Month in Review: June 2021

 

Things are heating up on the blog this summer as we explore topics such as future-proofing your website and providing five-star customer service. Check out our favorite articles from June.

What is Appropriate Small Talk at Events?

The weather, local sports teams, and now COVID... these are all topics awkwardly thrown into small talk when attending networking events. We all hate it, so why do we do it?
 
In this installment of FAQs with Phil, our resident communications expert Phil Stella discusses how to change that repetitive small talk into effective Big Talk, and achieve big results.

Good Customer Service is Key to Small Business Success

Behind every great business is an excellent customer service team. And with superior customer service, comes customer loyalty—something every business owner strives to achieve.
 
Learn how to provide the five-star customer service treatment with these five easy steps.

Future-Proof Your Website with these Seven Easy Tips
 
Changes in technology are about as frequent as changes in Cleveland weather. And you don't want to have to completely re-imagine your website every time a new technology emerges.
 
From focusing on evergreen content to investing in SEO, here are seven tips to future-proofing your website.

Start Delegating Your Way to Success Today
 
The items on your to-do list are growing. You think nobody can handle your tasks as well as you do and that explaining them to someone else takes longer than doing them yourself. So you keep at it, spreading yourself thin and wearing yourself out.
 
We're taking a deep dive into the art and science of delegation—a key to any entrepreneur's success. Learn why and how delegating is critical to your small business.

Let us know your favorite articles on twitter.




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  • Next up: Key American Rescue Plan Provisions Will Help Advance GCP Priorities

    Key American Rescue Plan Provisions Will Help Advance GCP Priorities

     

    Last week, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act - a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill. Here are some key provisions that will help advance our priorities:

     

    - Public Transit: Provides $30 billion for transit agencies who have been deeply impacted by the pandemic and forced to cut service and jobs in 2020.

     

    Our 2021-2022 Public Policy Agenda calls for revitalizing development around our existing transit hubs and funding multimodal transit that better connects residents to jobs, goods, and services. 

     

    - Broadband: Invests $7 billion in broadband so millions of public school students will receive the internet services they need for their education.

     

    We are a strong advocate for affordable, high-quality broadband in digitally divided communities, understanding that Cleveland’s unaffordable and unreliable internet service options prevent economic progress. Our long-term success hinges on a strong partnership with local governments, the state of Ohio, federal partners and the private sector. 

     

    - Small Business Support: Provides $15 billion in additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries through increased funding for Targeted EIDL grants; $25 billion in funding for a new dedicated grant relief program for restaurants; $7 billion for expanded PPP assistance for nonprofits and digital news services; and $1 billion in Save Our Stages grants for independent live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions.

     

    Our agenda lays out our federal priorities to build wealth for minority entrepreneurs and small businesses but doing so will mean addressing disparities in lending. 

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  • Next up: Make a great impression every time

    Make a great impression every time

    We are slowly returning to in-person events and we will soon be networking face-to-face again. Check out these six tips to making a great impression.

     

    Now that we’re getting back into more in-person business and networking events, it’s time to revisit best practices for making a Great Impression with the people you meet. The strategy is really simple and easy, yet the devil is in the details of execution.

    Here are six tips to making a great impression.

    Tip no 1: Talk less, listen more. Tell less, ask more. Actively listen to their words, tone of voice and vis-ual cues.

    Tip no. 2: Value their time. Keep the conversation short and focused. Defer to a later time if it gets overly interesting or complicated.

    RELATED: What is appropriate small talk at networking events?

    Tip no. 3: Ask focused questions. These questions can be about them on a personal or business level. Let them know that you value them enough to remember what to ask about.

    Tip no. 4: Compliment. You can give a compliment on a recent award, mention in the media, etc. This approach also subtly lets them know that you read and are interested in their accomplishments.

    Tip no. 5: Givers always gain. Be sure to ask if there’s anything you or someone you know can do to help them with a particular problem or challenge. I promise giving of your time and talent in this way will come back around to benefit you at some point down the road.

