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Starting a Business in Ohio

With a boom in start-ups and small businesses, Ohio is becoming a popular choice for new enterprises. Expanding to or starting a business in Ohio is an easy task. All you need is determination and the right documents and tools.

Starting a Businesses in Ohio, “the Heart of It All”

Located in the Midwest, Ohio has 88 counties and 247 cities and an estimated population of 11.72 million in 2019. The state is close to densely populated areas of the country like Detroit, Pittsburg, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. This makes the state a hub for transport, businesses, and trade.

Being the 7th largest economy in the U.S., Ohio is continuously expanding in areas of agriculture, aerospace, healthcare, education, research and development, and more. More recently, however, Ohio has also been paying attention to small businesses with 97.9% of Ohio’s companies being small businesses. Ohio’s local resources are encouraging small business growth in industries ranging from retail to clothing to hospitality to technology. The city of Columbus in Ohio created the first Small Business Concierge to assist small businesses with finances and more.

With the range of opportunities and governmental support available, Ohio is a good place to open a new enterprise. So, what do you need to keep in mind when starting a business in Ohio?

Starting a Business in Ohio
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#:2390363 ID#27446420

Step 1: Decide on a Business Name

The business name is your company’s first interaction with the customer. Therefore, you want it to be easy, memorable, and appropriate. Research to see if the name has already been used or may have any potential conflicts. Conduct a trademark search with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Finally, make sure that the name is available with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Business Filing Portal.

Step 2: Create A Business Plan

The next step to starting a business in Ohio is to create a business plan. A detailed business plan will outline:

  • How you plan to proceed with creating this company
  • What factors are necessary to consider for its success
  • Market research and projections to be considered
  • Equipment and software required
  • Expenses and costs (production costs, employee salaries, equipment costs, etc)

Step 3: Choose a Business Structure

Once you have your business plan, you will need to choose a business structure for your company:

  • Doing Business As (DBA): Using a different name than the business name.
  • Corporation: Separate entity that includes shareholders, partners, and directors. More complex than a DBA.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): Separate entity but doesn’t need directors or officers and provides easy management and taxation. Most popular business structure.

Step 4: Register the Business

It is important to register your new company with the Ohio Secretary of State by providing information and submitting the necessary forms. Also, you must register with the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Step 5: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to apply for and obtain an EIN number.

 Step 6: Open Company Bank Accounts

Once you receive your EIN, you can open bank accounts needed to run the business.

 Step 7: Obtain Necessary Licenses & Permits

The Ohio Business Gateway Licenses and Permits will provide you with a list of licenses and business permits. Make sure you obtain the appropriate licenses and documentation.

Step 8: Get a Business Phone Number

Once all of this is done, your company will be registered and open for business. This means it is time to start contacting and attracting customers or clients. To do so, you will need a business phone number. Whether you will be physically located in Ohio or plan on running your business remotely, having a local number will increase your chances of customer interactions. Customers prefer local numbers because they charge less to call. Additionally, consider getting a virtual toll free number because calls made to toll free numbers are charged to the receiver instead of the caller. This makes it even easier for customers to contact you. After getting a business number, market it on billboards, websites, paid ads, etc.

How Can Global Call Forwarding Help?

Global Call Forwarding can assist your efforts in starting a business in Ohio by providing you with a virtual or local business number. Since virtual numbers work over the internet, you can receive calls on any device in any location. These numbers come with additional benefits of call forwarding, which lets you forward calls to a number where it will definitely be answered. This ensures that no call goes missed. Sign up for a toll free number today and get your business on the road to success in Ohio!

Advanced Call Center Technologies for Sales and Support

As 2019 comes to an end, it is time to review and explore advanced call center technologies that are becoming more popular for sales and support. These technologies and tools help centers drive traffic and work through leads and calls effectively. Some companies have already started investing in advanced tech and more relevant features. Read on for the latest advanced call center tech many companies are considering.

Technologies Used by Call Centers

Call centers assist companies in telemarketing and sales efforts, tech and customer support, and making reservations and appointments. They, therefore, require different kinds of technology to support the work they do. These technologies help centers and employees sort through calls and information, keep and maintain records, and increase customer interaction. Often times, it is through call centers that customers interact with a company. Thus, it becomes important for these centers to utilize tech and tools to their advantage in order to improve customer relations. Let’s have a look at some of the advanced call center technologies available and understand why centers are gravitating towards them.

