You’re the Face of Your Business – Don’t Sabotage It

business (10)It’s completely baffling why many small business owners are such poor representatives of their own companies, often to its detriment.  Conventional wisdom says the owner is the best spokesman for the business; no one cares about it and its success as much as he does.  After all, he’s put the money, sweat equity and time into making it a success.  Right?

Wrong, he commonly hasn’t learned the lesson — you’re the face of the business, be a good one.  “Learned the lesson” is the important take away, because the ability to effectively promote your business is an acquired skill.  We aren’t born with the skills needed to successfully market ourselves and our businesses.  Stop being your own worst advertisement; you can learn to do better and here are 3 good places to start.

Learn to listen

Very few people have the natural talent to be a good listener, and your probably not one of them.  Good listeners are rare and people who have this skill are perceived as capable, well-informed, smart and trustworthy.  If you’re seen this way then, via the halo effect, your business’s culture will be too.

Learn to ask good questions

This is the companion to learning to listen.  One of the fastest ways to develop rapport with someone is to ask them questions, not talk to or at them.  The ability to ask good, open ended questions conveys interest in the other person’s opinions, needs and wants — everything you want people to associate with your business. 

Learn to give a great elevator speech

Delivering a great elevator speech is a difficult talent to master.  You want to communicate who you (and your business) are, what you do and why it’s important in a very short time.  Commonly, people who are uncomfortable with elevator speeches appear too overbearing and “salesmanish” or apologetic and meek.  They also can be confusing and uninteresting.  None of these impressions are ones you want associated with your company.

Becoming the positive, accomplished face of your business takes the willingness to learn and practice.  Yes, you have to get out of your comfort zone, but the alternative — sabotaging your own hard work — is ridiculous.  A final bonus (incentive) is that these skills are applicable anytime, anywhere.  Once you’ve become good at them, they’ll also improve your personal relationships.

Ohio Business News and other Stories

business (5)News about  Ohio’s small business and personal income tax deductions have been updated and are found at the Ohio’s department of taxation website.  If you are not sure what deductions to take or your business is allowed to take you must contact your tax advisor for information about it to make sure that you have indeed all correct information.  For more news about Ohio follow the links below.

Kasich Plans Small-Business Swing To 3 Ohio Cities 

HAMILTON, Ohio – Ohio’s governor will focus on small businesses in a swing through three western Ohio cities.

Gov. John Kasich has Tuesday stops in Hamilton, the Dayton area and Tipp City. The Republican is seeking re-election this November. He will begin the day at Hamilton Caster, a business that makes casters, industrial wheels and other products and dates back more than a century in the Butler County seat.

A campaign announcement with the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio is planned there. The small business association recently announced its endorsement of Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine’s re-election.Kasich also plans to meet with owners and patrons at a Dayton-area bowling alley, followed by a small-business panel discussion in Tipp City.

Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is challenging Kasich this fall.

Ohio ~ Personal Income Tax: Small Business Deduction Discussed

The Ohio Department of Taxation (DOT) has updated its web page dedicated to the small business personal income tax deduction. The DOT notes that virtually all small businesses in Ohio are now eligible for a 50% tax deduction on the first $250,000 of business income.

The DOT reminds taxpayers that the small business deduction enables a business owner to deduct 50% of Ohio net business income from the adjusted gross income they report on their Ohio personal income tax return. If the business has multiple owners, each is eligible to claim the deduction. The 50% deduction is available on up to $250,000 in business income, meaning the deduction is capped at $125,000 for each investor or owner.

For taxable year 2014 only, the small business investor income deduction will increase to 75% of a taxpayer’s small business income of up to $250,000. The deduction will be limited to $187,500 for individuals with a filing status of married filing jointly or single. For individuals with a filing status of married filing separately, $125,000 is the maximum income subject to deduction which allows for a deduction of up to $93,750. The DOT notes that at this time, the temporary increase in this income tax deduction is authorized for tax year 2014 only.

Ohio’s candidates for governor cite favorite statistics on economy 

Go to any speech by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and you are guaranteed to hear how the state has gained 250,000 private-sector jobs since he became governor, compared with the 350,000 lost under his Democratic predecessor.

Democrats will point out that job growth began during the final part of Gov. Ted Strickland’s term: Ohio’s national ranking was better in the Democrat’s last year than in Kasich’s past year.

Both contentions are true. That’s the challenge of comparing economic plans: Since both sides know that employment is easily the top issue among Ohio voters, the political handlers furiously churn out a whirlwind of statistics to make the case for their guy.

Marketing Tips and Tools you Must Know About

business (4)The Ohio Small Business Development Center offers great advice and solutions for those entrepreneurs wanting to start a business in the state of Ohio.  From the planning stage to filing legal forms and permits the center offer steps, forms, phone numbers and links to the web sites you may need to begin your journey.  For the marketing and other tools you may need to compete with the big guys, here we offer you articles that can offer you solutions to some of your business decisions for now and in the future.

