8 Reasons Your Business Credit Score Matters

(Shared by Amanda Walter, Business Intern with OSU South Centers)

By Kali Geldis, Nav

Most business owners are familiar with their personal credit scores. You’ve probably used your personal credit score to get credit cards, buy a home, or to rent an apartment. But now that you’ve started your business, you can start building a credit history that shows lenders your business is a good bet.

Business credit scores are similar to personal credit scores in many ways. Your business’s history of applying for credit, paying suppliers on time, and how you handle lines of credit or loans all factor into your business credit scores. That data is reported to business credit bureaus like Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. (You can check your business credit data for free every month at Nav.)

Here are some reasons why a business credit score matters – the doors it can open can be game changing for your company.

1. You can’t get some SBA loans without it.

2. You have more loan options once you establish a business credit history.

3. Other businesses use it to check up on you.

4. It helps you protect your personal credit.

5. It can save you money on financing.

6. It can help with cash-flow problems.

7. It can save you money on insurance premiums.

8. You can’t get trade credit with some big players without one.

To read the full article, follow this link.

 

Workplace hacks can streamline your day

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Advisor, OSU South Centers)

Life hacks are all the rage these days. Now Elle Kaplan of CNBC.com offers some work-specific hacks you can use to make your day more productive and pleasant:

  1. Email smarter.Make entering the recipient’s address the last thing you do so you can review what you write before you send it. The ability to reconsider a message written in haste or the heat of the moment can save you some regret.
  2. Keep a clean workspace.Kaplan cites a 2011 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience that found that multiple stimuli are taxing for your brain. Removing inessential or obsolete clutter from your immediate work environment can take a load off your brain. In other words, a clear and focused workspace might translate to a clear and focused mind.
  3. Arm yourself with healthy snack options.We all know that healthy snacks make more sense, but we also tend to go with what’s most easily available. Bring in some fruit, nuts, or energy bars at the beginning of each week so you’ll have them on hand when hunger hits.
  4. Learn to delegate.Taking on everything yourself will deplete your productivity. If you feel like you’re the only person who can handle a certain task, take the opportunity to teach someone else how to do it, too. You’ll increase your own productivity and protect the organization from being left in the lurch if you’re not available.
  5. Make yourself comfortable.Put ergonomic advances to work for you. Use back supports, wrist rests, and similar products to reduce the strain on your body.
  6. Ask questions.Kaplan notes that it can be impossible to solve some problems without asking the right questions, whether of an expert, a colleague, or even yourself. “What can I accomplish today that will have the biggest impact on my business?” “Who can I talk to today to help overcome the obstacle at hand?” Questions like these prepare you to have a clear intent and a resourceful perspective.
  7. Use colors.Scientists have found most people associate certain colors with certain qualities. For example, we usually connect green with growth and creativity. Incorporate color in your workspace to influence your moods and inspire yourself.
  8. Give your eyes a break.If your job requires you to spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen, follow the 20-20-20 Rule to reduce the resulting eye strain. Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away.

www.hr.blr.com

Strategies for direct marketing

(Shared by Amanda Walter, Business Intern with OSU South Centers)

Written by Tim Berry of Palo Alto Software

About Direct Marketing

As we discussed in Direct Marketing Fudamentals, direct marketing includes various approaches in which the producer of goods or services directly contacts the end-user. Direct marketing encompasses face-to-face selling, direct mail, catalogs, kiosks, telemarketing, and more. Regardless of the form you choose, there are some critical considerations.

Targeted Campaigns

The criteria for direct marketing begins with a reliable customer database. Other factors include offering greater customer value through a more customized and personalized approach for product and service offerings, distribution processes tailored to meet the needs of customers, and the opportunity to build customer loyalty.

One of the first criteria for direct marketing is to have a consistent customer profile available which describes the dominant target markets. This information must have sufficient detail to support a customer database.

For the rest of the article, please follow this link.

9 Tips for Effective Workplace Communication

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Advisor, OSU South Centers)

Effective communication is essential for both organizations and employees to thrive. College lays out several guidelines you can apply for better communications.

