State Designates $125M of CARES Act Funding to Small Business Relief Grants; Learn How to Apply for the Program Here


On Friday, Governor Mike DeWine announced the designation of $125 million of federal CARES Act funding to provide $10,000 grants to aid small businesses hurt by the current crisis. Designation of additional funding was also announced for bars and restaurants, higher education, and nonprofits and arts organizations. The Small Business Relief Grant application period will open Monday, November 2, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis and eligible small businesses are encouraged to get ready to apply. 

Click here to read GCP’s comprehensive guide to apply for the Small Business Relief Grant program.

GCP was a key advocate on behalf of small business members, encouraging a portion of remaining CARES Act funds to be used for the creation of such a program. In a September letter to Governor DeWine, Senate President Obhof, and Speaker Cupp, Marty McGann, Executive Vice President of Advocacy, urged that “as policymakers decide where to direct federal CARES Act dollars, it is critical that a portion of Ohio’s remaining allocation support our small businesses.” 

In addition to the Small Business Relief Grant program, the state will designate $37.5 million of funding to provide $2,500 assistance payments to on-premise liquor permit holders to help them through the financial difficulties experienced during the pandemic. Both programs, the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund and the Small Business Relief Grant program, will begin accepting applications on November 2. 

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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 Effective Capability Statement

    The Effective Capability Statement

    An effective capability statement is a marketing tool that will showcase the services/products that your company offers, its qualifications and accomplishments.

    An effective capability statement is a marketing tool that will showcase the services/products that your company offers, its qualifications and accomplishments. In a recent webinar, Rich Delisio of OU PTAC reviewed the importance of a well written capability statement, how to stand out against competitors, and the components to include as you prepare for the Cleveland B2B Matchmaker.

    Watch the full webinar below:


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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: Tricks AND Treats of Running a Small Business

    Tricks AND Treats of Running a Small Business

    Running a small business may spook some people, but not our COSE members! Read on as they share their tricks AND treats of being small business owners.


    We asked some of our COSE members to share with us some TRICKS they swear by when it comes to running their own small businesses, as well as some TREATS they’ve experienced as a result of being a small business owner.

    So don’t be a scaredy cat—pause for a spell and check out what they had to say!

    TRICK: “The best ‘trick’ we have found for finding rockstar employees was taking the time to develop our core values. It makes the hiring process easier because we know that those who succeed at Pandata embody our core values. It's our measuring stick for hiring.”

    TREAT: The greatest ‘treat’ in running this business has been developing a recognizable brand for Pandata. As a career-long marketer, the opportunity to build something essentially from scratch has given me so much personal satisfaction. Hearing people say, ‘I have heard of Pandata’ or ‘I really love your marketing’ makes me proud of how far we have come.”

    Nicole Ponstingle, Pandata


    Trick: “One trick we use as a matter of policy is transparency—especially as it pertains to upfront pricing. This way there are no surprises and price-only potential clients filter themselves out of the conversation. We end up getting much more qualified leads and potential clients who are more concerned with value vs price.”

    Treat: “Getting to meet, help and work with local entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Cleveland area on a daily basis has been such a fulfilling experience. Knowing that we're directly impacting our local economy and local families in a positive doesn't get much better than that!”

    Nachum Langsner, LocalBizGuru


    TRICK: “Always have a Service Recovery strategy. No matter how good your service delivery, something will go wrong, either through your own fault or by accident. So, plan for it. Remember that a customer who receives bad service followed by a sincere apology and an outstanding service recovery process often becomes an ‘apostle’—spreading the good news about your company—because people love to tell a good story.”

    TREAT:I get to decide. As a solopreneur I may have to worry about marketing, sales and cash flow, because if I don’t sell, I don’t eat. But two things I never worry about are job security (because I know the boss—me!—isn’t going to lay me off) and feeling stuck in a dead-end job (because I can reinvent myself at any time without waiting for permission)!”

    Jim Smith, The Executive Happiness Coach


    TRICK:Identifying and spending time with others (through happy hours, emails, etc) who run a small business in my same industry. Although they are technically competitors, they also experience the same problems I have. Sharing ‘tricks’ of how we have solved the problem we all have, has allowed me to solve these problems more quickly than if I had to figure it out myself…

    Which has led to the TREAT of having this group of fellow small business owners become incredibly great friends and referral sources.”

