Senate Committee Convenes Hearing on ‘Alternate Employer Organizations’

 

On November 20th, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and its small business division, the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), provided written testimony regarding our support for Senate Bill 201 (SB 201). 

Click here to view what was submitted to the Ohio Senate Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce Committee.

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) provide services to their employer clients – often small and middle market businesses – by assisting with an employer's human resources services or employee benefits and payroll.  These entities allow job creators to spend more time and focus on running the day-to-day operations of a successful enterprise. 

SB 201 would create Alternate Employer Organizations (AEOs) and they would function as a PEO, but the AEO would pay taxes under the federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) of its various client-employers – not the EIN of the PEO.  The initiative would provide another option for clients to access programs that offer co-employment programs that can be highly beneficial to small and mid-sized businesses across Ohio. 

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  • Next up: Senate OKs Priorities, State Budget Bill Due Soon

    Senate OKs Priorities, State Budget Bill Due Soon


    The state legislature has a few days to iron out their final priorities for Ohio's next two years of policy in a multi-billion-dollar spending bill that sets the state budget.  Last week the Ohio Senate passed their version of a proposed FY20-21 budget. A final bill will be presented to the Governor by month’s end and after the Ohio House and Senate conference.

    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% 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:

    Preserve Ohio’s current small business tax deduction, which is utilized by our members for reinvestment back into their companies, workforces, and communities.  Reducing the deduction for business income, as proposed by the House, by 60% is significant and it would seriously jeopardize future planning and investments.

    Maintain the 3% flat tax rate that pass-through businesses pay on earnings over $250,000. Should elected officials choose to eliminate the current rate and increase the tax rate on these Ohio businesses, allowing entrepreneurs an opportunity to plan and budget for it in the future, as outlined in the Senate’s proposal, is absolutely critical. Because most businesses are set up as pass-through entities, they pay taxes on business income at the income tax rate of their individual owners. Ensuring the proper treatment for a variety of business types, expenses, and investments made by business owners—to support the growth of their businesses—is a crucial focus in deliberations on tax policy.

    Late last week the House and the Senate named members of the budget bill conference committee. To view a summary document of the Senate’s latest amendments, click here.


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  • Next up: Setting the Foundation for Marketing Success by Getting Back to the Basics

    Setting the Foundation for Marketing Success by Getting Back to the Basics

    Marketing can be an overwhelming part of running a small business. Here are three basic tactics you can use for a simple, cost effective strategy.

     

    Whether you are a business owner wading through the sea of marketing tools or the lone marketer in an organization trying to keep up, there are some tried and true basics to set the foundation for marketing success.  

    “Success” isn't just defined by having the latest and shiniest tools at your disposal.  Many smaller companies don't have the budget and/or staff to support them. So, what can you do to stand out from the competition in a world where the mediums to market seem daunting?

    Start with the following three basic tactics.

    Back to basics tactic no. 1: Messaging. Craft a concise message that focuses on what sets you apart from the competition. What is the one thing that you do differently from your competitors?  Even if it seems small, it may just be the reason they buy from you.

    Equally important is to make sure that the message is known and spoken across your organization. Reinforcement is what helps to build a brand so educate your entire organization on that differentiator and elevator pitch. Go holistically to the street with the same message.

    Back to basics tactic no. 2: Customer Insights. Whether you have five customers or five thousand, you should be collecting data on how your customers view you. A simple email to your top customers asking why they buy from you all the way to a survey with both quantitative and qualitative questions will help inform your differentiator. Collecting data as you grow will help you to look at past trends and, in time, predict future ones.

    Back to basics tactic no. 3: Networking. Never underestimate the power of face-to-face marketing. While social media, text, and email marketing certainly have an important role, there is still great value in one-on-one communication; especially for the sake of brand recognition and relationship building. Find conferences and events that your customers and ideal prospects will be attending. Send your entire team—not just those in sales—to network. 

    A great example for networking in the technology space is Tech Pint. It’s a place for technology practitioners from many different industries to socialize and learn, typically over drinks. This is relationship building at its finest as it is peer-to-peer only. It removes the direct sales piece from the equation.

    Another idea is to host an event for your customers and top prospects. Whether it’s a sporting event, happy hour, or lunch and learn, adding in a brief learning component can go a long way with creating customer loyalty and new at-bats. Also, it’s scalable based on budget.

    To recap, set the foundation for marketing success by knowing who you are in the competitive landscape and what your customers want, and by making sure you stay in front of them. The tools are the means to simplify the tactical and cast a wider net. Without a solid foundation, the tools just become noise.

    Nicole Ponstingle is the COO and a partner at Pandata LLC, a Cleveland-based data science consulting firm.

