Marketing Industry Report Findings

(Shared by Melissa Carter, Small Business Advisor, Small Business Development Center)

The Social Media Examiner recently released their Marketing Industry Report for 2018.  Here’s some findings small businesses can incorporate into their marketing mix.

  • 87% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Increased traffic was the second major benefit, with 78% reporting positive results.
  • Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were the top three platforms used by marketers
  • More than two-thirds of marketers (67%) chose Facebook as their most important platform
  • The ad platform most used by marketers is Facebook (72%), followed by Instagram (31%).

 

To view the complete report, click here.

What is GDPR?

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is one of the most significant and wide-ranging pieces of legislation passed relating to technology and the internet.

This regulation affects any entity (including websites) that processes EU citizens’ personal data. Whether or not you or your business is located in the EU, if you have EU site visitors, or if your marketing campaigns target EU citizens, this affects you. Under GDPR, companies will also need to give explicit notice when collecting the personal data of their customers.

To read more:

Or here:

 

Reaching High — Aerospace Business Matchmaker

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Export Assistance Network Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Save the Date for the Aerospace Business Matchmaker on July 17 and 18 at Ohio University.

Why should I attend the Aerospace Business Matchmaker?

  • Learn how to do business with NASA
  • Meet one-on-one with representatives from NASA Centers
  • Connect with Boeing, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, SAIC and more

For more information and to register, http://aerospacematchmaker.com/

New Start Up Business Guide to Bookkeeping

(Shared by Ryan Mapes, Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

By Bob Mason, Tax Buzz

When you embark on a new business venture, your focus is likely on the service or product that you’re providing, and not on the record-keeping responsibilities that come with the territory. Still, as nice as it would be to set aside things like general ledgers and accounting, they are an essential element of making your business a success, so it is important that you have a good grasp of the bookkeeping that needs to be done.

What Bookkeeping Tasks Need to be Completed?

Keeping good records serves a number of purposes. It lets you keep track of the health of your business at a glance. It also provides you with the data that you need to submit to the federal and state government every year at tax time. The more accurate and complete your financial records are, the better the information that will be available for both purposes.

Comprehensive bookkeeping will contain information about your revenues, your profits, and how much money is flowing out of your business for expenses, wages and other transactions.  Being able to easily extract this information will definitely prove to be a benefit – you just have to decide how to go about it. It is a responsibility that can be outsourced to a small business accountant, or you can take it on yourself. There are advantages to both strategies – it can take some time to learn the process, but keeping your own books will ensure that you are always aware of your business’ health. By the same token, letting a professional do the job will free you up to concentrate on what you do best and are most interested in.

Read more … 

Is Training Really Worth It?

(Written by Mick Whit, Business Development Specialist, OSU South Centers)

Different manufacturing companies and different philosophies when it comes to the importance of employee and workforce training. Some see it as a headache and only address training needs when there is a problem or when they are required to provide training to receive safety credit or are mandated in some way. Other companies are much more proactive. They are actively looking for ways to improve, inspire, increase productivity, and raise the overall level of knowledge and capability of their workers.

What kind of company are you? What kind of manger or supervisor are you?

If you are in doubt about the importance of training and improving the skill of you workforce take a look this article from Dan Wibbenmeyer at Swoosh Technologies and maybe you will see things differently.

6 Reasons Why Manufacturing Companies Train Their Employees

Ohio EPA Resource Guide for Businesses and Communities

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) provides several compliance, technical and financial assistance programs available to help Ohio communities and businesses with their environmental needs.  These services and relevant contact information are summarized in their “Resource Guide” which is available to view and download at:

http://epa.ohio.gov/Portals/29/documents/ocs/ResourceGuide.pdf

For questions about the guide, please contact Pejmaan Fallah at Pejmaan.Fallah@epa.ohio.gov or (614) 644-3666.

New Manufacturing Resource Available at the South Centers

(Shared by Ryan Mapes, Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

The Ohio State University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) was recently awarded a contract from the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to support the growth of small and medium sized manufacturing companies in the southeast region of Ohio. The contract establishes CDME as a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate for the State of Ohio in support of Ohio companies. CDME will partner with the Ohio State University South Centers Business Development team to implement services in the Southeast Ohio region.

The MEP at Ohio State will focus on providing value added CDME has a full-time engineering staff and is led by a team of former entrepreneurs and business owners who have successfully grown manufacturing and product innovation companies. The MEP program has access to CDME’s 40,000 square foot manufacturing space on the main Columbus campus, as well as most of the equipment in the broader Ohio State University landscape.