Virtual Offices With Cloud Communications

Remote call center agents and customer service agents are on the rise. Companies are hiring more and more remote agents in an effort to expand their business without increasing costs. These agents can work from across the world, making it easier for companies to tap into those consumer markets. Having remote agents and a virtual office enables seamless team communications and also ensures that customers can always reach your business.

Advanced Call Center Technologies for Sales and Support
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How to Start Using Cloud Communication

The first step to adopting cloud communications is by getting a virtual phone number. This can be a local or international toll free number based on your requirements. Phone service providers like Global Call Forwarding can help you with a variety of virtual numbers. These include local and international virtual numbers, direct inward calling (DID) numbers, or international toll free service (ITFS) numbers. You can also benefit from additional features like rollover numbers, outbound calling, call forwarding, and so on.

Call Center Analytics

Companies are increasingly investing in various software and applications that provide call analytics and reports. These reports provide statistics about the number and types of calls made, what day/time is most preferred, etc. Likewise, such data provides insight into understanding customer preferences and the target demographic. They help predict customer engagement and improve call center quality assurance (QA). They are also used for evaluating agents’ performances by studying average speed to answer calls, hold times, customer satisfaction ratings, and call recordings. Then, if necessary, agents can be re-trained to help them perform better.

Multichannel Communication Lines

Opening more channels of communication — calls, emails, and text messages — between your business and its customers is essential. The more channels, the more likely customers will interact with your company. There seems to be a growing demand for texting or instant messaging services for call centers. Text message outreach makes it possible for agents to reach customers through yet another path. Most people prefer texting or emailing over phone calls and so, this feature will enable ease of communication on the customer’s part.

Other Innovative Features To Note

Besides the above-mentioned trends, some of the advanced call center technologies also include features and tools to improve customer service. These features help reduce agents’ workload as well as time that may be lost by prioritizing and distributing calls. Keep reading to learn more about these features and how they can be of benefit to your business.

Self-Serving Troubleshooting and Solutions: Today’s customers often want to resolve their customer service issues on their own. For this reason, many companies are looking into self-serving options such as displaying problem-solving information and FAQs on websites.

Callback Features: A new feature gaining attention is the Click to Call feature for customers to request callbacks. Global Call Forwarding has a similar feature called CallMe Click, a widget placed on the business’ website. Customers who visit your website can click on the button, fill in their contact information, and automatically receive a call from your company.

Predictive Dialing: Another popular feature, Predictive Dialing, is programmed to automatically dial a set list of numbers. When a call is answered, it is switched to a representative. These dialers can also screen for voicemails and busy signals and use statistics to predict the best call times.

Staying Up To Date

Now that you are up to speed about the advanced call center technologies available, it’s time to see what you can use for your company. Get your business a phone system that helps you conduct call center QA and also make you more accessible to your customers. Check out Global Call Forwarding’s rates and plans today. Invest in an easy-to-use phone service aimed at improving your customer relations. Happy customers make for a happy business!

FreedomVoice vs Grasshopper Phone Number Provider, Service, and Pricing

Phones in the business realm aren’t going away anytime soon; instead, more and more businesses are populating as a result. But, with all of these providers, choosing among them to fit all of your needs is difficult. Additionally, competitive pricing is very important. Two of the top-rated VoIP phone service providers in the nation include Grasshopper and FreedomVoice. But, what are the differences between these two companies? And, which should you choose for your business phone service needs?

Pros of FreedomVoice as a Business Phone Provider

The most notable and highly reviewed aspects of FreedomVoice’s business VoIP service is that it’s easy to use. Since it doesn’t require any additional software, you can purchase the service, install it, and have it running in just a few minutes. Plus, once it is set up, most reviews note that the software application is quite easy to use and operate. Furthermore, you can pick and choose from any additional features you may need. And, set these up before you make your first call, right from your smartphone device. Some of these features include customizable greetings, simultaneous ring, and call transfer.

Cons of FreedomVoice as a Business Phone Provider

While FreedomVoice boasts ease of use, there are some cons to choosing this phone provider for a VoIP phone number. For starters, they don’t offer as many features as other competitors, including the virtual phone numbers from Global Call Forwarding. For example, you can’t send team messages or conduct conference calling from the VoIP numbers through FreedomVoice. Secondly, with this company, there is no ability to merge integrate VoIP lines with business software systems. These are systems that are used every day like your business CRM (Salesforce, Asana, etc.). Finally, with rates starting at $9.95 for one cloud phone number, there are certainly more inexpensive options available.