6 Marketing Ideas Small Businesses Can Learn From Big Brands

Marketing veteran Rob Schuham spends a lot of time encouraging big brands to act like small companies. Be nimble, he advises, be creative, be agile. Take a risk, he tells them, and act like a startup.

And when major clients on his roster at Denver-based Match Action Marketing have listened to his counsel, they’ve backed some groundbreaking campaigns that are instructive not only for their Fortune 100 brethren, but to the little guys, as well.

“If you get a marketing program right, you can set a category on its head,” said Schuham, CEO of Match Action. “The big guys have scale, so they can be kind of a beta test for innovative marketing. Small companies can find useful data points and adapt some of those tactics for their own purposes.”

Three tools every small business can’t do without

Technology can make or break a small business, both at launch and when success has it scaling up. Here are three-must haves to ensure professionalism, maximize productivity, build market share and save money for businesses with 1-10 employees.


The phone is still the most common way that your customers, partners and suppliers will communicate with you, so don’t cut corners. But don’t spend more than you have to, either.

For starters, get a dedicated business number. There are services that offer a free basic phone number, or, based on your business needs, you can get a low-cost monthly subscription virtual PBX service, like Cloud Phone, that allows you to get a toll-free or local number with more advanced business features, such as ability to add employee extensions.

Next, decide whether your employees really need deskphones or whether tablets and smartphones are a better fit for their work styles. If it’s the latter, eliminating deskphones can easily save a couple hundred bucks up front in hardware, plus $30 or more per month per employee in service fees. Those savings are a major reason why so many businesses are ditching deskphones in favor of VoIP softphones on tablets, smartphones and laptops.

Why Your Content Isn’t Going Viral (Infographic)

You wrote a kick-butt blog post.

You worked for days on that video.

You stretched all of your graphic design muscles to make an infographic.

And no one shared any of it.

Ouch. You have good content, but it just can’t seem to get any shares.

It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Who Is Hosting This has  an infographic that explains why your content won’t go viral, and how you can make it do so next time. Here are a couple of the infographic’s tips:

1. Appeal to emotions.

New Government Contracts Land In Ohio

business (6)The economy seems to show signs of recovery some analysts suggest but, others are not as optimistic as they are, and yesterday the Dow Jones fell nearly 130 points, along with S&P and Nasdaq which lost more than 1% each.

Certainly the economy shows its ups and downs and the stock market as well, and  although the Akron area has seen the loss of hundreds of jobs, other parts of Ohio are getting government contracts that should help the local economy. Below are two articles concerning the Ohio economy and one about small business news. Follow the links to read more about them.

Ohio company lands VA small business program work

After abruptly ending a three-year contract, the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded two task orders to meet the requirements of its veteran-owned small business program.

Despite the quick contract transition, verification of service-disabled, veteran owned small businesses didn’t miss a beat, the program’s chief told me.

As I reported Nov. 27, the VA allowed a contract with Alexandria-based Ardelle Associates to end Dec. 2 without an alternative in place for processing and verifying contractor applications, which in turn would allow them to be able to compete for work set aside by the VA.

The agency kicked off a competition during the Thanksgiving holiday and has apparently decided on this approach: split the work into two.

Both task orders were awarded to Monterey Consultants Inc. of Dayton, Ohio — one providing support for the Office of Small And Disadvantaged Business Utilization, and the other VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise. The latter includes the application processing. The two task ordes were worth $1.08 million and $2.26 million respectively.

Business news briefs: Giant Eagle acquires Cleveland pharmacy company

O’Hara-based Giant Eagle Inc. has acquired Cleveland-based Rx21 Specialty Pharmacy, which specializes in medications used for complex treatment regimens for cancer, hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis, among others. With the acquisition, Giant Eagle officials say pharmacy customers receiving these treatments now have 24-hour access to a pharmacist for consultations. Terms of the deal were not released.

CBIZ Small Business Employment Index Rises

The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), a barometer for hiring trends that surveys data from 3,500 companies with 300 or fewer employees, increased by .52 percent during November following a decrease of .42 percent during October.

Wednesday’s ADP’s November survey revealed that the private sector added 215,000 jobs during the month, which is the strongest job growth reported this year. In addition, October’s revised tally is 184,000 jobs created, after 130,000 new jobs were reported initially.

“Approaching the holiday shopping season with optimism, we know that retailers spent the month stocking shelves. A small increase in the SBEI seems to indicate that, by and large, smaller retail shops performed those tasks with only minimal hiring. Although the reading was less than what we had hoped for, it was better than three of the last four November reports,” shares Philip Noftsinger, business unit president for CBIZ Payroll Services. “There are mixed economic signals in the numbers right now, but most retailers seemed to be optimistic about this holiday season,” he continues.