CDME MEP is primarily focused on new product development, product improvement, innovation, business development, lean manufacturing, and supply chain management.  The program assists companies in the central and southeast Ohio regions in the following manner:

  • Providing value-added engineering support for product development and innovation with an emphasis on design for manufacturing.
  • Commercialization support and partner opportunities with commercial OEMs.
  • Professional program management and industry-friendly contracts.
  • Proposal identification and development support for federal, state and commercial funding programs.
  • Access to the research capabilities and facilities of The Ohio State University and other State of Ohio research universities and federal laboratories.
  • Introduction to support partners in the CDME network (incubators, venture capital, supply chain partners, fortune 100 OEMS, etc).
  • Prototyping and small scale manufacturing of new products.
  • Access to highly motivated students with experiential learning looking to join innovative manufacturing companies upon graduation.

For more information, log onto https://cdme.osu.edu/

USDA Rural Development Business & Cooperative Programs

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Rural Development is pleased to announce important changes to the Business & Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program. These changes will better serve rural communities by helping lenders provide loans to businesses and helping to increase employment opportunities for rural residents. These changes include but are not limited to:

  • Removal of the U.S. Citizenship requirement for companies wanting to use the B&I loan guarantee to increase employment in rural areas.  The applicant company will need to demonstrate the loan funds will remain in the United States and will be invested in the rural community to create and retain employment opportunities.
  • Owner subordinated debt may be included as equity provided the debt was established in exchange for cash and the debt remains in the company for the life of the guaranteed loan. This change can help applicants meet the minimum tangible balance sheet equity requirements of the program. Minimum tangible balance sheet equity for an existing business is 10% while a startup business is 20%.  All financial statements must be prepared according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
  • New Market Tax Credit projects are now be eligible for assistance through the B&I program.  Subordinated debt made by the Community Development Entity can be considered as equity into a project.  This is another means of helping the business meet the minimum tangible balance sheet equity requirements.
  • The guarantee fee can be reduced to 1% of the guaranteed portion for businesses that support value added agriculture; promotes access to healthy foods; or is a high impact business development investment.
  • Loan guarantees can for agricultural production can be 50% or $5MM, whichever is less, of vertically integrated businesses. This is a substantial increase from the previous agricultural production maximum amount of $1,000,000.

Should you have any questions regarding these changes or if you would like additional information on the B&I Loan Guarantee Program, please contact one the Business Programs Staff listed below. We are willing to provide training or outreach on these new regulations should that be necessary to effectively implement this program within your organization.

Christie Hooks                   Christie.Hooks@oh.usda.gov       614-255-2397

Cindy Musshel                   Cindy.Musshel@oh.usda.gov       614-255-2427

Debbie Rausch                  Deborah.Rausch@oh.usda.gov    614-255-2425

Jennifer Brown                 Jennifer.Brown@oh.usda.gov      614-255-2423

Randy Monhemius           Randy.Monhemius@oh.usda.gov      614-255-2424

2018 Social Media Trends

(Written by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Last year I wrote a post about the trends and tips we would probably see for 2017.  Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year already!  Now’s time to update that list for 2018!

  1. Filters/Augmented Reality – You’ve already seen videos and pictures with filters on them changing your looks and voice.  But how should you incorporate it into your business?  Have your customers promote your business with a specific filter by taking a selfie in your store or with your product. Some individuals may be more willing to post a video about your product if they are behind a filter that changes their voice or face. SnapChat and Instagram are beginning to allow brands to create their own filters (they are costly now).
  2. Live – No it’s not going away! Livestreaming through Facebook or Instagram is no longer just for those cutting edge individuals and businesses. It’s an expectation now. People are more likely to watch a quick live video than to read an article (I know, you’ve just asked yourself, why didn’t she create a video for this article?)
  3. Instagram Stories – While I shared this last year as a new trend, this is another aspect of social media that is growing quickly. But why? It’s a quick video or picture that your brand can share which goes away in 24 hours. Stories are at the top of your Instagram app so users do not have to scroll through lots of pictures until they see your brand. Your business can utilize it to share a special deal, showcase a product, or show off a day in the life of your operation.  Use your Story to create a sense of urgency.
  4. Focus on Generation Z – This population is just starting the workforce and are gaining in purchasing power. According to RetailDive, Generation Z individuals are very influenced by social media and not as much about price. In marketing and communication, Gen Z wants videos, short content, and the ability to interact with businesses through Facebook Messenger or WeChat.
  5. Engagement – Customers want to share their experiences with a product or service. Engaged with your customers by thanking them for a review, create opportunities to interact with them through questions or live video, and offer ways for customer input.

Make time each week for social media marketing. It’s crucial for the growth and success of your business.