Tips To Help You Grow A Healthy Business


business meeting

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How are things going with your business?


Does your business look the same as it did last year? Without some fresh perspective, 2017 won’t be any different.

The year’s first quarter is already coming to a close. It’s past time not only to take a closer look at what your business is doing, but also to remind yourself why you’re in business and who you’re serving.

Here are three questions every business owner should ask themselves today:

1) How much do you focus on your people? It all comes down to people. Are you really in tune with the needs of every person your business touches? 

2) What’s the why of your business? What’s the why for you? What’s the why for your customers? Do you know the why of your business from the perspective of your customers, your employees and yourself?

3) Do you know what you really want from your business? Lots of money? More time with your family? Is all your hard work getting you nearer the goals you have for your business?

Businesses of all shapes and sizes wrestle with hard questions about work-life balance, about making enough money, and about the direction they’re going. Many of them don’t come up with good answers.

One out of every eight businesses in North America discontinued operations in 2016, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Will you become part of that statistic in 2017?

What are you doing to answer the tough questions about your business? Do you even know what to do? Are you praying for miracles and just hoping to get healthy?

“The magic answer is to be realistic with yourself,” said Victor Bierman, a lawyer and partner in Inveriti, a business assessment, strategy and coaching firm in Cleveland. “Let’s look around. Let’s peek under the covers and acknowledge what’s going on.”

It might not make business owners comfortable, but they should solicit blatantly honest perspectives on the health of their business from all of their stakeholders. Looking at a business through the eyes of others can offer valuable insight to help change the way an entrepreneur sees and thinks about the business.

They should ask their most trusted employees whether they really like coming to work and if they don’t then why not? They should ask how comfortable their financial advisors really are with making them a loan. They should take a close look at their customer base to better understand who they’re serving and what opportunities they’re missing.

They should talk with a professional advisor for a realistic, unbiased, educated perspective on the health of their business. Profits alone don’t measure the health of a business.

“One of the things we harp on constantly is perspective,” Bierman said. “Everything’s about perspective. Are you really looking at your business with the right perspective?”

There’s still time to make 2018 Q1 feel different for your business than 2017 Q1.

Off the Beaten Path: 5 Unusual Ohio Tourist Attractions


Cincinnati Subway

“Although all states have something to offer as far as tourism is concerned, the state of Ohio is arguably one of the highest ranked tourist destinations in the country,” noted Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert. From hidden sights to weird attractions and unusual places, Ohio has something for everyone.

One of the most interesting sites in Ohio is the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, which came to fruition between 1000 BCE and 200 BCE. Built by the “mound builders”, this stunning prehistoric effigy mound is 1,330 feet in length and 3 feet in height. A number of earliest records believe that the Great Serpent Mound is a representation of a snake trying to swallow the phases of the moon. However, London West, a local German Baptist minister, proposed in 1909 that the mound represents the woes of the Biblical snake from the Garden of Eden.

Another hidden spot is Helltown, an abandoned village in Summit County, believed to be haunted. According to original folklore, Helltown is teeming with spooked buses, a mutant python, and crybaby bridges, among others. However, many of these myths have been refuted, as reliable sources insist that the “haunted” bus was actually the temporary home of a family waiting to have their permanent home repaired. All in all, Helltown is a great place to explore and let your imagination run wild.

Built by Harry Andrews, an eccentric medieval enthusiast, the Harry Andrews’ Chateau Laroche in Loveland gets its share of tourists every year. Harry used 2,600 sacks of cement and 32,000-quart milk cartons to build the entire castle himself. Although Harry died a couple of weeks after a fire accident, the castle is still run by the youth organization (the “Knights of the Golden Trail”) established by him. Like, Helltown, Harry Andrews’ Chateau Laroche, is worth a visit. Be sure to pack a sleeping bag and spend the night in the castle. You might even spot a ghost while you’re there.

Also, Crystal Cave in Put-In-Bay near Cleveland is the largest geode in the world. It was discovered in 1887 but what’s really unusual about this tourist attraction is the fact that the cave is in a large cavity within a single rock. It features 3-foot long crystals that protrude from the walls. Crystal Cave is estimated to be around 15,000 years old.

