Q-and-A: Congresswoman Marcia Fudge Talks About the 'Q' and NASA Glenn

The GCP recently sat down with Congresswoman Marcia Fudge to get her thoughts on a potential deal for Quicken Loans Arena and the impact that Nasa Glenn has had on Northeast Ohio. Take a look below at what she had to say.


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  • Next up: Q-and-A: The Benefits of the 10,000 Small Businesses Program

    Q-and-A: The Benefits of the 10,000 Small Businesses Program

    Anne Caputo of J.A.C Business Communications discusses how the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program has helped her business.

    Anne Caputo of J.A.C Business Communications discusses how the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program has helped her business.

    The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program is an excellent way to learn skills—such as negotiation, leadership and how to obtain capital—that will help your business grow. But don’t take our word for it. Mind Your Business sat down recently with Anne Caputo of J.A.C. Business Communications who is one of the graduates of the program. We asked her about what some of her takeaways from the program were, how she applied them to her business, and more. Here’s what she had to say:

    Mind Your Business: Why did you decide to apply to be a part of 10,000 Small Businesses?

    Anne Caputo: I heard about it and decided to poke around a little bit. I decided it would be a good thing for my business. It’s a family-owned business and I felt like I needed a little more business background. My expertise is in writing and grammar but when it came to running a business, I was not as experienced.

    MYB: Talk a little bit about what the program is like and what you took away from the program.

    Caputo: It was a great experience. It was very in-depth and challenging for me to just have to do numbers and things like that and take care of a balance sheet. What I took out of it is that I’m the one who is running the company. The decisions stop with me. I also learned that I needed to do more in working on my business and less working in my business. That was empowering.

    MYB: Did you end up implementing any of the skills you learned from the program to your business?

    Caputo: I did. I took a lot away from the owner, employee agreements, and job descriptions. I implemented some of that. I told my staff that you’re responsible for our clients’ projects; just keep me in the loop. It put the employees in a position where they had to take responsibility and also let them know that I was not going to bail them out. If a job is messed up, you’re going to be the one to call the customer and say, “I’m sorry we didn’t meet the deadline. No excuses allowed.” And be proactive, not reactive. Communicate!

    Another thing I ended up rolling into my business was that I needed to spend more time networking. Again, I was working in my business too much and not enough on my business. I went out more and was meeting with customers and calling customers just to check in, “How are we doing for you?” That definitely helped the business. I also started a newsletter and a direct mail campaign to stay more in touch with my customers and potential customers.

    It was just an empowering experience. It was overwhelming, but in a good way. I’m glad I did it. Every so often, I pull out my big binder I got from the program and read a section.

    MYB: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about whether they should apply to enroll in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses?

    Caputo: I would tell them, “You’re where I was. You’re working the business all of the time. You need to learn how to work on not in the business. It will be the best decision you’ve made since you opened the doors of your business.”

    The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program was and is the best shot in the arm our business needed.

    Across the U.S., 10,000 Small Businesses Graduates have reported increasing their revenue by 69% six months after graduating the program. The deadline to apply is Feb. 23. Don’t pass up this free business growth resource that’s right in your backyard.

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  • Next up: Reading up on Innovation and Execution: 2 Books to Know

    Reading up on Innovation and Execution: 2 Books to Know

    For the past few years, I have worked quite a bit with startup businesses and businesses in the early stages that are looking to grow. While small business owners all want to grow their business, they often get frustrated when they realize the challenges around innovation. How do you come up with an innovative idea?  Mort importantly, how do you execute on that idea?

    For the past few years, I have worked quite a bit with startup businesses and businesses in the early stages that are looking to grow. While small business owners all want to grow their business, they often get frustrated when they realize the challenges around innovation. How do you come up with an innovative idea?  Mort importantly, how do you execute on that idea?

    Innovation

    There are several great books on innovation and how to come up with creative ideas that can help answer these questions. One of my favorites is Inside the Box: a Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg. 

    The authors argue innovative ideas come from realizing the constraints and working through them, not in imagining a limitless world. In a June 2013 Wall Street Journal Article they argue people are at their most creative when they focus on the internal aspects of a situation or problem—and when they constrain their options rather than broaden them.

    In their book they provide several templates for innovation. These templates allow you to think about your products and services in a new way.  One specific template they refer to as “subtraction.” 

    “Consider a contact lens, an exercise bike, a package of powdered soup and an ATM. What do they have in common? They have all had something subtracted. Subtract the frame of a pair of glasses and you have contact lens.  Remove a bike’s rear wheel and you invent the exercise bike. Extract water from soup to make a package of powdered soup. Take the bank employee out of the cash transaction and you have an ATM.”

    Despite the simplicity of going through various templates, the results can be substantial. Inside the Box guides the reader through various templates such as subtraction, task unification, multiplication, division, and attributes dependency.  The authors explain how to innovate in a systematic way by staying inside the proverbial box, leaving the reader with new insight into how to differentiate their products and services and how to come up new product ideas. 

    Execution

    But once you have an innovative idea, how do you execute it?  Putting together a traditional business plan can be risky because you aren’t sure how the market will respond. Investing too heavily in a new idea that misses the mark can be catastrophic to a small business. The key is to quickly learn how the market will respond, without investing so much you can’t be flexible and change when necessary. 

    Eric Ries does a great job explaining the value of quickly testing ideas and making small adjustments in his book Lean Startup.  Rather than simply guessing, surveying customers or gathering subject matter experts to form a group opinion, Ries proposes creating a MVP–Minimum Viable Product. The MVP is a simplified version of a new product that helps to gather validated learning with the least amount of investment. By doing this, an entrepreneur can find out more about their product idea and whether it truly is a viable revenue-generating product. 

