Reminder, register now! 5-10-2016 Dept. of Labor Seminar at OSU South Centers in Piketon

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

2016- 5-10 Dept of LaborJoin Department of Labor professionals and area businesses on May 10, 2016 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio. To learn and have an opportunity to get answers to specific questions about labor requirements for your business. Understanding ever-changing labor laws is vital to a successful business, and professionals from the Department of Labor will be presenting key components of what is needed for such success.

The cost to attend is $20.00 per person, which includes breakfast refreshments/ lunch and printed material. To register, please email dunn.595@osu.edu or call 740-289-1605 x301 by May 4.

Strategies for Maximizing Total Rewards

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Since I have been a freelance consultant for a while, and I am interested in maximizing my credit card rewards, I have made the decision to maximize the rewards I earn on both personal and business expenses. Although it can be tricky to keep it all separate, several strategies I employ make the process a whole lot easier.

Here’s what I do.

Overlap Categories
rewardsAs we have seen most rewards credit cards offer bonus rewards in certain categories of spending. I sought out a business credit card that earns more points in categories that my personal rewards credit card does not.

For me, Chase has the best combination of personal and business cards on the market right now. For business, I use my Chase Ink Bold®, which earns 5x points on cell phone service, internet service, landline service and office supply stores plush 2x points on gas and hotels. I pair that card with my personal Chase Sapphire Preferred®, which earns 2x points on travel and dining.

I put all of my gas and hotel stays on my business card even if it is for a family trip. This way I earn 2 points per dollar which is better than if I used my personal card. I also put my internet service on my business card so I earn 5 points per dollar even though most of that service is personal, and only a portion gets deducted based on my home office square footage.

If I am out to eat with a client, a business expense, I use my personal Chase Sapphire Preferred® instead of my Chase Ink Bold® because I earn double points with the Sapphire Preferred®.

If I spend on an item outside of any of these bonus categories, I still earn 1 point per dollar, so I’m always earning.

Using the Same Rewards Platform

credit-cards-185069_1920 (2)What I like about these two cards is that they are both on the same rewards platform so I am able to combine the points where I wouldn’t if I paired a Ink Plus® Business Credit Card with the personal rewards card from American Express.

Two added advantages of the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform are transferring points and redeeming points for travel. Both the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® transfer points to frequent flier partners on a 1:1 basis AND both cards’ points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the UR platform.

The result is that when you have the same rewards platform, you have added flexibility to combine and redeem points. If you have business and personal cards on different networks, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

What to Watch Out For
Because I combine my expenses, I have developed a great system of tracking, keeping notes and accounting for which expenses are business vs. personal. This approach is not for the faint of heart. You need to keep up on tracking these expenses at all times. If you fall behind it can be a nightmare to sift back through your calendar, credit card statements and memory to put the right pieces of the puzzle together.

How to Avoid These Problems
magic-cube-378543_1920 (2)First, Jot from Chase Business is great. I can tag expenses and take pictures of receipts. The only tag I really use is “Business” to denote a business expense I want to transfer to my accounting software.

For my personal card I use Expensify. This is essentially the same thing as Jot, but you can use it for any expense whereas Jot only works with your Chase business credit card.

With Expensify, I take a picture of my receipt only for purchases I want to use as business expenses. Expensify saves each receipt and any information I manually input. I then transfer these expenses to my accounting software at the end of each week.

I use Quickbooks for all of my accounting, which lets me keep detailed notes on all my expenses. Once I transfer my expenses, I make sure to add each receipt picture to my digital tax files, so I can back up any expense easily if I ever face an audit.

Source: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-business-credit-cards/#strategies-for-maximizing-total-rewards

2-29-2016 Social Media in 2016

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

OSU South Centers and Southern Ohio Procurement Outreach Center present:
Social Media in 2016 on 2-29-2016 from 1 to 4 p.m. at OSU South Centers, Endeavor Center, Room 159, 1862 Shyville Road, Piketon, OH 45661. FREE!

Space is limited! Register now at http://sopoc.ecenterdirect.com or call 740-377-4550 to preview what will stand out in social media marketing for 2016.

2016 2-29 Social Media in 2016 Flyer

3-8-2016 Manufacturing Roundtable Discussion

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Calling all southern Ohio Manufacturers in our service area of Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Lawrence, and Vinton counties!!!