    Margaret Cassidy, Cassidy Law


    TRICK: “One trick that I use is my marching orders to my team members: A video project is not complete until the client is ecstatic at the final showing.”

    TREAT: “A treat I’ve experienced is getting to know so many diverse organizations intimately—their mission, culture and purpose.”

    Tony Weber, Goldfarb Weber Creative Media


    TRICK: "I use Survey Monkey to qualify candidates when interviewing. I send it to those whose resumes look solid, with the goal of paring down the candidates for phone interviews. The survey has about seven basic behavioral and technical questions. This helps me determine the candidates that are serious as well as get a better feel for the candidate’s writing style, communication skills and thinking. It reduces the need to conduct a ton of phone interviews as well."

    TREAT: "I’ve really gotten a chance to harness my creativity and vision. Whether it’s building our solutions out, tackling sales goals or building our community impact initiatives, running my own business allows me the freedom to think, create ideas and make them happen!"

    Nevin Bansal, Outreach Promotions and Small Biz Cares


    TRICK: “When applying for a small business loan, time your loan request to coincide with the date when your year-end tax return will be completed by your accountant. That way, when your banker asks for a ‘current financial statement within 90 days of application’ you’ll already have it and won’t have to pay her to do a new one for you!”

    TREAT: “Don’t be scared to consult your local economic development professional at your City Hall when considering an expansion. You never know what incentives they might have available to help your business grow. For example, businesses in Cleveland, Lakewood, Fairview Park, Maple Heights, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland Heights have received performance grant assistance from the city in conjunction with their SBA-backed loans. Maybe you can, boo!

    Raymond Graves, Lender Relations Specialist, Cleveland District Office U.S. Small Business Administration


    TRICK: “After I have interviewed someone and the pressure is off the potential candidate, I have two of my employees interview and talk to the potential applicant. They answer any questions they might have about working at SACS Consulting, culture, etc. I explain to my two employees: ‘You are the ones that will work with this potential candidate day to day and not me—so see what you think.’ It is amazing without our people asking much at all what the candidates volunteer and ask—which tells us if they are a good fit or not and increases our hiring success rates!”

    Tim Dimoff, CEO and President of SACS Consulting


    We hope you have enjoyed these tricks and treats and we wish you happy haunting!


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  • Next up: Understanding and Building a Positive Company Culture

    Understanding and Building a Positive Company Culture

    You’ve probably heard of some of the bigger companies that employees like working for. But company culture is just as important in a small business as well.


    As a small business you may not think much about company culture. But I have learned that building a strong company culture is equally as important in a business with five to 10 employees as it is in a company with hundreds of employees. There are many reasons for this ranging from attracting good employees to fostering an atmosphere that promotes good communication, keeping employees happy and with your company.  Today, most people have several opportunities for employment so it is up to you to provide a strong, attractive company culture to attract this talent to your small business. 

    RELATED: Why employee motivation matters more in a small business.

    Having an attractive company culture does not mean you have to provide extras like gyms, day care centers or yoga classes that most small businesses can’t afford. But it does mean that you provide a workplace that is open, communicative and is a pleasant place to work. It starts with a vision of your core values and how you run your company. The first steps toward developing your company culture are essentially knowing what your company does, what it believes in (your values) and what your vision of the future is. 

    Once you have defined those, see if you need to make any adjustments or changes. Remember, company culture starts from the top down. Be honest when reviewing your current culture and be proactive when making any changes. 

    When hiring, keep in mind if the new hire will fit into your company culture. Be honest with your expectations and in listening to their expectations. Your employees are your brand ambassadors. They are the ones who will share their feelings about what kind of workplace you have. Be open to talking with them and take any suggestions they offer seriously. Employee attitudes are as important as their skill sets. However, be careful not to hire clones of yourself. You want employees who can offer new thoughts and experiences and add to your company culture. 

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

    In order to reinforce your culture, consider programs that award employees who meet or beat expectations. These programs go a long way toward making employees feel valued. Examples of this can include annual awards for the “best” sales leader or “best” example of your core values. This can also mean something as simple as just celebrating employee birthdays with a cake. 

    Your employee turnover, reviews etc. will help you to determine if your culture is effective and positive. Be sensitive to what you see and hear when analyzing your environment. If you follow these suggestions, you will ultimately find yourself with lower turnovers, a more positive and friendly work environment and a happier and more productive workplace.

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at

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