Connecting With Holiday Shoppers: 10 Takeaways

If your business doesn’t have a plan in place to take advantage of eager holiday shoppers, don’t waste one more second—read this workshop recap now and learn how to connect with holiday shoppers.

 

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. Is your small business positioned to receive its share of the $1 trillion predicted for 2019 holiday spending? Cleveland’s Hispanic Business Center’s Cole Worley presented a workshop on how to do just that at COSE’s Small Business Resource Fair in October.

Here are 10 takeaways from the presentation to get your holiday sales soaring.

  1. There’s still time. While ideally you’d start putting together your holiday strategic plan in September, 51% of holiday shopping occurs in November and December so there is still plenty of opportunity to be had.
  2. Black Friday isn’t everything. Buyers are looking for deals all season long so be sure to give thought to the discounts, sales and other opportunities you can offer over the next several weeks.
  3. Last-minute sales are key. Come up with a plan to draw in those procrastinators as the holidays near. Make sure to offer the option to purchase gift cards online—especially from their mobile devices. Convenience is important here.
  4. Free shipping is a must. Research shows that 80% of all online orders include free shipping. Consider free upgrades to faster shipping options toward the end of the season.
  5. Spark a sense of urgency. With Thanksgiving being at the end of the month, there is one less week for holiday shopping this year. Tell your audience this and encourage them to act now.
  6. Focus on list building. As a small business, one of the only things you have control over is your website and your contact list. Emails and retargeting advertisements are cheap ways to connect with your audience. They have to know you, like you and trust you before they buy something—it takes time and effort to build their trust but it’s worth it.
  7. Make the holidays a special time. Create holiday gift guides and new holiday pages to boost search engine optimization. Use holiday keywords and phrases such as “holiday buying guides.”
  8. Leverage social. Create exclusive offers for your social followers to make them feel special. They’ll appreciate the extra value they receive just by keeping up with you on social platforms.
  9. Plan for increased customer service. Expectations are high during this time of year; make sure you can engage and respond to customer service needs quickly on your website, via text and on social.
  10. Ensure optimal performance. Speaking of higher expectations, you have two seconds or less to make an impression on your web and social sites. Load times need to be fast or potential customers will move on quickly.

Don’t forget to support Small Business Saturday on November 30. Stay tuned for more information on opportunities from COSE on how you can show your support. And if you are a small business owner with a special offer for Small Business Saturday, please contact Allison Halco. You could be featured in our social media posts or in an upcoming issue of Mind Your Business.


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  • Next up: Crowdfunding Legislation Clears Ohio House

    Crowdfunding Legislation Clears Ohio House

     

    The Ohio House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would permit intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances.  The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) has continually offered support for the legislation.

    Building capacity and improving access to capital for businesses across the state is just one of the many important undertakings outlined by our members in the 2019 - 2020 GCP Public Policy AgendaAccess to capital promotes stability and greater predictability and can allow entrepreneurs to create jobs and thrive in an ever-changing environment. The importance of continuing to make strides to maintain an economic environment conducive to startup entrepreneurship cannot be understated and the need for Ohio not to lose ground on strides made in other states is critical to our collective success.

    House Bill 312 (HB 312) would allow Ohioans to invest in businesses through an online OhioInvests Portal.

    To read the entirety of GCP’s submission to the Ohio General Assembly on HB 312 click here.

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  • Next up: Economic Development Finance Professional Certification Program Comes to Cleveland

    Economic Development Finance Professional Certification Program Comes to Cleveland

     

    The National Development Council’s (NDC) Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) Certification Program™ is underway in Cleveland through a generous sponsorship from Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA). 

    GCP and CDA provided 25 scholarships to local economic development professionals and negotiated enrollment in the EDFP program at a reduced rate for 10 additional students.

    Organizations across Northeast Ohio are represented in the first Cleveland cohort, including the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development, Famicos Foundation, Asian Services In Action Inc., MidTown Cleveland, Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority, Cuyahoga County Department of Development, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, Metro West Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. and the cities of Beachwood, Brook Park, Cleveland, Cuyahoga Falls and Rocky River.

    The class of 46 wrapped up their first week of instruction, ED101 – Economic Development Finance, on Friday, September 20.

    “As community stakeholders work collectively to forge a path forward in Cleveland’s neighborhoods that supports prosperity and opportunity for all, we determined it was vital to offer our Community Development Corporations and other practitioners this valuable educational programming provided by The National Development Council,” said Cleveland Development Advisors president and GCP executive vice president Yvette M. Ittu.

    Designed to build development finance capacity, EDFP Certification is geared toward professionals who want to grow their knowledge and learn the skills needed to make successful deals and translate them into results for their communities. The robust coursework includes four, five-day sessions covering topics ranging from business credit analysis and real estate finance to appraisals, deal structuring and syndication.

    Since NDC’s establishment as a national nonprofit in 1969, they have trained more than 75,000 practitioners in what the organization calls “the art and science of economic and housing development finance.” Course instructors include community and economic development officials, bankers, developers, entrepreneurs and government agency leaders, all of whom bring real-world experience and acumen to the classes they teach.

    In-person EDFP courses are also currently available in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia and an online program is offered as well.

