Ohio House Speaker and Senate Minority Leader Discuss State Priorities with Small Business Members

Last week, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Bob Cupp and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko joined COSE small business members for a conversation about state priorities. 

Speaker Cupp was elected Speaker of the Ohio House of Representative in July and he is currently serving his third term in the House. He has served as an elected official in all three branches of government and at both the local and state levels. 
Leader Yuko represents part of both Cuyahoga and Lake Counties and was first elected to serve as a state representative in 2004.

COSE small business members stressed the importance of advocacy priorities like digital inclusion, unemployment compensation reform, and GCP’s recent position on House Bill 6 repeal efforts

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  • Next up: Ohio Senate Passes CARES Funds Distribution Bill

    Ohio Senate Passes CARES Funds Distribution Bill


    The Ohio Senate on unanimously passed legislation that would send $650 million in federal funds to local government entities to help in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

    The bill would distribute millions of CARES Act funds to local entities, bringing the total amount of the federal coronavirus response bill distributed through the General Assembly to more than $1.2 billion.

    The funds are to be spent on direct coronavirus-related expenses and not to be used to cover lost tax revenues.  

    This will be the fourth time money from the federal bill has been distributed, and the second time through legislation. 

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  • Next up: Ohio Secretary of State Addresses Small Business Members

    Ohio Secretary of State Addresses Small Business Members


    Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose kicked off a meeting in which Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) small business members regularly convene to discuss public policy priorities for entrepreneurs.

    As Ohio’s chief elections officer, the Secretary of State oversees the elections process and appoints the members of boards of elections in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.  It may come as a surprise to some, however, that the office also attempts to connect new businesses with the kinds of services they may need to make them successful. 

    The office grants entities authority to do business in Ohio.  In addition, the Business Services Division receives and approves articles of incorporation for Ohio business entities and grants licenses to out-of-state corporations seeking to do business in Ohio.  Limited partnerships and limited liability companies also file with the Secretary of State’s Office.  The Corporations Section of the Business Services Division approves and keeps a registry of business names, names and addresses of statutory agents, incorporators’ names, corporations’ charter numbers, dates of incorporation, and the number of authorized shares per corporation.

    To learn more about how to properly file your business in Ohio or update your business’ records, contact the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division.

    As new businesses funnel through the Secretary of State’s system, an overarching goal is to use it as an opportunity to connect the business community with a menu of services related to topics such as access to capital, mentorships, MBE and WBE certifications, etc.

    Last week’s small business meeting also highlighted a recent tax analysis that was commissioned by GCP and remarks were also heard from Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish related to investing in entrepreneurship and inclusive innovation.

    Want to learn more about some of the specific resources available to your business?  Visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s business central resource page here.

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  • Next up: Online Marketing: Lessons from a Google Leader

    Online Marketing: Lessons from a Google Leader

    We all know Google is where it’s at when it comes to finding a business to fulfill a need. Make sure your business takes advantage of the many online marketing services—most of them free—that Google has to offer.

    During a breakout session at this year’s BizConCLE, attendees heard some lessons from Google Digital Coach Angelina Darrisaw Cheeks about online marketing from the perspective of a Google leader.

    We live our lives in moments. We come to Google to search for something in the moment we need it, whether it’s a recipe, directions, a 25th anniversary gift or a zillion other things we might want to know.

    With Google, business owners have the opportunity to connect with customers in the moment they need something. If your business doesn’t come up in that search, then it’s harder for potential customers to take action with your business.

    Here are three keys to connecting with customers.

    Key to Connecting No. 1: If you have a brick and mortar shop, reach customers where they are.

    Smart phones know your location and are usually tracking where you are. You need to make sure your business shows up around people who have an intent with your business. These are referred to as “near me” searches—allowing potential consumers to see the locations of businesses that meet their needs. People rarely scroll past page two, so it is crucial your business shows up in the first page of search results.

    Here are some ways Google can help you improve where you appear in search results:

    Verify your business on Google My Business. You’ll receive a free business listing and have access to helpful analytics, among other things.

    Collect reviews from happy customers. Once you verify your business, you will be permitted to respond to reviews posted about your business. Responding to reviews, especially ones that are negative, shows you care and you’re responsive.  

    Hire a Google Trusted Photographer. A professional will take pictures of your business to go along with your verified business description. We are living in a visual world—show people what the experience will look like when they come into your business.

    Take advantage of other Google services. These include the ability to feature special hours, engage with customers through messaging and share unique information about you or your company, thus enabling you to differentiate your business in a crowded online space.

    Key to Connecting No. 2: Be accessible across all streams, platforms and devices.