FreedomVoice vs Grasshopper Phone Number Provider
Source: Depositphotos.com O#S-4820344 ID#204678092

Pros of Grasshopper as a Business Phone Provider

Just like FreedomVoice, Grasshopper is a virtual number provider. Benefits of choosing this company include ease of set up and the ability to add features to business VoIP numbers. This organization also provides the option to include other, additional features. Some of which can make doing business much easier. This increases overall customer satisfaction when it comes to doing business over the phone.

Cons of Grasshopper as a Business Phone Provider

Unlike FreedomVoice, Grasshopper requires you to have an already established business phone system. A multi-line system or a physical VoIP unit are both examples. This means that choosing FreedomVoice for VoIP management could mean having to fork over money to pay for phone units. Would you rather have the ability to make calls from any device you want, including mobile devices? And, not have to purchase brand new equipment just to make these types of calls? If so, Grasshopper is not for you. Finally, with a starting price of $26 a month, even FreedomVoice is cheaper than this option. So, if money is an important issue for your business endeavors, it isn’t the best choice.

A Better Choice: Global Call Forwarding

Still not sure if either FreedomVoice or Grasshopper is right for your business? That’s because there is a better option available! Global Call Forwarding is more competitively priced than both of these competitors. And, it’s just as simple to set up and use and doesn’t require the purchase of additional equipment to start. Finally, it is competitively priced (with the lowest priced plan starting at $7.95 a month).

Choosing Global Call Forwarding for Cloud Telephony Needs

There is a more affordable way to conduct business without the headache. To set up cloud telephony services with Global Call Forwarding, contact us today.

Accountability: Why Your Business Needs It

To effectively carry out a complex project or implement a strategic business plan, a culture of accountability must be developed throughout an organization. In order to achieve success, everyone within the organization needs to understand the organization’s strategy, their individual roles within the organization, and all specific tasks they are responsible for. Accountability is not limited to staff members within an organization. Managers and business leaders must also follow through on their promises and maintain a commitment to their organizational goals and to their individual performance.

How To Build Accountability in Business

When accountability is absent, the effects can snowball through an entire organization. Particularly when there is a large team with multiple people working in various roles on a project, this can pose issues. The result will be delays in project completion (if the project is completed at all) and negativity eroding attitudes of team members. A lack of trust could develop and both the performance and overall culture of an organization can suffer greatly.

If you want a high-performing team that is committed to taking ownership of their tasks and projects, read on. Here are some tips regarding accountability and why your business needs it.

1. Accountability means creating and nurturing an environment of trust and openness

When team members are behind or make mistakes, it is important that they feel comfortable enough to approach others on the team or a leader of the team for advice or help, with enough time to address and correct the issue. Asking for help can be very difficult, but it can also help to build trust, understanding, and autonomy, which leads to the development of strong teams that are very productive. This is just one tip, which highlights the importance of accountability and why your business needs it.

2. Understanding staff and what individually motivates them

Everyone has different motivations. Despite this, there are specific business culture traits that will lead to increased workplace satisfaction. When team members are given the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop in their roles, along with being made to feel that their contribution is essential, this is a plus for everyone. To help sustain a business culture that supports these values in conjunction with accountability and performance, business owners can avoid micromanagement, stay open to communicating, encourage collaboration, support employee education, and growth, and continue their own educations through conferences and workshops.

Accountability Why Your Business Needs It
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3. Set clear goals that are actionable and provide metrics for success

When a team leaves a meeting or a conversation, it is important that they leave with a clear understanding of what their specific tasks and responsibilities are. This involves going over timelines and deadlines. By defining these aspects clearly, a team can leave a meeting with an understanding of what the next steps to take are, how much time they should spend on these tasks, and what the resulting product should be. Again, this is another critical step in establishing accountability.

4. Track and periodically review your progress, notice successes, and failures

In order for a team member to know when a project is completed and the level of quality that is expected of them, there has to be some form of tracking in place. This tracking method must have clearly defined definitions of success worked into it. Whether the progress is monitored on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, it is important to do this to figure out if the project is on track and within scope.

Even leaders need to remember that they need help in staying accountable. A leader may become too focused on day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the big picture or, in contrast, they may develop such a wide scope that they have a hard time understanding the more intricate aspects of the organization. On the short-term, this may not necessarily cause a problem, but if this continues, this could lead to great difficulty in maintaining accountability to the organizational strategy.

Working with a partner that helps with strategy from outside of the organization could assist in this area. A partner could help leaders to maintain an understanding of where the business is going, as well as to maintain momentum. This outside partner could also help in keeping the team motivated and aligned with the company vision and strategies.