    Learn more about GCP’s work in economic development and find out more information about NDC’s Economic Development Finance Professional Certification Program™.

     

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  • Next up: Energy Subsidy Bill Passes

    Energy Subsidy Bill Passes


    GCP has continued to encourage policies that provide incentives for utilities to offer businesses opportunities that leverage energy efficiency programming. GCP members did not take a formal position on all provisions within controversial legislation, House Bill 6 (HB 6), that aims to keep Ohio’s two nuclear power plants running.  GCP recognizes it is important utilities are provided a level of elasticity needed to meet state mandated energy benchmarks, but we also have strongly encouraged the continuation of those benchmarks to spur growth and economic development.

    On Tuesday and by a vote of 51-38, the Ohio House concurred with an Ohio Senate substitute version of the bill. And, the Governor signed the bill just hours after lawmakers sent the final version to him. Click here for a recap of the bill and the proceedings to this point.

    GCP businesses weighed-in on this initiative throughout the year and advocacy staff worked with high-level state officials to reinforce or position. Click here to read more on GCP’s consistent, pragmatic statement on the issue from last year.

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  • Next up: Find Your 2020 Summer Intern

    Find Your 2020 Summer Intern

     

    The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Internship Central program is again collaborating with Tri-C to offer GCP members the opportunity to participate as an internship host employer for Tri-C’s 5th annual Summer Internship Program. The internships will be 100 hours in duration, i.e. 20 hours/week for 5 weeks or 10 hours/week for 10 weeks, from May 26 to August 7, 2020. Employers are able to host more than one intern.

    As an external host employer, the company would be placed with an intern that best matches your needs. Tri-C manages the HR functions of the internship such as hiring, placement, background check, and internship compensation. Students will be compensated by the college at $11 per hour.

    Other benefits to the host employer include:

    • Screening of interns for 2.0 minimum GPA, active student status and other requirements will be conducted by the College.
    • Speed networking internship fairs (opportunity for employers to interview potential interns) hosted by the College.
    • Students will be considered Cuyahoga Community College employees (on Tri-C’s payroll).
    • Thorough background check and drug screening conducted by the College.

    The host employer is responsible for:

    • Providing the internship job description by 12/6/2019, click here for the job description template
    • Attending an information session on 2/11/2020 (Metropolitan campus 9:00am-10:30am) to learn about the role of the host/employer, timelines for hiring and next steps
    • Providing supervision, coaching, feedback, and support to the intern during the internship period
    • Providing meaningful work and learning experiences for the intern
    • Developing and sharing a work plan for the intern, outlining objectives and deliverables throughout the 5 or 10-week internship
    • Ensuring the internship is complete between May 26, 2020 and August 7, 2020.
    • Providing a workspace and other resources (e.g. access to computer, reference materials, and telephone)
    • Attending ONE of the Internship Fairs. Attending an internship fair is essential because this is where you will meet and interview potential interns and make your top intern selections.
      • Metropolitan Campus (downtown Cleveland) – Friday, March 6, 2020,
      • Western Campus (Parma)- Tuesday, March 10, 2020

    Internship host opportunities will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.  If you are interested in hosting a student during summer 2020, please complete the Summer Internship Job Description and return to Angela Finding at afinding@gcpartnership.com by December 6, 2019. For questions regarding the program, call Angela at 216-592-2385.

     

     

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  • Next up: GCP Hosts Panel to Promote Diversity in Commercial Real Estate

    GCP Hosts Panel to Promote Diversity in Commercial Real Estate

     

    Over 40 people interested in commercial real estate attended What’s Happening in Cleveland: A Conversation on Diversity & Inclusion in Commercial Real Estate on October 24. Hosted at GCP and presented by the Real Estate Associate Program (Project REAP), attendees enjoyed refreshments while Ken McIntyre, the project’s executive director, spoke. He noted that the program serves as a bridge between talented minority professionals and commercial real estate companies looking for talent, through educating those professionals on the business side of the industry. Angele Robinson-Gaylord, President of North American Real Estate at IKEA, was the Keynote speaker. Graduating Project REAP in 2009, Robinson-Gaylord detailed her experience transitioning from practicing law to working in commercial real estate. As a woman of color, she noted how graduating Project REAP gave her the tools to succeed in an industry historically under-represented by people that look like her.

    Robinson-Gaylord then sat on a panel to discuss the current state of Greater Cleveland’s commercial real estate industry. Joining her was Michael Elliot (Program Manager of Capital Access Fund, National Development Council), Christopher Nance (Director of Construction Diversity & Inclusion Program, GCP), and Shonna White (Real Estate Manager, CBRE). After answering questions from moderator David Browning (Managing Director, CBRE), the panel opened to questions from the floor.  Questions pertained to the potential impact our local colleges and universities can have on minority participation in the industry, and how we as a region can make young minorities feel like real estate is a profession that they can and want to pursue. The evening ended with networking, as attendees had the chance to speak personally with the panel members.

    For information about an upcoming REAP Academy being planned for 2020 in Cleveland, please contact Vince Adamus at 216-592-2258 or vadamus@gcpartnership.com. Learn additional information regarding the nationwide REAP program.

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