  1. Communicate face-to-face. Digital communication tools such as email and texts have become embedded in most businesses, but they have their downsides. Think about it—when you’re engaging in an in-person conversation, much of the communication comes from nonverbal cues like smiles and gestures. The absence of such cues can make it difficult to decipher the intended meaning in an email, so communicate in person if you can.
  2. Provide clear information. Much of workplace communication involves the passing of information, and inaccurate or ambiguous information can lead to confusion and mistakes. Take the time to ensure you are conveying correct information and in the right amount—neither too much nor too little.
  3. Use both verbal and nonverbal communication. Your verbal and nonverbal messages should correspond. Make sure your nonverbal gestures jibe with your words, and provide nonverbal feedback such as nodding when listening to the other person.
  4. Don’t just hear—listen. In other words, pay attention. To train yourself to listen better, paraphrase what you heard to show you’re listening and verify accuracy.
  5. Exercise diplomacy. If you think someone has misunderstood you, follow up with him or her promptly to preempt unnecessary resentment and loss of productivity. When handling conflicts, respond with an open mind and don’t resort to personal attacks.
  6. Avoid gossip. You must refrain from engaging when others gossip. Smile, and get back to work as quickly as possibly. You’ll earn your coworkers’ respect and gain credibility.
  7. Keep some boundaries. Don’t share too much personal information with your coworkers. You can be friendly while still being professional. You also should strive to control your emotions around colleagues to avoid creating a negative impression or making them wary of interacting with you.
  8. Avoid controversial topics. Similarly, you shouldn’t discuss controversial topics such as politics or religion in the workplace. You don’t want to risk offending anyone you see almost every day.
  9. Give positive feedback. Don’t be shy about recognizing your colleagues’ achievements. If a coworker does a good job, tell him or her.

www.hr.blr.com

6 Tips for Mothers on Starting a Business

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, OSU South Centers)

Written by: Purusha Rivera

Starting a business can be an exciting and sometimes intimidating prospect, especially when you’re a mom.

But more and more mothers are taking the plunge and pursuing their dreams of entrepreneurship. 11.6 million women in the U.S. own their own business—it’s actually the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs, so if you’re a mom with dreams of being self-employed or starting your own business, you’re in good company.

As you navigate the world of being a business owner and juggling the demands of home and family, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Avoid analysis paralysis
  • Know your limits and ask for help
  • Schedule family time on your calendar
  • Learn to work around the busy parts of your day
  • Limit other distractions
  • Take care of yourself

To read the full article, click here.

 

Get a Business Credit Card to Build Your Startup’s Credit

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, OSU South Centers)

Written by: Jacob Lunduski

Building business credit creates more financial opportunities for your business. Banks, lenders, and other suppliers all rely on business credit reports to assess the creditworthiness of your company.

According to the Small Business Administration, 46 percent of businesses used personal credit cards for business expenses. This statistic shows that many businesses fail to separate business and personal expenses, which is necessary to establish business credit.

Why should I use a business credit card instead of a personal credit card? Business credit acts as your business’s financial reputation. If you can borrow money as an individual, why go through the trouble of borrowing in the name of your business?

1. Business credit cards help separate personal and business finances

2. Business credit cards help establish a profile for your business

3. Business credit cards help build your business’s credit, as long as used with discipline

4. Business credit cards provide higher credit limits than personal credit cards

5. Business credit cards earn your business rewards

6. Business credit cards provide your business with certain benefits

To read the full article, click here.

10 Phishing Examples in 2017 that Targeted Small Business

(Shared by Amanda Walter, Business Intern with OSU South Centers)

Written by:  

Did you know 60 percent of small businesses that have been hacked go out of business within six months of the cyber-attack? With phishing scams on the rise, businesses need to be aware of the various attacks in circulation and how to be prepared if they fall victim to a malicious cyber-attack.

Phishing Examples

Take a look at the following ten phishing examples in 2017 that targeted small businesses.

The ‘Shipping Information’ Phishing Scam

In July this year, internet security company Comodo disclosed a new type of phishing scam specifically targeting small businesses. Phishing emails were sent out to more than 3,000 businesses, including the subject line ‘Shipping Information’.

The email noted a forthcoming delivery by United Parcel Service (UPS) and included a seemingly innocent package tracking link. When the recipient clicked on the link it contained malware, potentially releasing a virus.

WannaCry

On May 12, 2017, WannaCry exploited a weakness in Microsoft’s operating systems to deliberately infect computers. When the worm was infiltrated, it encrypted the infected operating systems, rendering them unusable. The hackers subsequently demanded a ransom for unlocking the encryption. Small businesses void of up-to-take IT infrastructure were particularly exposed to the WannaCry attack.

 

To read the full article, please follow this link.

10 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

(Shared by Amanda Walter, Business Intern with OSU South Centers)

Written By Shobhit Seth | Updated December 15, 2017 — 11:44 AM EST

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Here are 10 characteristics that set successful entrepreneurs apart:

  1. Passion and Motivation
  2. Not Afraid to Take Risks
  3. Self-belief, Hard Work and Disciplined Dedication
  4. Adaptable and Flexible
  5. Product and Market Knowledge
  6. Strong Money Management
  7. Effective Planning (Not Over-Planning) Skills
  8. The Right Connections
  9. Exit Preparedness
  10. Ability to Question Themselves – But Not Too Much

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Instead of worrying about fitting the image, check in with your gut. Is it on board?