When leaders are committed to their accountability, it can make a huge impact on their organization, which leads to alignment and the overall success of the organization.

Small Business Marketing Trends

The year 2017 promises to be an exciting year for small businesses, and small business owners will need to prepare for changing marketing trends. This article discusses some marketing strategies that companies will use this year. Some of these may be perfect for your business.

Mobile Friendly Websites

In recent years, more people search and use websites on mobile devices than on desktops. Therefore, your websites should be mobile-centric, i.e. optimized for mobile use. Better yet, get a mobile app for your business. There are many available DIY app builders. Take a look at this list of the Best App Makers of 2017.With them, you can build an inexpensive mobile app. A Gallup poll reported that 75% of Americans check their mobiles hourly and use apps 90% of the time.

Consumers are becoming comfortable making mobile payments using mobile pay services. You may want to advertise and offer this service.

New marketing channels that are available to small businesses are mobile-only, downloaded apps such as Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat. These apps are not available on desktops, but they are very popular and have a wide audience.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is not a new trend. However, it continues to be one of the most effective techniques for getting and retaining customers. In a March 2016 survey of US SMB Retail Professionals, over 80% of respondents rated email over other marketing methods for acquisition and retention of customers. Furthermore, a 2014 Email Marketing Industry Census found that 68% of respondent companies rated email marketing over SEO (organic search), content marketing, paid search, offline direct marketing, social media, affiliate marketing, mobile marketing, and online display advertising.

Video Content

Consumers prefer to watch videos than to read text. Videos increase the reach and duration of marketing content, drive leads and sales and, as a result, contribute to the bottom line. In fact, predictions are that global mobile video traffic will increase exponentially from 3.6 million terabytes per month in 2016 to 23 million terabytes per month in 2019. Small business owners should consider increasing the video content on their web pages as well as adding videos to their social media.

Improvement of Blogs

SEO practices affect blog writing. However, if a blog is not useful or informative, readers are likely to leave the website. Therefore, this year is a good time to improve the content of your blogs. Use industry experts or professionals for writing and make sure the content is topical and on point. Your business will benefit from the changes.

International Call Forwarding Service

Global Call Forwarding (GCF) provides an international call forwarding service used by many successful global businesses, both big and small. We provide toll free numbers and local phone numbers to clients in over 150 countries and thousands of cities. We have an advanced network structure and provide customers with 24/7 technical support.

Using either local phone numbers or toll free numbers, your business will have a virtual office in your global marketplaces. The local phone numbers and toll free numbers portray a local presence to your customers. GCF forwards calls made to those numbers to specified destinations. It is a toll free call.

In addition to the many standard features that one expects, such as voice mail, customized greetings, and rollover minutes, GCF’s international call forwarding service provides service features that help small businesses manage call flows. These specialized features are Advanced Call Forwarding, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), and Auto-Attendant.

Advanced Call Forwarding

Incoming calls can be directed to standard landlines, mobile phones, or computers using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The destination can be anywhere in the world. Subscribers to the international call forwarding service can customize receiving phones based on time of day, day of the week, holiday schedules, etc. The combinations are unlimited. Calls from non-English speakers (such as Thai, Tagalog, Cantonese or Mandarin) can be routed to agents that speak those languages. Advanced call forwarding is a very useful tool for small businesses.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

The IVR is a computerized system that greets incoming callers and transfers their calls to the proper department or extension. You can program the IVR to meet your specific business needs. Customization includes greetings, announcements, prompts, extensions, and email destinations. A free PBX service is part of the IVR. This is what allows customers to establish a private telephone network, which connects incoming calls to the appropriate extension.

Auto-Attendant

The auto-attendant answers incoming calls and gives a pre-recorded message. Users can program it based on their needs. Often, an auto-attendant gives the following options:

  • If you know the extension, dial it.
  • A list of departments and a number to dial to reach that department
  • Dial “0” for operator.
  • An option to repeat the above menu

Global Expansion

Through the use international call forwarding services and by subscribing to local phone numbers or toll free numbers, even a small business can maintain a global posture. Consider the possibilities of being able to tap into markets in Singapore, Hong Kong, or Thailand. If you own a business in those countries, provide local phone numbers or toll free number to your customers or prospects in North America, South America or Europe and then reap the benefits.

Perhaps 2017 will continue to be a year of growth for small businesses around the world. The Dow has already eclipsed 20,000 for the first time in history. Why not try some of the above marketing trends and supercharge your business.