    People tend to start their journey on one device and finish it somewhere else, so it’s important that you show up for your users across all devices and know how to talk to your audience on all platforms.

    Keep it fresh. Regularly refresh your website content. Doing so will not only show you’re an active business, but it also will improve your presence in Google search results.

    Provide value. Make sure you are providing useful, powerful and engaging content. One way to offer valuable information on your site is by offering tutorials to convey your expertise in your particular industry.

    Email is still king. Platforms change, social media changes—but emails rarely change. Part of your marketing strategy needs to be a robust e-marketing tactics. When you have the opportunity to appear in someone’s inbox, you have the chance for a direct conversation with them. So instead of focusing fully on social media, as many business owners tend to do, build your base using email as a tried and true method of communicating and solidifying loyalty.

    Analyze the results. When assessing how well your approach is working, do not merely focus on vanity metrics such as how many people open your email or follow you on Facebook. The clickthrough rate from your e-newsletter to your website is a better measurement of how successfully your message got through to your readers. Take into consideration these guidelines:

    • Have a clear subject line
    • Thoroughly proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes
    • Provide content that’s useful and engaging
    • Create content that’s shareable
    • Use qualitative data based on what your customers are constantly asking you questions about

    Key to Connecting No. 3: Use other valuable Google tools to grow your business.

    Google provides myriad other tools that can help to better your business.

    Google Search Console. This program is comprised of tools and reports to help you measure your site's search traffic and performance, fix issues and make your site shine in Google search results. It can tell you what queries people are using so you can insert those key words more often throughout your site.

    Testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. Most sites lose half their visitors while they are waiting for the sites to load. This service allows you to test your mobile speed and provides you with an assessment of your site versus those of your competitors. It can give you a sense of your load time on mobile devices and how you can improve that time.

    Google Ads. Specifically, Google Ads Smart Campaign is designed for small business owners. Using this service can help you identify what information is important to turn potential customers into actual customers. Keep in mind that one ad can’t accomplish everything. The benefit of using digital ads is that, while you will be more specific in the reach and engagement will be higher and the cost will be lower.

    Consider the following guidelines when using Google Ads:

    • Don’t put too much information into one ad
    • Tell your audience what you want them to do and what you have to offer in a clear way
    • Don’t just list your business name and its tagline or logo
    • Think of ad copy as a promise you are making to your customer
    • Hyperlink to the exact URL you want to direct people to; this is the first step in delivering on your promise
    • Google Trends. While this program isn’t specific to your website, it can give you a deeper understanding of trending key words to put on your site and to feature in your marketing pieces and other promotional materials. Trends change, especially as the seasons change—you need to maximize on what’s trending and capitalize on what’s in style based on your industry.

    BizConCLE is just one of the many events hosted by COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership each year to help give businesses the education and resources needed to succeed. Click here for a list of upcoming events that can help your company grow, too.

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  • Next up: At a Time of Economic Adversity, Place-Based Immigration Can Help Great Lakes Recover

    At a Time of Economic Adversity, Place-Based Immigration Can Help Great Lakes Recover


    The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) is urging policymakers to consider place-based immigration policies as a path to economic recovery in response to new H-1B rules introduced this month by the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security. The new rules, which set higher prevailing wage rates and narrow the definition of specialty occupations, threaten to make the visa program nearly unworkable for employers seeking to fill key positions. 

    A federal placed-based visa program will help the region attract and retain talented workers and entrepreneurs, a top priority of the businesses represented by the GLMCC. The program would allow immigrants to compete on the open labor market in designated areas of the country experiencing consistent demographic decline, a weakened local economy, and a widening skills gap. It would also be contingent upon maintaining employment or starting a business, in contrast to the employer sponsorship model used for H-1B visas.

    Research has shown that immigrants strengthen key industries such as healthcare and manufacturing; offset population decline; and start new businesses that create jobs, increase the tax base, and encourage spending that drives local growth—components critical to regional recovery. So while Great Lakes communities are facing potentially deeper and extended impacts from the COVID-19-induced recession, a place-based approach to immigration policy could offer relief by infusing talent in low-growth areas to help reverse demographic decline and revitalize local economies.

    GCP serves as a leading member of the GLMCC. To learn more about the coalition’s place-based immigration proposal, click here.

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  • Next up: Preparing for a Virtual Matchmaker

    Preparing for a Virtual Matchmaker

    A matchmaker is a great opportunity to network and pitch your capabilities to prospective government buyers. A virtual matchmaker means you can now do this from the comfort of your home.

    In this webinar, Joseph Scott of YSU PTAC and Larry Brown of OU PTAC review how to present yourself virtually while incorporating traditional matchmaker strategies to optimize your meetings during the event.

    Watch the full webinar below:


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