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.

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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.

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Ohio MEP High School Internship Program

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Advisor, Manufacturing Extension Program)

High school students who have studied and developed manufacturing-related skills have the opportunity to be placed in a company through an internship program offered by the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

See flyer for more details:Ohio High School Internship Flyer

Lunch and Learn: State and Federal Funding Programs

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Advisor, Manufacturing Extension Program)

Eric Wagner, Senior Collaboration Officer at the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, will discuss how small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies can apply for and utilize federal and state funding programs. These programs target small and medium companies which have the potential for growth in Ohio.

Learn about programs such as:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP) and other programs administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA)
  • Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Voucher program administered by the federal government.

Eric will inform guests about the available programs and highlight some successes CDME has had for our small business clients. In certain cases, CDME will assist with the identification, development, capture, and execution of funding from these programs for the growth of our clients.

This lunch and learn event is targeted towards small- and medium-sized Ohio companies engaged in manufacturing.

To register, log on 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/

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.

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

International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE)

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

The International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) program helps small businesses increase exports and create jobs in Ohio’s economy. The program reimburses at a 50% rate, capped at $12,500 per eligible approved applicant.  The IMAGE program is funded, in part, through the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). For more information about the IMAGE program, visit: www.image.development.ohio.gov.

Don’t delay, application deadline is April 1, 2018 and all eligible activities must be completed by September 29, 2018.