Training your Small Business Needs to Grow

You know better than any one that growing a business is difficult.  You can, and have, run in to challenges that you did not anticipate.  Even if you planned, sought advice, and did everything you needed to do to get started, there were still issues that you were unsure of how to handle.  While it is impossible for you to know everything, there are many great resourced to help educate you and your staff to be able to handle anything that comes your way.

First, it is important to identify the type of training that will work best for you.  Would you or your staff prefer an in person seminar or an online webinar?  Would you attend as an individual or the whole team as a group?  Is it possible that your team travels and adds on some team building exercises or do you need to stay close to home?  Evaluating your needs and deciding what will work best for your business will help you narrow down your many options and choose the best for your organization.

A great first step when looking for training and advice is your county’s Small Business Administration.  The SBA Learning Center offers computer classes up to mentorship programs, and everything in between.  A wide variety of topics, like financing, marketing, and business management are covered.  Often times these courses, especially online versions, are free of charge or for a nominal fee.  There are also great networking and marketing opportunities through seminars and business expos.  Visit www.sba.gov for more information and to find your local office.

Community colleges can also be an affordable, flexible resource to provide training.  Besides offering various training programs and co-op education, many are working with small business to offer industry specific training and education.  For example, Cincinnati State Community College offers the Workforce Development Center to give your company the competitive edge it needs.  Since community colleges focus on adult and continuing education, they are constantly developing new curriculum.

One of the best parts of having an office with CMC’s the Perfect Small Office is being able to utilize your neighbors as a resource.  What is better than having your accountant, attorney, insurance agent, massage therapist, kids’ driving school all just down the hall from your office.  Perhaps working with your existing contacts to create training co-ops between small business owners and share your resources with each other.  This could be a good solution to train only a few people at a time.

The investment in training that accompany make creates a supportive workplace.  Over time a lack of training and planning can be detrimental to your business.  It is possible to train your employees, and yourself, in a way that will help your business grow while not breaking your bank.

CMC West Chester – Community Shred Event

Join us on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 from 12:00pm-1:00pm!

Smart ways to Invest your Tax Refund in your Business

Congratulations!  You are getting a tax refund!  While it is tempting to start planning your next vacation, putting those funds back in to your business is a better way to grow your business long term.  An IRS check offers a chance to do something financially meaningful.  Here are a few ways to get the most out of your refund.

Pay off high interest debt:

Remember that potentially risky loan you took out to get your business off the ground?  Or that ‘for emergency only’ credit card you opened?  High interest payments can be a thorn in your side and is literally throwing money away.  Start with your highest interest rates to save money in the long run.

Increase a real estate down payment or improvement plan:

If you’ve been saving for an office building or 2nd location, use your refund to increase your down payment to avoid costly fees.

If you are in a place that you already own your office, but have been waiting to begin a much needed improvement project, getting a tax refund might be good time to invent in your future resale value.

Open a credit card with benefits:

As long as you are debt free and pay off your credit card balance every month, you might want to invest in a card with perks, like travel miles or cash back, especially if your current cards don’t offer any benefits.  The right card should save you move than the cost of maintaining account.

Give a tax-free annual gift:

If your financial portfolio is well-established, or you are near retirement age, you may want to consider gifting excess funds every year.  Starting a scholarship fund for your local high school, gifting money to your place of worship, or participating in a fundraiser for a non-profit is also a great way to get your name out in the community.  It never hurts to buy some good will and good karma.

Splurge on some new equipment:

Could your printer stand to be replaced?  Is that trusty laptop not starting up as quickly as it used to?  Do you need to invigorate your marketing campaign?  Now is the time?  Pour money in your day to day routine or in to equipment you use every day can help your motivation and productivity.

Invest in your ‘human capital’:

Investing in yourself and your employees will see an almost immediate ROI.  The expertise, talent, experience, and work ethic of your staff all add value to your business.  Using your tax refund to pay for additional training, a work-related conference, or membership in a professional organization can pay off for years to come.

Soon the checks will start rolling in.  Think carefully about what you will do with your refund.  Coming up with a smart strategy before the check arrives will benefit your business, and your peace of mind, in 2017 and years to come.

Blue Ash Business Awards

It’s time to submit nominations for the 

Blue Ash Business Awards!

 

The Blue Ash Business Committee & Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber want to recognize Blue Ash businesses that are making a difference in their community or industry. Nomination deadline is April 7, 2017.