The Cincinnati Subway is another off the beaten path that is worth visiting while you are in Ohio, if you can find it. This abandoned project in Ohio came into existence on January 28, 1920, despite the idea originating in 1884. However, the Cincinnati Subway was never completed, as everything came to a halt in 1948. While the old tunnels still exist, the city has blocked the graffiti laden entrances for liability reasons. However, the stunning art-deco Union Terminal should not be missed.

Ohio is filled with numerous unusual tourist attractions making it an attractive destination for both visitors from around the country and international tourists keen on exploring the many sites and attractions. These are fascinating places to visit with a number of them (such as The Great Serpent Mound) boasting a rich and storied history. Whether you are on a vacation, family trip or honeymoon, be sure to experience the thrill of Ohio.

Image Credit: Aaron Bauer

Recruiting and Retaining Qualified Workers a Top Business Challenge for Cleveland Companies

downtown Cleveland

Talent is a top priority at any workplace. And in order for companies to compete in today’s very competitive global marketplace, they need to not only recruit top talent, but retain them as well. But According to polls released in 2016 by the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) , around two-thirds of employers interviewed agreed that recruiting and retaining qualified workers is a top business challenge here.

And retaining employees is often more challenging than recruitment. Workers are not staying in their jobs as long as they used to. The average millennial changes jobs approximately every 4.4 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Job changes are not always related to pay. If an employee becomes bored or doesn’t feel there are career advancement opportunities, they may begin to transition elsewhere. Between networking, social media and online job boards, changing jobs is just one click away.

But the local job market is also a reflection of Cleveland’s growing pains in an economy that is on the move. For instance, Crain’s Cleveland Business notes that a new restaurant pops up in or around downtown Cleveland just about every week. There is just not enough talent to fill local demand for these positions. “It’s an employees’ market right now,” said Chris Hodgson, co-owner Driftwood Restaurant Group. “We’ve started to expand our new hire search outside the city, like Columbus.”

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported that the state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9% in December, 2016, with an increase of 10,300 jobs. The industries with the largest gains were service providers, leisure and hospitality, and educational and health services fields adding 41,000, 13,300, and 11,200 jobs, respectively.

Also, Cleveland businesses that find recruiting and retaining qualified workers difficult can rely on a number of strategies to help them turn things around. First, they can consider upgrading their employees’ skills through advanced education or job-related training. And this can be achieved through a financial assistance program. Companies can also offer a mentoring program as a way of retaining employees they have recruited. According to Lauren Rudman, president of the Cleveland Society for Human Resource Management, learning opportunities can help in recruiting and retaining employees as well. And this can be done through coaching, a cross functional project, and participation in a leadership development program, among others.

“Additionally, the State of Ohio offers a number of programs that can help Cleveland employers attract and retain qualified talent. Through its website, OhioMeansJobs, employers can search through a database of over two million resumes to find available workers with specific skill sets. There are also a number of tools and other resources available for human resource professionals,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

Image Credit: Tim

Craft Beer Industry Hopping in Cleveland


Fueling demand for Clevelanders taste for craft beer, the craft beer industry is hopping in Cleveland. Much of the craft beer is consumed at local brew pubs that create their own unique taste and blend. In fact, Cleveland has an entire district devoted to the local craft beer scene. The Brewery District, located in the city’s Ohio City neighborhood is lined with small independent breweries and pubs. And the city is recognized on almost every decorated list when it comes to breweries. GQ magazine, for instance, ranked it 4th in its ranking of “The Five Best Beer Cities in America”, while and Thrillist Media Group ranked it the country’s 13th- and 12th-Best Beer Cities.

Cleveland has had a rich beer history since the 1840s. But a difficult economic climate in the 1980’s forced local breweries out of business. C. Schmidt and Sons was the last remaining brewery until it closed in 1984.  That is until two Irish brothers took a leap of faith and opened the Great Lakes Brewing Company in 1988. Since then more small independent craft breweries cropped up in Cleveland and around Ohio, including Columbus which is arguably the state’s craft beer capital, transforming the once depleted beer industry into an economic powerhouse.