To read the full article, follow this link.

Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation Offerings

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

The Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation (SOACDF) is again offering an opportunity for farmers in Southern Ohio.  The Young Farmer Agricultural Program is designed to facilitate growing an agricultural enterprise to the next level.  The intent of the program is to help promote and ensure a strong future in southern Ohio agriculture.  Eligible applicants must be ages 20 – 38 as of August 1, 2017 and must reside within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves.

The Agricultural Development Program is open to any individual who resides within the 22 counties the Foundation currently serves that have either a Farm Service Agency (FSA) number on record. It is very similar to the Young Farmer, however there is no age requirement.

SOACDF will award up grants in both of programs of up to $25,000 each.  The grants will be 50% cost shares with the awardees.

Applications, including a business plan, will be accepted for the programs throughout August. Applications will be available starting July 1st at the SOACDF office in Hillsboro, the local Farm Service Agency or online at www.soacdf.net.

SOACDF will hold informational meetings for First Hand Information:

  • Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. – Cherry Fork Community Center, SR 136, Cherry Fork

  • Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. – Southern Hills Career & Technical Center, Board of Education Building

 Hamer Rd, Georgetown

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. – C.H. McKenzie Ag Center, Jackson Pike, Gallipolis

The Business Development Network is available to meet with applicants to review components of their applications and business plan.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Jennifer Dunn at 740-289-1605.  Please call to schedule an appointment before August 13th.

 

CFAES Center for Cooperatives Launches Co-op Mastery

(Shared by Ivory Harlow, Program Specialist, CFAES Center for Cooperatives)

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives launched Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101, a new and innovative online training course designed to educate cooperative members, boards, management, employees, and students.

Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101 is made possible by a grant from the CHS Foundation 2017 Cooperative Education Grants Program. The training is housed in The Ohio State University’s public-facing online education platform. It is free and can be accessed online at go.osu.edu/coopmastery.

Caption: Co-op Mastery is a new online learning tool launched by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives.

“Co-op Mastery curriculum focuses on mid-level knowledge about the cooperative business model,” said Center for Cooperatives Program Manager, Hannah Scott.  “Training modules build on existing fundamental materials by providing an in-depth look at governance, finance, taxation and other areas not typically covered by courses in fundamentals, yet challenging topics for stakeholders.”

The training features eight modules which include video interviews with numerous leaders in the cooperative movement:

  • Logan County Electric Cooperative General Manager Rick Petty discusses cooperative principles and various functions of cooperatives.
  • Dennis Bolling retired President and CEO of United Producers Cooperative shares the benefits cooperatives provide members.
  • Mid-America Cooperative Counsel Executive Director Rod Kelsay discusses effective education and training the Board of Directors.
  • Ohio State Univerisity Extension Educator Dr. Chris Bruynis gives insight to key factors that contribute to a cooperative’s success.
  • Nationwide’s VP of Sponsor Relations Devin Fuhrman shares the story of Nationwide’s history as a mutual cooperative company.
  • Agricultural attorney Carolyn Eselgroth of Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham and Eselgroth, LLP addresses legal considerations when forming a cooperative business.
  • Co-Bank Senior Relationship Manager Gary Weidenborner leads users through an interactive financial document exercise.
  • David Hahn, Professor Emeritus the Ohio State University, explains cooperative taxation.

“We invite folks to ask questions and receive answers from our Center staff in the online Co-op Forum,” said Joy Bauman, Program Coordinator.  “They can also browse an extensive collection of online resources in the Cooperative Library.”

The CFAES Center for Cooperatives offers customized in-person workshops to complement the online training. Workshops are designed to serve the requesting cooperative’s needs. Examples include: new employee education, board of director education, strategic plan development, cooperative marketing and policy development. Workshop participants receive a companion workbook with activities to fortify learning. They gain on-going access to Co-op Mastery online training materials, which they may work through at their own pace or search for specific information to meet immediate needs. Users can return to the Co-op Mastery online materials at any time to troubleshoot cooperative issues and they can receive ongoing technical assistance from CFAES Center for Cooperatives staff. To request a workshop or more information, visit go.osu.edu/cooperatives or contact the Center for Cooperatives at osucooperatives@osu.edu or 740-289-2071 ext. 111.