actions. This is especially helpful in discerning strategies so as much of the current reality picture is taken into consideration.  It is also critical when doing problem solving to minimize unintended consequences.

    You can increase your scanning ability just by paying attention to what you pay attention to in any given day or moment. Observe yourself and your daily patterns. This will give you insights into where you are, and then you can begin to pay more attention to additional data points or information. This is the time to take the opportunity to broaden your skill in your efforts to be more effective in life and business. Think about it: What in this article are you paying attention to? What feelings come up from your reading this blog? And how will you move forward now that you have this new awareness?

    Monika Moss-Gransberry is a 30-year entrepreneur, business coach and organizational consultant, author of Life Mapping: A Journey of Self Discovery and Path Finding and The Technology of Doing Creating & Being, both self-mastery books teaching readers how to make their visions real. She is on the faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Initiative and the Gestalt OSD Center. For more information on Monika’s work: www.mossgransberry.com and www.monikakmoss.com

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  • Next up: Why Your Meetings Suck (Part I)

    Why Your Meetings Suck (Part I)

    Your meetings are all wrong: unproductive, no structure, boring. But with a few simple tweaks, you can make your company’s meetings one of the most enjoyable parts of your day. Honest!

    This is the first in a two-part series on how companies can go from meeting blues to meeting bliss. By following this carefully laid-out plan, any company can improve its efficiency, empower its employees and hold meetings that are not just tolerable, but enjoyable. Let’s get started!

    One of the biggest disasters that I often experience when working with companies is their meetings. Let me describe the typical meeting that I have experienced and you let me know if any of these elements are present in meetings you’ve attended lately…

    There’s a problem at the company and somebody (often a boss) calls a meeting to solve it. Everyone drops what they’re working on and gets together in a conference room to discuss. There’s typically not an agenda and the manager starts by venting about the problem in all of its gory detail (which everybody usually already knows). Some solutions are offered before the real issue has even been identified and then those ideas are discussed ad nauseam, with an emphasis on the nausea. Finally, after about 30-60 minutes everyone is worn out and it is decided to table the issue while more facts are gathered and then have another meeting! 

    Am I getting close? 

    Meetings deserve our attention because, in so many businesses and groups, they are terrible. Most employees and managers dislike them but tolerate them only because they have to. Even worse, they are often a big waste of time. We have to STOP believing that meetings are bad. Bad meetings are bad.  Great meetings are moments of truth and accountability. If your meetings aren’t your favorite time of the week, you’re doing them wrong!

    Below, I present a meeting plan for a typical company. I’ll outline who should be in each meeting, how frequently they should occur and how long they should last. 

    When you first take a look at this plan, two things are likely to happen. First, you’re going to write it off as being too simple to really work. Second, you’re going to balk at how many meetings are on the list and say you don’t have time to have all of these meetings because your company isn’t big enough. 

    I’ve heard it all before, but just know that the great companies have figured out how to hold these meetings (even when they were under $1 million in size) and they grew into them. As their meetings improved, they understood that a powerful meeting is more important than chasing a new lead. (Note: If you’re so involved in the day-to-day operations of your business that you have to miss a meeting to chase a new lead yourself, you need to go back and read my last article “A Silver Bullet for Hiring the Right People” published in Mind Your Business recently. Get yourself some better people and then come back to this article!) 

    Here’s the meeting plan I recommend for companies in the restoration industry:






    Daily Huddle

    Frontline Staff

    EVERY Day

    5-15 minutes

    Plan the day, get on the same page, avoid unnecessary running around

    Peak Performance Meeting

    Entire Company by Division

    1 time per week

    60 minutes

    Get the team together and train on how to perform the company’s services

    Production Meeting


    1 time per week

    60 minutes

    Check in on all open projects (go thru them one by one), discuss projects that are off track, share best practices

    Leadership Team Meeting

    Senior Management

    1 time per week

    90 minutes

    Quick reporting on all aspects of the business followed by focused discussion of problems that would move the company forward the most if they were solved right now

    Strategic Planning Meeting

    Senior Management

    1 time per quarter

    1 day

    Review the prior quarter’s progress and get on the same page for the next quarter

    Annual Planning Meeting

    Senior Management

    1 time per year

    2 days

    Review the prior year and prepare for the new year

    State of the Company Address

    Entire Company

    1 time per year

    60 minutes

    After the Annual Planning Meeting get the whole company together to share the vision for the year and get everyone fired up and ready to tear raw meat off the bone in pursuit of your goals

    So, now we’ve got a shift in thinking and a meeting outline. Tune in next week for the concluding article of this short series. We will break down in greater detail the different meeting types, and take a look at sample agendas, that you can institute immediately for a more content and productive workforce.

    Jonathan Slain works with business owners and their executive teams to get control of their lives For a FREE meeting to discuss your business, he can be reached at jpslain@gmail.com or 216-870-4219.
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