Update: Medical Marijuana in Ohio

While the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) remained neutral on the initiative that passed two years ago legalizing medical marijuana in Ohio, our members did advocate passionately for specific employer protections that were ultimately included in the law. The employer protections, among other things, are designed to defend an employer’s HR policies, drug screening policies, and procedures. And, the Governor appointed a GCP Board member to Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee; the role is to protect employers’ rights as regulatory proceedings on medical marijuana take place in Ohio throughout the implementation of the program.

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    Provisional licenses for 24 medical marijuana cultivators have since been named. Certificates to recommend medical marijuana have been awarded to 36 physicians (approximately 50 applied) via the State Medical Board of Ohio. Initial medical marijuana dispensary certificates of operation are expected in September of this year.  For a timeline of the overall program, click here.

    As Ohio implements the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, GCP will continue to represent the business community’s interests in Columbus. See this website for regular updates.


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    Next up: U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Tax Credits to Help Pay Health Care Premiums

    U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Tax Credits to Help Pay Health Care Premiums

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance subsidies can go to residents of any state, a big win for the President, and probably a sigh of relief for more than 6 million people (including approximately 150,00 Ohio residents) that could have been directly impacted.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance subsidies can go to residents of any state, a big win for the President, and probably a sigh of relief for more than 6 million people (including approximately 150,000 Ohio residents) that could have been directly impacted. 

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    The case, King v. Burwell, represented perhaps the biggest legal threat to ACA since the Supreme Court ruled the law was constitutional three years ago. The verdict, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, ensures that consumers purchasing health insurance on the federal exchanges set up in 34 states will continue to be able to do so. 

    “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts. “The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a state’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.” 

    So, subsides will remain available to help purchase health coverage. The rest of ACA, including the requirement to be insured, was not at issue before the nine justices in this case. And, whether Congress intended for everyone who was income-eligible to get subsidies or not, the court’s decision staves off what would have undoubtedly created confusion – at a time when many small business owners and their employees are often unsure of the right path to take when it comes to deciding on their health care coverage options in general.

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    Next up: Use Data to Drive Business Growth

    Use Data to Drive Business Growth

    Jason Therrien, president of integrated marketing agency thunder::tech::, explained during a recent COSE Business Growth Boot Camp how business owners can leverage the data their businesses are generating.

    Jason Therrien, president of thunder::tech, begins his Business Growth Boot Camp at the COSE offices.

    You’re sitting on a treasure trove and you don’t even know it.

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    Your business is churning out reams upon reams of data about your customers and potential customers. This data could be put to good use in helping you find, retain and convert customers. But the sad part is, you’re probably not utilizing that data to its fullest potential, said Jason Therrien, president of Cleveland integrated marketing agency thunder::tech during a recent COSE Business Growth Boot Camp entitled “2017 Marketing Trends—Staying Ahead of the Marketing Curve.”

    Watch Jason Therrien, president of thunder::tech, give his three top takeaways from his COSE Business Growth Boot Camp Session.

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    Why is this business intelligence important? Therrien said by using data, you can follow one of your customers from one step in the buying process to the next. If they drop out at some point, it will be easier for you to ascertain why and then take steps to strengthen that portion of your sales funnel. For example, tracking behavior means your sales team can understand what that potential buyer was doing on your site. If they happened to open a document before dropping out, perhaps you could trigger an email, video or blog post to hit the customer that provides additional information about the product or service they were looking at.

    Taking action

    Marketing automation such as that is an extremely powerful way to market to your audience, he said. For instance, automating an email tied to one of your company’s events is a good way to open a conversation with the segment of your audience that happens to be interested in that particular part of your business.

    So, what’s the best way to start pulling all of this data together? Therrien suggested taking all of the business intelligence you can gather and putting it into specific buckets. Where do your customers seem to want to talk to you? Where are the opportunities for you to talk to them?

    Once you’ve answered those questions, start identifying the types of customers you have based on their data profile (for example, age, education, etc.) Give them real names, such as Gertrude or Madison. Continue to use business intelligence so that you are always developing additional personas.

    Therrien said as your business continues to utilize more and more of the data it’s sitting on, you’ll have a clearer understanding of why certain personas are converting in some places, but not others. And data will help you identify trends such as these sooner.

    Deeper Dive

    Want to dig a little bit deeper into the topics discussed above? Consider:

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    Next up: Use Email and Social Media to Grow Your Business

    Use Email and Social Media to Grow Your Business

    Understand what you need to do to leverage the power of email marketing and social media campaigns to engage with customers.

    Understand what you need to do to leverage the power of email marketing and social media campaigns to engage with customers.


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    Next up: Webinar: Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media

    Webinar: Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media

    Understand what you need to do to leverage the power of email marketing and social media campaigns to engage with customers.


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    Next up: Using Pokémon Go to drive customers to your local business

    Using Pokémon Go to drive customers to your local business

    By now you’ve heard about Pokémon Go, the mobile phone game that’s become a pop culture sensation. But whether you’re spending your time chasing Pikachu or not, brick-and-mortar owners should be aware of how to use Pokémon Go to attract customers.

    By now you’ve heard about Pokémon Go, the mobile phone game that’s become a pop culture sensation. But whether you’re spending your time chasing Pikachu or not, brick-and-mortar owners should be aware of how to use Pokémon Go to attract customers.

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    The game works by integrating a player’s actual location and surroundings into the gaming environment. I’m not going to teach you how to play here because, let’s face it—that’s not why you’re reading this. So let’s get to the good stuff—how do you use the game to attract people to your business?

    A central aspect of Pokémon Go game play are PokeStops and Gyms. Players come to PokeStops to collect items and go to Gyms to battle their Pokemon against those of other players. Why is this important? Well, if your business is located at or near a PokeStop or Gym [TS1] (you might have to ask a Pokémon Go player or download the game yourself to find out), you can leverage that to get Pokémon Go players to drive foot traffic to your location. Here’s how:

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    If your business is a PokeStop:

    Plan to set a lure (an item available in Pokémon Go that draws more than the normal number of Pokémon to a PokeStop for a period of 30 minutes) at your PokeStop during a set time of day—and promote that you’re doing so. Let players know via Facebook, Twitter, a big sign in your front window—anything—that they can come of your location and catch a plethora of Pokémon while the lure is active.

    If your business is a Pokémon Gym (or near a Gym):

    Offer a promotion to Pokémon Go players: when they battle at the Gym and win, or they belong to the team (Mystic, Valor or Instinct) that holds the Gym, they get a free item or a discount on their bill. This way, players will want to come and stay at your location while they battle their Pokémon against other players.

    If your business is not already located at or near a PokeStop or Gym, don’t despair! You can place a request that the game adds a location near you. iDigitalTimes has details on this process.

    Want to learn more? Here are more resources to help you use Pokémon Go to promote your business:

    Special thanks to my colleague and fellow Pokémon Go player Paul Marnecheck for providing insight and the photo for this post! pmarnecheck@gcpartnership.com 

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