To meet consumer demand and to compete with other states, Ohio farmers are growing more than 30 varieties of hops and barley which not only benefits the craft beer industry, but local farmers as well. “In addition, the state’s pro business environment has also been a big benefit. For example, a law requiring separate licenses for operating tasting rooms has been eliminated. Other business friendly actions have also helped smaller craft brewers, those producing less than one million barrels annually, by significantly reducing the cost of obtaining a brewing license,” mentioned Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

As a result, Ohio is flourishing with more than 150 craft breweries with over 20 breweries in Northeast Ohio alone. The state is now 4th in the nation for craft beer production, according to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. In addition, Ohioan adults consume 5.1 gallons of craft beer per capita every year. According to reports by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the Ohio craft beer industry contributes approximately $10 billion annually either indirectly or directly to the state economy. Furthermore, there are 83,000 workers employed in the beer industry, contributing $1.9 billion in annual taxes.

Other notable brewers that have helped to establish Cleveland as a hot spot for craft beer are Market Garden Brewery, which is upgrading to a 35-barrel system; and Platform Beer Company,  a production brewery with a tasting room that also serves as an incubator for home brewers desiring to become professional beer masters. Cheers!

Image Credit: Edsel Little

Ohio Wants to Shed Rust Belt Image

Ohio factory redevelopment

With significant advances in education, health care, technology and other industries, Ohio Governor John Kasich recently announced that its time for Ohio to shed its “rust belt” image. “We are no longer the rust belt; we live in the knowledge belt,” he said.

The term “rust belt” was coined back in the late 20th century when Ohio’s economy was mostly reliant on manufacturing. When manufacturing dried up in Ohio, as it did in much of the country, the state sought a more diversified economy. And today, the state is no longer reliant on a single industry. Some of the major industries that have popped up in Ohio include automotive, which is boosted by easy access to rubber, steel, and glass. There’s also a thriving agricultural industry, which contributed $105 billion of Ohio’s total economic output of $898.7 billion in 2010, according to PolitiFact. And then we have the aerospace industry which produces a yearly economic impact of over $8 billion, according to hiVelocity.

Furthermore, Governor Kasich believes that “Knowledge Belt” is more reflective of the current economic reality in the region. Capitalizing on some of the highest ranking educational institutions in the nation that are graduating some of the best and brightest has led to the significant growth in knowledge-based industries that are now the cornerstone of Ohio’s thriving economy. Ohio is an innovative leader in health care, with Cleveland Clinic, as an example. And the state has invested heavily in technology and is on the forefront in a variety of research projects, including with autonomous vehicle research. The list goes on and on.

Also, many of the old abandoned warehouses and factories have been renovated and converted into residential units, office buildings and other uses. The old Joseph & Weiss garment factory in Cleveland will be full of life again when its renovation as a public charter school for gifted children is complete in time for the 2017-18 academic year.
“However, erasing the old image may not be an easy task. Former governor Ted Strickland and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown attempted to rebrand the state as “the Silicone Valley on alternative energy” but it didn’t stick,” mentioned Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

The good news is a number of states have been in a similar situation and successfully rebranded. Las Vegas, for example, gave the label “Sin City” a new meaning with the now infamous tag line “what happens here, stays here”. Ohio can also do the same by embracing its manufacturing legacy and building on a new future as the “knowledge belt”.

Image  Credit: ODSA

Best Quaint Towns in Ohio to Spend a Weekend

granville ohio

Ohio is one of the most scenic and historic states. And from the Lake Erie shoreline to the rural countryside of the Appalachian Plateau, the Ohio landscape is dotted with many fun and exciting quaint towns giving visitors a glimpse into a unique cultural past with a sprinkling of modernity.


Put-In-Bay is a beautiful quaint island village on South Bass Island. Despite its tiny population (138), it is a popular tourist destination with thousands of visitors each day. Visitors from around the country visit here to go inside and explore Crystal Cave, the largest geode in the world, the town’s top attraction. Golf carts are the primary mode of transportation here, but renting a bike is also a great way to see the sights. Gorgeous sunset views of Lake Erie are not to be missed.

Yellow Springs

Yellow Springs is a quaint artsy town located in western Ohio’s Greene County. The town’s carefree, laid-back and friendly vibe is reflected in its colorful character. While here visitors can explore eclectic shops, get up close with nature at the Glen Helen Nature Reserve, and let loose at the town’s incredibly popular twice-yearly Yellow Springs Street Fair, where just about anything goes. The nearby John Bryan State Park is also worth a visit.