On March 8 from 8:30 to 11 a.m., join industry leaders for a Manufacturing Roundtable Discussion to learn about SBDC Services, APEG Resources, MEP, Exporting, Workforce Resources, and much more.

OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio, will offer this opportunity periodically to keep manufacturers informed about current and upcoming resources to benefit industry growth and sustainability.

Attend at no cost to you! Please RSVP by March 2! To register, call 740-289-1605 or email dunn.595@osu.edu; or for more information, email Mick Whitt, director of MTSBDC at whitt.124@osu.edu.

2016 3-8 Manufacturing Roundtable Flyer Pic

Increasing your Visibility

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

A common question I receive is “How do I increase my visibility with my online marketing?” Once you have set up a website and/or social media accounts, you want to see that instant gratification of people viewing your information and buying your goods/services. Here are a few tips to help gain followers:

eye-1103593_1280 (2)• Utilize Google Webmaster Tools – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools. This is yet another one of Google’s freebies. If you have a website, login or create a free Google account and plug in your website to this link. This program will verify you have a real site (which increases your search rankings on Google), helps diagnose any problems your site has and shares what the common keywords are for your website.

• Keywords/Hashtags – Use them! For your website, make sure you are utilizing keywords that will help individuals find you. For social media, hashtags are meant to group posts together so why not use a #shoplocal #shopsmall tag at the end of your posts.

• Cross Promotion – Work smarter, not harder with your fellow businesses. Create a campaign with a group of other small businesses in the area to promote all of your businesses.

• Be Consistent – Continual communication will increase your visibility. If you post a weekly promotion/giveaway every Friday at noon, people will begin to wait and remember it will happen.

• Know your Audience – If your target customer is a specific demographic, tailor your posts, content and sales to meet that demographic. Talk to your customers to know what they want to see out of your online marketing. Positive word of mouth is still the easiest way to grow your business.

If you have any questions or would like more information about increasing your visibility, please contact me at carter.1094@osu.edu.

Member ownership. Member control. Member benefit.

(Submitted by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

system-954965_1920(2)If the cooperative model can be summarized in five words, these are perhaps the most appropriate. Co-op businesses revolve around members.

This article from The Seattle Times explores membership issues in the nation’s largest consumer cooperative, REI, including the changing nature of the way the co-op engages members.

South Centers Chat – Dr. Michael V. Drake, President, The Ohio State University

(Submitted by Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center and Adjunct Instructor, University of Rio Grande MBA Program/OSU South Centers Collaboration, OSU South Centers)

Published on YouTube
on December 23, 2015

Dr. Tom Worley and Dr. Michael Drake discuss The Ohio State University’s Land Grant Mission, OSU Extension, and OARDC Programs promoting collaboration in agriculture and business.

Guest:
Dr. Michael V. Drake, President, The Ohio State University.

Host:
Dr. Tom Worley, Director, Ohio State University South Centers.

Marketing tips for the new year

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

ornate-1045572_1920 (2)With a new year, brings a time to start fresh or revamp your business marketing. Take time this month to review your current marketing strategies and determine what is working, what may need to be added, and what you could get rid of for 2016. Here are a few online marketing tips to get your business energized for the new year.

1. Engage with your customers – Whether it is through face-to-face interactions or through social media, talk to your customers. Learn what they like or dislike about your products/services and ask them to leave feedback.

2. Incorporate brand ambassadors – I’ve seen many Etsy shop owners doing this for the New Year. Get a handful of customers who will showcase your product for you. They would either get the product for free or a reduced rate and they would be featured in your marketing campaigns and they would market your product on their sites as well.

3. Think mobile – If you aren’t incorporating the majority of your marketing into mobile friendly options, you are missing out. Nearly 75% of Americans own at least one smart phone and it’s their main entry to the Internet (Source: U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015) Make sure your website is mobile friendly and your emails are optimized for multiple devices.

4. Go live – Periscope and other livestream services are very popular. Does it fit your business to livestream with your customers? Maybe have a weekly stream on your industry, your products/services, or some fun facts about your business.

5. Simplicity is best – With social media platforms, it’s better to do one or two really well then trying to be mediocre on multiple platforms. Choose what your customers are mostly using and invest in it.

If you have any questions about marketing, feel free to contact any of the Small Business Counselors at the OSU South Centers.