    Finding your Innovative Process

    Despite the fact many entrepreneurs expect a flash of innovative genius, the reality is innovation can be cultivated and developed through a systematic process. By exploiting the methods of innovating inside the box and then utilizing the lean startup methodology, business owners can develop an effective and efficient way to improve upon their offerings and grow their business.     

    Scott Miker is the author of two books on personal and professional development - “You Can’t Surf from the Shore,” providing motivational support for readers in taking the first step toward a goal, and “Turn Potential into Production,” on how to use systems to reach business and personal objectives.  Learn more about Scott at ScottMiker.com


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  • Next up: Recent Court Ruling Continues Taxing of Out-of-State Online Retailers

    Recent Court Ruling Continues Taxing of Out-of-State Online Retailers

    In mid-November the Ohio Supreme Court ruled remote sellers—those with no physical presence in our state—will still be subject to the Ohio Department of Taxation imposing the commercial activity tax (CAT) on those companies that sell services or products to Ohioans. The CAT has been collected in Ohio for a little more than 10 years and the tax is levied for “the privilege of doing business in Ohio”, and applies to any taxpayer having substantial nexus with Ohio. 

    In mid-November the Ohio Supreme Court ruled remote sellers—those with no physical presence in our state—will still be subject to the Ohio Department of Taxation imposing the commercial activity tax (CAT) on those companies that sell services or products to Ohioans. The CAT has been collected in Ohio for a little more than 10 years and the tax is levied for “the privilege of doing business in Ohio”, and applies to any taxpayer having substantial nexus with Ohio. 

    The court’s ruling is noteworthy for in-state GCP members leading up to next year’s state budget talks because tax challenges will need to be addressed in the upcoming state budget and it will require continued GCP engagement. For example, a federal requirement that will no longer allow Ohio to levy a sales tax on Medicaid managed care organizations will result in lost sales tax revenue that could impact GCP priorities and services that our state and the region rely on. In addition, the overall tax revenue coming in the first quarter of the fiscal year has been down, tax receipts last month were reportedly 5% lower than expectations, and total state revenue was more than 2% below projections. 

    The bottom line today: Ohio will still have the ability to legally pursue companies that make sales to Ohio customers and they will need to pay the CAT even if they have no physical presence here. The taxpayers will have 90 days from the date the Court issues its mandate to decide whether to seek a discretionary review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Learn more about COSE and GCP’s advocacy efforts

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  • Next up: Regulatory Reform Clears Ohio Senate with GCP Support Behind it

    Regulatory Reform Clears Ohio Senate with GCP Support Behind it

    Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) would require state agencies to review and reduce regulatory restrictions incrementally by December 31, 2022. GCP Vice President of Government Advocacy, Sante Ghetti, testified on behalf of our members in support of the bill in late February, stating regulatory restrictions should continually be evaluated and focus on consistency and predictability–-especially for small or middle-market businesses that may struggle to comply. 

    As stated in the 2019 - 2020 Public Policy Agenda, GCP members believe regulatory challenges should not prevent future entrepreneurs from starting their own businesses and that policymakers should act to reduce the complexity of compliance to ensure enterprises are not disproportionately burdened. 

    On May 8, the legislation passed the Ohio Senate. 

    Among other provisions that were added to the bill that passed last week, the substitute version of SB 1 clarified the formula for calculating the net reduction of regulatory restrictions.

    SB 1 now heads to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration and GCP will remain engaged.


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  • Next up: The outlook for 2016: Resources for small business

    The outlook for 2016: Resources for small business

    There are plenty of resources for small business owners as they plan for the New Year and years ahead. “As small business owners look to 2016, they should develop plans with clear objectives and measures of success,” says Greg Dooley, co-founder of Estrela Consulting.

    There are plenty of resources for small business owners as they plan for the New Year and years ahead.

    “As small business owners look to 2016, they should develop plans with clear objectives and measures of success,” says Greg Dooley, co-founder of Estrela Consulting.

    “Keep in mind and accept that the plan is likely to change; be flexible so that you can quickly learn and adapt as necessary,” Dooley added.

    Here are a few resources small business owners should keep an eye on or consider taking action on in 2016:

    • SBA’s resource partner network: This network comprises Cleveland SCORE, Small Business Development Centers and Women Business Centers. These organizations all provide free and low-cost business counseling. Resource partners are available that specialize in providing export assistance and government contracting assistance. Check out www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance or call SBA’s Cleveland office at 216-522-4180 for more information.
    • Business Model Generation: If small business owners are working on their business plans, Estrela Consulting’s Dooley recommends reading “Business Model Generation”, specifically the Business Model Canvas.
    • COSE: Leverage resources available through the Council of Smaller Enterprises and your local chamber. Visit www.cose.org for more information.
    • Invest in continuing education: “At the beginning of the year, we’re all reading about trends and forecasts and what’s going to happen and what we should be aware of and all those kinds of things,” says Steve Millard, president and executive director of COSE.

    But he says that sometimes small business owners don’t take the time to get themselves up to speed on the different areas that can affect their business.

    “So a small investment in continuing education, a seminar, a retreat—getting away from your business for a little bit to think about the bigger trends for your business is well worth the investment,” he says. “Your business can survive without you for a day or two, but you should really take the time to sharpen the saw of the small business owner; it’s important to keep yourself fresh and also keep your business ahead of the trends.”

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