New GOP Tax Plan

business (1)From the best cities to have a business, to the new GOP tax plan, we bring you information that as a small or big business owner should be of interest to you. Under the GOP tax plan, the state will decrease the means for many of the agencies and services that are supported by property taxes, including but not limited to libraries, mental health services, health districts, and senior services. Follow the links below for the complete articles.

Homeowners, small businesses and low-income Ohioans to fund new GOP tax plan

According to the Columbus Dispatch, GOP leaders will today unveil a new tax plan that preserves the $1.4 billion cut in taxes for business owners and investors, but adds an income tax cut, paid for by increasing sales taxes, taxing more small businesses and eliminating tax relief for homeowners.

In order to pay for an 8% across-the-board reduction in Ohio’s income tax –  a cut that will disproportionately help the wealthy – the plan to be rolled out this afternoon would:

  • raise the sales tax by 0.25%
  • expand the pool of businesses subject to the state’s commercial activity tax (by lowering from $1 million to $500,000 the amount of revenue a business can have before they pay the tax)
  • eliminate the state’s 12.5% contribution to property taxes for future levies

Tax Breaks Every Small Business Needs to Know About

Small businesses often get touted as the backbone of our economy—they create jobs, spur growth and lead to innovation. When the financial crisis hit in 2007 and led to the Great Recession, small businesses took a hit-consumer spending dropped and they stopped hiring. Many small businesses were forced to shutter.

To help reignited small businesses, the Obama Administration launched a series of tax cuts and credits to help shore up balance sheets and entice more spending and hiring.

Some of the tax breaks Obama provided have expired but here is a listing of the remainder:

Read more by following the link above.

Best and worst cities for small business workers

Jobs growth on Main Street—a traditional driver of past U.S. economic recoveries—so far has been largely stagnant.

Faced with challenges, from taxes to anticipated rising health-care costs, many small-business owners remain in a holding pattern. They’re not making substantial spending decisions, including hiring.

Given small employers’ role in the broader economy, CardHub, a website for credit card, financial and jobs advice, has released a new ranking of the best and worst American cities for mall-business workers and job seekers.

Ohio Business News

business (2)With this post we bring you the latest news on what is happening in Ohio.

Internet cafés declared ‘illegal businesses’ in Ohio

Having solved all of the state’s other problems, the Ohio legislature has passed a bill outlawing that most foul of societal ills: the internet café.

As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, House Bill 7, which passed the State Senate with a bipartisan vote of 27 to 6 on Wednesday, effectively cuts off the main source of income for Ohio’s internet cafés and is expected to put most of them out of business.

A. Schulman plans more restructuring actions overseas

Fairlawn-based A. Schulman Inc. has announced more restructuring plans, including more staff cuts, in its Europe, Middle East and Africa region due to the economic climate in Europe.

It also said it plans to sell a business in Australia.

The maker of plastic resins said the additional restructuring in Europe is expected to generate approximately $4 million in annual savings.

Energy efficiency fund to offer financing in Ohio

A new fund introduced in Ohio will mean dollars saved for small businesses and landlords alike, as well as greener buildings for businesses that otherwise have trouble finding the funding.

Efficiency in the Workplace

business (7)Today’s news is all about efficiency in the workplace.  It is no surprise to anyone that businesses have to implement procedures in the workplace to boost the efficiency of their work force.  Although the steps to get there are varied and are not in any way exclusive to all businesses, efficiency in the workplace can be the difference between a successful business and a mediocre one.

Define Your Organization’s Habits to Work More Efficiently

We don’t often think about the way we usually operate at work, whether we’re performing an informal five-step process for evaluating a new proposal, or setting priorities for managing our time. But our ability to improve the ways we do things depends on defining and shaping our daily habits of mind and practice — our “standard work.”

Be flexible – and boost your efficiency

Against the backdrop of a tough economic climate, many small business owners are feeling the strain and working harder than ever. We conducted some research to find out the real pressures that Britain’s small businesses are currently facing. Turns out, it’s pretty tough out there.

Fiscal Efficiency Not A Priority in Ohio Schools

Ohio’s school districts spend about a third more on their bureaucracies than the national average.

As a percentage of the budget, Ohio schools spend more on bureaucracy than 47 other states, as reported in “The Book of the States 2012.” Statewide, Ohio’s schools spend a total of 13.2 percent of their budgets on administration, compared to the national average of 10.8 percent.

Oil Dreams Fade in Ohio

These are some of the news for Ohio that is making headlines.

In Ohio, Oil Dreams fade amid ‘disappointing’ drilling results

FRACKING: Optimism over an Ohio oil boom fades  as drilling companies sell off leases after disappointing early results: “It’s not as good as we thought it was going to be.”

Ohio Utica Shale oil dreams fade as drillers pack up

U.S. drillers that set up rigs amid the rolling farmland of eastern Ohio on projections underground shale held US$500-billion of oil are packing up.

A homegrown revival of the rubber industry in northeast Ohio 

In a typical week, the show will cover not only all the big news stories, but also the stories behind the stories, or some of the less crucial but equally intriguing things happening in the world.