 

The nomination process is simple! Just tell us how the business exemplifies one aspect of the city’s motto– Aspire. Achieve. Advance.

 

ASPIRE: Awarded to businesses with extraordinary potential – start-ups, small  companies or companies with new products or services.

ACHIEVE: Awarded to established businesses that have demonstrated success through expansion, sales, growth, product/service improvements, effective business practices, employee satisfaction, etc.

ADVANCE: Awarded to businesses with a significant accomplishment that resulted in a major advance for their industry or the City of Blue Ash.

 

Nominate a business today!

Click here to nominate your business, or click here to recommend a company other than your own.

If you have any questions, please contact Laurie Brinkman at lbrinkman@cincinnatichamber.com or 513.686.2945.

March Madness: The productivity myth and why small business owners should love office pools.

Instead of worrying about lost productivity, business owners should see the annual March Madness College Basketball Tournament for what it is — the perfect gift-wrapped opportunity to maximize collisions.Office pools are perfect for increasing collisions. When else can the quiet guy from accounting brag about his Cincinnati Bearcats?

Office pools already create conversations and sparks that rarely happen, but they can be amplified even more. Here are some options.

  1. The skill-swap office pool

One example of using March Madness to actually increase employee engagement and camaraderie is the skill-swap office pool.It’s a simple tweak. Instead of throwing in the typical $10 entry fee, each person instead donates a skill. It could be anything they’re good at from singing lessons to how to build a blog.The skills are posted publicly, so everyone learns more about their colleagues. When the tournament is over, the winner of the pool gets first choice of the available skills. Second place gets second choice and so on. Even last place wins something.Everyone teaches. Everyone learns. Everyone wins.

  1. The field trip

Everyone streaming online video can cause bandwidth problems and IT headaches. So, instead of everyone hiding the games in a browser behind a presentation deck or spreadsheet, bring teams together to watch the games, out in the open.Teams can work from laptops in separate breakout rooms where the games are on actual TVs, or have the team take over a local sports bar with good WiFi.

  1. The alma mater match

Everyone writes down either their alma mater or their favorite team.If your chosen team is not in the tournament, you get matched with a team that has the closest match of mascots (e.g. Kentucky Wildcats and Arizona Wildcats) or by the closest match to team colors.Now, each employee has a spot in the actual bracket, so it isn’t just Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss. It’s Bill vs. Shelly.Watch bracket games together with your mascot-match and your alma-mater “opponent”. Single games can have friendly side bets (perhaps the loser fills out both TPS reports for a month) and the overall tournament can have some type of prize incentives.

Customize the specific details to fit your organization. The goal remains the same: more collisions. Everyone will meet new people and learn about their coworkers.

So, stop the madness. This March, ignore the lost productivity studies. See the office pool as a golden opportunity — not for distraction, but to connect and engage with colleagues.

Blue Ash Tenant Spotlight: Thierry Cowan – 30 Minute Teeth Whitening

Meet Thierry – Owner of 30 Minute Teeth Whitening

The remarkable smile Thierry possesses is all too fitting for someone who runs a successful teeth whitening business. With his real name being Terry Cowan, he chose to polish it up to Thierry, simply because it looks more fancy. Born in Cincinnati, he attended high school at Withrow before heading to Indiana Wesleyan University where he earned a degree in Business Management. Additionally, he furthered his studies at the University of Cincinnati for two more years.

terry-30-min-whitening

Thierry – Owner of 30 Minute Teeth Whitening

About His Business

Thierry has owned and operated 30 Minute Teeth Whitening, formerly Maui Whitening, for nearly two years. The previous company was a pioneer in the industry; perfecting the concept of non-dental, professional laser teeth whitening. If you’re looking for a safe, efficient way to get pearly whites, it’s the place to go. Whether you have stains and discolorations from coffee, smoking, or medications, he’ll work with you to get the look you desire. They even offer mobile service and will come to you!

30-min-whitening-before-after

Actual results from a 40 minute session

How to Brighten Your Smile

To learn more, call Thierry at 513-655-5069 or visit his website at http://www.teethwhiteningcincinnati.com/. From sessions of 20 minutes to an hour, he’ll work with you to ensure the best results for half the price that your dentist would charge. Stop messing around with the hassle of store-bought whiteners and come see him!