    RELATED: Read more from Phil Stella

    Tip no. 6: Follow up. After the conversation, send a brief email or hand-written note indicating that you enjoyed the chat and look forward to next time.

    And if it isn’t obvious by now, each of these tactics works with networking via email or over the phone. The medium of the communication may change, but the strategy of striving for positive first or ongoing impressions remains the same.

    Like I said, easy and simple. And don’t tell me these strategies won’t work until you try them and can tell me they didn’t work for you.

    Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, www.communicate-confidently.com, 440 804-4785, and empowers business leaders to reduce the pain with workplace communication. A popular trainer and executive coach on writing, communication styles and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.   

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  • Next up: 3 things to know: Marketing your business during COVID

    3 things to know: Marketing your business during COVID

     

    While we are still facing a global pandemic and the accompanying economic impact, your business might need a marketing boost. Here are three things we think you should know when it comes to marketing your business during COVID.

    1. You’ve got to go with SEO
    Getting your website up and running took a lot of time and effort on your part. Now that it’s where you want it, don’t hit the brakes—it’s time to get your website seen. Enter search engine optimization marketing—the best way for you to stand out to potential customers in a sea of other businesses. Still not convinced? Here are five reasons to invest in SEO, as well as 9 SEO tips to get your website noticed. We promise it’s not as overwhelming as you might think. In fact, you can set up an effective SEO strategy in just four steps. 

    2. Take it to the next level with an elevator speech
    An elevator pitch is about as outdated as handshakes. It’s time to turn it up a notch with an elevator speech—keeping the mindset that these opportunities are for sharing information, not making obvious sales pitches. Here are some tips to improving your elevator speech so that—whenever you’re ready to take elevators again—you are prepared with this effective marketing tactic. 

    3. Outshine, don’t outspend
    Your budget might be a little tighter these days, but that doesn’t mean you need to skimp on marketing. One excellent and free marketing tactic is to become an MYB contributor! As an expert in your field, what better way to share your knowledge and promote your business than writing for a small business blog. Email Marie Zickefoose at mzickefoose@greatercle.com for more info and to get started.

    More tips for branding on a budget include doing pro bono work and promoting customer testimonials. And, don’t forget that as long as you have your cell phone and a social media account, you can produce engaging content and free videos to amplify your marketing and drive results

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  • Next up: Month in Review: May 2021

    Month in Review: May 2021

     

    Mind Your Business was full of great information last month to help you grow your business.  From employee retention challenges to strategic planning—and a compilation of business resource recommendations from COSE members—check out our favorite articles from May. 

    What Ohio Business Owners Need to Know About Anti-Harassment & Anti-Retaliation Laws
    As a business owner, providing your employees with a safe working environment is one of your most important tasks. This includes a workplace free from unwanted sexual advances, jokes and other types of sexual harassment. It also means having an understanding of the laws created around employee-relations issues.

    Here is what you need to know about anti-harassment and anti-retaliation laws in the workplace.

    So, Do I Need a Strategic Plan? Who Cares?
    Is there anything scarier to a business owner than those two words? Strategic plan (*shudders*). 

    But a strategic plan doesn't have to be overwhelming—or scary. In fact, the end result of a strategic plan should be a more effectively-run business, less stress, and more free time.

    MYB's very own strategic planning expert can help you get there. Read on for a breakdown of the terminology and components of a strategic plan, and guidance on how it can be helpful to your business—and to you.

    Employee Retention Challenges and Solutions
    It's no secret that the key to a great business is great employees. But does your small business struggle to hire or retain top talent? 

    From recognizing your staff to opening lines of communication, here are nine suggestions to hiring and retaining excellent employees to grow your business.

    COSE Members Share Their Favorite Small Business Resources
    We asked some of our COSE members to tell us about their favorite resources they turn to while running their small businesses and growing as leaders—and we received several noteworthy submissions to share with you.

    Podcasts, books, websites, YouTube channels... and some are even written or produced by the members themselves. Check out their suggestions and add them to your to-do list!

     
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  • Next up: A mental health check-in: Challenges to retaining employees

    A mental health check-in: Challenges to retaining employees

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