Preparation is the key to withstanding unforeseen emergencies that could jeopardize a business. The following list of resources contain information that can help businesses prepare for emergencies and disasters:
One-time Liquor Buyback:
The Ohio Department of Commerce will immediately begin offering a one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants. This will especially aid those establishments that have stocked up on high-proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick's Day holiday for which they now have no use, due to their closure to in-house patrons.
Bars and restaurants wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should return their unopened, high-proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. If a business has questions about this program, they should reach out directly to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) at 1(877)812-0013 or by emailing OhioLiquorInfo@Com.Ohio.gov.
SharedWork Ohio is an alternative to layoffs for employers. It allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain their staff during times of reduced business activity. Under a SharedWork Ohio plan, employers reduce hours to avert a layoff. The participating employee works the reduced hours, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services provides an unemployment insurance benefit proportionate to their reduced hours.
Interested employers should provide the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services with a list of participating employees and specify their normal weekly hours of work, not to exceed 40 hours and not including overtime. Part-time employees may be eligible, but all employees in an affected unit must have their hours reduced by the same reduction percentage. For more information, please visit JFS.Ohio.gov/SharedWorkOhio.
cDear Chamber Members –
We are indeed in unprecedented times - as a community, state, nation, and world. Our Defiance Area Chamber of Commerce is monitoring the news and advice/restrictions put in place by the Ohio Governor’s Office and Center for Disease Control (CDC), and we recommend that you do the same.
For your reference, we have compiled the links below for information purposes and assistance. These include help for small businesses, employees, and citizens in general. I urge you to click the links to review the information and stay informed. As always, but especially now, the basics of effective hand washing and common sense must prevail.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as we receive them.
COVID-19 Updates and Resources
Ohio Small Business Development Centers: Click Here for More Information
The Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus Page: Click Here for More Information
Pandemic Planning for Small Businesses: Click Here for More Information
Defiance County Health Department: Click Here for More Information
Centers of Disease Control and Prevention: Resources for Businesses and Employers
Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH
Do you want to learn how to get audiences to tweet, like and share your content? Of course you do! But it takes more than simply uploading or posting and hoping for the best. It’s about sharing content that makes people care -- content that makes people want to share your message with their network.
More and more people are connecting on social media and blogs. This means there are larger opportunities to promote your business. It also means that there’s more competition to stand out amongst a sea of information.
The good news -- you can use proven methods to connect with people. Crafting content that people care about begins with understanding what motivates people. Let’s take a look at five psychology-based principles you can start using.
1. Use stories to connect emotionally.
In the New York Times bestseller Made To Stick, authors Chip and Dan Heath share research that reveals we’re more likely to donate when we hear the story of an individual in need rather than data about an entire impoverished area.
Even though an entire area’s suffering impacts more people than the suffering of one person, the individual’s story is appealing because we feel emotions from hearing someone’s experiences, rather than learning about raw data. People connect through hearing stories, not statistics and abstract information.
To apply this principle, you should tell a story to reach your audience’s emotions. Your content can impact audiences and remain memorable if you share a personal experience, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. By creating a personal journey that people can follow, your brand can create a greater emotional impact on your viewers.
2. Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Showing people how they benefit from following your brand will get you increased engagement from your audiences. For example, Taco Bell’s Twitter feed is known for its witty and interactive tweets. Most importantly, the people behind Taco Bell’s Twitter account know how to make their content shareable.
The brand’s tongue-in-cheek humor inspires brand loyalty and helps make the franchise relatable. Taco Bell’s promotional strategy shows that captivating the audience starts with thinking about what the audience wants, first and foremost.
So the next time you promote your business, think about and listen to how people react to your message. Are you catering to their needs and their emotions? Their feedback can be used to create targeted messages.
3. Provide social proof.
These days, reviews and testimonials on products and services are available at the click of a button. People rely heavily on the opinions of others when they make decisions.
Supplied by 10 local chambers across the U.S.
This post was written by Ken Tucker, owner and founder of Changescape Web.
When it comes to marketing, nothing beats a quality referral from a trusted source. Developing a strong referral program is vital for many businesses. Increasingly, online reviews can play a very important part in a vibrant referral program.
We all have experienced the power of a referral, whether it is for our business or from our personal experiences for products and services that we needed.
Referral Marketing is Important
I’ve worked with many small businesses that join business networking groups to build a referral network. I’ve done this for my business too – I am currently a member of several local chambers, and I’m also a member of a local Business Network International (BNI) chapter. Let’s be honest, most of us join these groups for the networking and ultimately the referrals that we hope will come.