     

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  • Next up: Share Thoughts on Workforce Needs: Take In-Demand Jobs Survey

    Share Thoughts on Workforce Needs: Take In-Demand Jobs Survey

    A new survey tool launched by InnovateOhio and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation will help the State of Ohio direct its spending to train Ohioans for the workforce. Currently, the state’s In-Demand Jobs List—which will utilize survey data—directs the spending of 85% of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act training funds.

    Speaking about the newly launched survey, Lt. Governor Jon Husted stated, “We’ve heard the concerns of business leaders, we’ve built a system that fits their needs, and now we need their help by filling out the survey, so we can invest in developing people with the skills that are most in demand.”

    The survey tool was developed with businesses of all sizes in mind and is open to all registered Ohio businesses, giving both small and large companies the opportunity to have their voice heard. The tool offers a simple user experience and allows businesses to give input on the state’s current and future workforce needs.

    Interested in sharing your perspective in how Ohio prepares people for the workforce? The In-Demand Jobs survey is available now here. The State’s updated In-Demand Jobs List will be published at the end of 2019.

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  • Next up: Share Your Perspective about Ohio’s Economy

    Share Your Perspective about Ohio’s Economy

     

    The Ohio Chamber Research Foundation is conducting its latest quarterly economic survey of business leaders throughout the state, called the Prosperity Pulse. The Foundation is seeking input from Ohio’s business community, including leaders in Northeast Ohio. You can fill out the survey here.

    The mission of the Research Foundation is to provide non-partisan, educational resources on public policy issues that impact Ohio’s economy, job creation, and long-term competitiveness. The survey is part of the Foundation’s efforts to understand the current economic conditions and future expectations of businesses in Ohio.

    Your perspective of our state economy is valuable—share it here. Results of the Second Quarter 2019 Prosperity Pulse survey will be published by the Research Foundation later this summer.


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  • Next up: Slaying the Impromptu Dragon

    Slaying the Impromptu Dragon

    Does just the thought of impromptu public speaking make you sweat? Here are four steps to help you tackle presentations so that you’re never caught off guard again.

     

    Has this ever happened to you? Emma arrived at work early, got a cup of coffee and settled into tackling her highest priority task of the day. When, out of nowhere, her boss Bob approached her cubicle and asked the question that strikes fear in the hearts most employees, “Hi Emma...you busy?”

    Without waiting for an answer, he indicated that some of the executives from Glitztronics were in for a project status review meeting. Andy, the team lead, had just called in sick, so Bob asked her to fill in and do a five-minute quickie overview for them—right now. “After all,” he said, “you’re the senior member of the project team anyway.”

    Instant stress, panic and fear would overtake most people in a similar situation. They couldn’t say no, but would be terrified that they’d blow it and look foolish in front of their clients and their boss. But not Dragon Slayer Emma—she’s a real pro at workplace presentations.

    RELATED: Expert answers for your questions on presentations.

    Impromptu presentations can be the workplace communicator’s worst nightmare, if you let them. But, having a “what if” plan for just such emergencies can save the day. 

    Here’s what Emma did to slay the impromptu dragon—and how you can, too:

    Slay the dragon step no. 1: React calmly. Emma first took a deep breath, smiled at Bob and told him she’d be happy to help out—exhibiting a tone of confidence and even appreciation.

    Slay the dragon step no. 2: Find out the details. Emma then asked Bob what three or four brief talking points he wanted her to discuss and who specifically would be in the room.

    Slay the dragon step no. 3: Gather your thoughts and get to it. Finally, Emma jotted down some quick notes and followed Bob down the hall.

    Slay the dragon step no. 4: Continue acting confident. Emma projected not only confidence throughout her presentation, but also enthusiasm over the project and the client. 

    After Bob introduced Emma and indicated she was filling in for the absent Andy, it would be an accurate description to say she had them at “hello.” She welcomed the clients, said she was delighted to give them a brief project status and discuss its background, current activity and next series of milestones. She asked them if that agenda worked for their needs and if anyone had any specific questions they wanted to make sure got addressed. Since she hadn’t even seen Andy’s slides, she didn’t use any; she simply did a brief review of the project and asked if they had any other questions. In her quick summary, Emma thanked them again for the opportunity to work with Glitztronics and said she looked forward to their next meeting.

    So, you can all learn from a pro like Emma and Slay your Impromptu Dragon. Have a basic structure in mind that can quickly adapt to most any topic and quickly decide on content points and support facts as you walk down the hall. Project confidence, enthusiasm and enjoyment, especially if you’re faking it, and never let them see you sweat.

    RELATED: Read more by Phil Stella.

    Hey, it worked very well for Emma. She got applause from the clients and glowing comments from Bob, who didn’t forget her stepping up at performance review time.

    Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, www.communicate-confidently.com,440-449-0356, and empowers business leaders to reduce the pain with workplace communication. A popular trainer and executive coach on writing, styles and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.  

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