While these networking groups can be a great source of referrals, I think that many businesses miss a big opportunity by not developing a formal referral marketing program. It is important to take control of the referral marketing process as it is arguably the most important marketing program that many small businesses can develop. And even if a business has developed a robust referral marketing program, there is a component that many businesses miss – incorporating and owning the online review process.
John Jantsch has written an excellent book on referral marketing – The Referral Engine – that does a fantastic job of laying out several referral techniques. I encourage people to read this book and think about how they can use it for their business.
I want to focus on how online reviews can be a powerful addition to a referral marketing program.
Online Reviews Are Trusted
Increasingly, online reviews are playing an important role in not only helping be found online but being seen as a trusted business. Keep in mind that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal referrals. These personal referrals include recommendations from family and friends!
Online reviews are read by nearly everyone who uses the internet. According to Adweek, 81% of customers conduct research online before buying from a company. For certain industries like restaurants or retail, 93% of U.S. consumers check online reviews at least some of the time.
Strong Online Reviews Don’t Just Happen
If a business does not take control of the online review process, a couple of things typically happen – neither are good for the business:
Reviews skew to the negative – good reviews are almost under-represented.
No reviews – if a potential customer finds your business on your Google My Business page, or Yelp, or other important review-oriented sites, and they don’t see any reviews that also says things about your business.
If you don’t own the review process, and make it a habit of asking satisfied customers to write reviews about your business, your online reputation may be less than impressive. People are often more motivated to write a negative review.
Online Reviews Help With Local SEO
Online review sites are really important for local search engine optimization. Local SEO is triggered by many searches on a mobile device or by searches that include a product or service in the search phrase along with a location. An example would be “Home Remodeler St Charles MO”.
Having several strong reviews on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and industry specific sites like Zillow (for realtors), Avvo (for Attorneys), HealthGrades (for Medical Professionals), and Houzz (Home Remodelers and Interior Designers) can make your business findable. It is not uncommon that your business listing on one of these review sites might show up higher in the search results than your website.
Some businesses are concerned that if their customers write online reviews for their business that it will make it easy for a competitor to poach their customers. But it is far riskier if there’s no information, or luke warm to poor reviews, out there about your business or about what it’s like to be your customer. Invisibility is a worse problem.
Taking Your Online Review Process to the Next Step…
Hopefully you agree that online reviews are important. Now how can you take these to the next step and strengthen the referral marketing aspect of online reviews?
First, make it as easy as possible for happy customers to write reviews about your business by creating a review funnel that makes sure their reviews are on the most important review sites for your business. Satisfied customers are willing to write reviews if you ask them, and you make it easy and convenient for them.
Turn your customers into advocates. One of the important tenants of developing a strong referral program is educating your champions. Your customers can be some of your biggest champions, so consider educating them on what is important for your business. Ask for authentic but specific reviews about your business that will help you attract your ideal customers.
An educated customer is often a better customer. Spend time with them to understand their problems, explain your processes, why you are different, and what value you bring. This will all translate into information that your customers can use to write those online reviews – or when talking with friends and family.
Nothing beats the power of a personal referral. But online reviews can serve as a strong second with the added benefit of helping people find out about your business 24-7-365. Your referral partners are always available with someone has the must have or must do need, but with a strong online review management program you can! Consider adding a customer online review component to your referral marketing program.
Written by: Dave Hyslop, Bowling Green State University
A recent focus on achieving organizational success involves using strategies that build a "learning culture" within an organization. This new approach expands the traditional role of training and development and focuses on how an organization can create and sustain continuous improvement, with a commitment to excellence as both a goal and a process. Becoming a learning organization requires a focus on the future--how to sustain past successes and how to improve. Some of the important characteristics that describe a learning organization include:
Within each of the characteristics is the opportunity to create and implement training and development activities that, in large part, builds the learning culture.
By creating and implementing goals and practices reflecting those of a learning organization, a significant number of benefits can be achieved. For example, a much greater sense of vision, purpose, and direction can be developed among employees with the result of greater job satisfaction and performance, both in effectiveness and efficiency. Further, the level and quality of communication at all levels can be positively impacted, creating a more open, purposeful, and collaborative environment which can enhance employee engagement and their sense of belonging.
Another potential benefit to be achieved is centered in the development of employee skills and competencies, thus enabling them to broaden their performance capabilities and enhance their ability to perform in positions of higher responsibilities. A foundation for all of these benefits is their focus on being intrinsic in nature, widely respected and accepted as key benefits to maximize employee motivation and productivity.
To achieve the goal of becoming a learning organization, a number of organizational activities should be reviewed and, to some extent, changed to reflect this goal. As a first step, a review of core organizational documents/expectations (mission and vision statements, core values, operational goals) should be completed to ensure they support and enhance the organization's commitment to excellence and the other characteristics of a learning organization. Another focus of possible change for alignment is through reviewing current performance expectations (e.g., job descriptions, performance appraisal documents, individual employee goals) to see if they are directed toward achieving excellence in the goals achieved by employees. A further important focus centers on examining the current organizational beliefs regarding achieving high performance among employees, and in providing ongoing opportunities for training and development, both as part of an employee's current position or for their career development. Documents and practices to review in this area can include the use of:
Driving Forces to Achieve Success
As with most organizational initiatives, the ability and likelihood of achieving the goal of being a learning organization will rest on the values and commitment of senior leaders within the organization. Their leadership in creating and implementing a supportive climate and related practices is a primary driving force in this process, and their role in having other leaders buy into being committed to the strategies that support the learning culture is invaluable!
Written by: Jason Averbook, CEO at The Marcus Buckingham Company
As we enter 2016, we continually hear and actually feel based on the new workforce tools, continuous emails and ongoing dialog with our managers and team leaders about new opportunities to learn and other ways to engage in what is happening at work. I was fascinated, though not surprised, to see a recent infographic from Bersin by Deloitte about the "Modern Learner" . A few key takeaways for me that I think are brutally relevant to the entire HR technology space in 2016 I will highlight below:
1) 1% of a typical workweek is all that employees have to focus on training and development
For more information go to https://theea.org/
Electric: From January 8 to April 23, the market has traded in a fairly consistent price range. Front-month natural gas prices have fallen approximately 11% while the 12-month strip has experienced an approximate 6% decrease. In turn, front year 2015 wholesale power prices have fallen roughly 1%. Future wholesale pricing has also experienced small declines as both 2016 and 2017 pricing have fallen 1% while 2018 and 2019 pricing has experienced slightly less than a 1% drop. To reiterate a past point, once the initial fear of a sustained frigid winter was gone, focus was shifted to the strong fundamentals currently in the marketplace which in turn provided much more stability with regards to price volatility. As the summer months approach, prices in the electric market will start to creep upward as demand is typically higher during this timeframe.
If you would like Chamber Energy Solutions to review your electric bill, please contact the Chamber or your CES consultant.
If you are an Ohio State Fund private employer, you have already paid your Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) premiums that were due on March 2, 2015. If so, you have made your last “6 month in arrears” payment to BWC. Now we are embarking on a journey whereby the BWC will be transitioning to a prospective, “in advance” billing system.
In the past, BWC has sent a payroll report requiring you to write in your actual premium from the prior six month period, multiply by the rate on the bill and pay the indicated premium. For the January 1, 2015 – June 30, 2015 period you will receive the same report (in July 2015) but will only need to report the payroll and multiply by the rate, but not pay that premium.
The Move to Prospective – Raise the Anchor, Full Steam Ahead!
In May 2015 BWC will report the estimated premium that they will be billing you for the 7/1/2015 – 6/30/2016 period. This estimate will be based on the historical payroll you reported (7/1/2013 – 6/30/2014) applied to your new rates for July 1, 2015, including any group rating discounts you have earned, as available through the Defiance Area Chamber of Commerce and V & A Risk Services. This annual premium will be broken down into 6 equal payments. As part of the transition credit, BWC will forgive the first payment for the 7/1/15 – 8/31/15 period.
Your first prospective payment will be due to BWC by 8/31/15. That payment will forward your coverage from 9/1/15 through 10/31/15. Consequently, by 10/31/15 you will make a payment that will forward your coverage from 11/1/15 through 12/31/15. Rinse and repeat.
BWC will be requiring all employers to go online by 8/15/16 & “true-up” their payroll. That means reporting what you actually had in payroll from 7/1/15 – 6/30/16 and paying any shortage in premiums during the past year. If you overpaid premiums, BWC will issue a credit.
If you are like me, a visual display of this would be helpful. To see a full color timeline that we developed to help employers understand this transition, click here.
BWC will reward employers with a 10% average decrease in July 1, 2015 rates, of which 2% is attributed to the move to prospective billing.
Look for future updates here as there is never a dull moment in Ohio Workers’ Compensation!
Ken Finley is a Sr. Rate Analyst for V & A Risk Services which provides eligible Defiance area employers with discounted BWC premiums through the DACC Group Rating Program. To discover how much you can save, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your BWC policy number and contact information.