Tipp City

Located just outside Dayton in Miami County, Tipp City has a lot to see and do, making it one of the best tourist destinations in Ohio. This lively town with beautiful parks and amazing local restaurants was voted “One of the Best Hometowns in Ohio,” by Ohio Magazine. This mid-18th-century town is home to a quaint historical downtown, which is listed in the National Historic Register. Additionally, Tipp City attracts a large number of visitors every year to its popular annual events like the Canal Music Fest and the annual Tipp City Mum Fest.


Granville is a picture-perfect quintessential town established in the 19th century by settlers from Massachusetts and Connecticut. In the middle of Ohio’s rolling hills approximately 30 minutes east of Columbus, the town’s New England charm has made Granville one of the must-see places to visit in Ohio. Visitors are impressed with the town’s unique blend of old historic buildings alongside cafes, boutiques, art galleries and vintage stores as they stroll through the quaint downtown. The historic Buxton Inn has been in operation here since 1812.

“In addition to a thriving economy and outstanding educational opportunities, Ohio is a fun state to explore. And these quaint towns are a wonderful place to spend an enjoyable weekend,” noted Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

Image Credit: Gone-Walkabout

Cleveland Cavaliers Working Hard to Defend Championship Title

Cleveland Cavaliers

Just as everyone hoped, the Cavs appeared to be on course to successfully defend their championship title with an impressive 28-8 performance at the season opener. Recent wins over the Rockets, Magic, Raptors, and Knicks have boosted confidence in the camp with fans rallying for another championship year, especially when the Cavs came out victors against the Celtics who fought hard. Like the season before, the Cavs’ incredible run appears to be reliant on home-court advantage.

But, just when everything appeared to be right on track, the Cavs fell apart with a disappointing record in January. Some fans were beginning to doubt whether the team could pull off another championship victory. Worst of all, injury issues came from all corners with All-Star forward Kevin Love forced to sit out a Dallas game, which they eventually lost. According to Tyronn Lue, Cleveland Cavaliers coach, Love has back problems and had to leave the court in the first half of a game that saw them overcome Oklahoma City.

The good news is this is not the end. As January ended so too does their misfortunes (we hope) scoring a nice rebound in the first week of February. First, LeBron James seems to have his mojo back. He has an average of 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists. The team is also relying on the efficiency of Kyle Irving who posted a 32-point lead against Houston. And with the big three (LeBron James, Kyle Irving, and Kevin Love) on the court, the Cavs have their sights on another championship title for Cleveland.

“In fact, the Cavs’ impressive win against the Vikings shot Cleveland to the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 33 wins and 15 losses,” mentioned Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert. Their closest rival in the conference, the Celtics, are 31 and 18. LeBron James and Kevin Love are proving their worth to the team once again with an average of 25.7 points and 11 rebounds, respectively. Every player is focused on defending the title. Their guns are blazing, a clear indication that they are after nothing but to make sure the title remains at The Q. Already the Cavaliers are off to their best start in 40 years and if this run continues (excluding January) will no doubt bring success at the end of the 2016-17 NBA season.

Image Credit: Erik Drost

Ohio is on the Road to Self Driving Truck Technology

Ohio smart mobility corridor

Ohio is quickly emerging as the leader in self driving truck technology.  The state was chosen by Otto, a start-up recently acquired by Uber to test its innovative self driving truck technology. And on November 30, 2016, Otto deployed a self driving truck that successfully navigated a 35-mile stretch of Route 33, a four-lane highway from Dublin to East Liberty, known as the Smart Mobility Corridor.

Whenever new technology is created it goes through a rigorous testing phase to get the “bugs” worked out before it is available in the marketplace. In order to test the safety and reliability of something as innovative as self driving trucks you need good roads with real traffic and a variety of weather conditions.

With its great roads and unique climate and topography traversing both urban and rural settings, Ohio is the best place in the country to test self driving technologies. “You want to test when it rains, you want to test when it snows, you want to test when it’s slippery. You have all of the ideal conditions, so in many respects, we’re ahead of everybody when it comes to the ability to develop and test [autonomous vehicles] in a real way,” said Gov. John Kasich.

But this didn’t happen by accident. The Transportation Research Center, a 4,500-acre independent automobile testing facility, is investing $100M to build out a 500-acre autonomous vehicle testing facility in its East Liberty testing grounds that is expected to become the autonomous vehicle testing hub of the country.

With the initial successful testing by Otto of the first self driving truck on Ohio roads, the state plans to invest $15 million for the installation of additional fiber optic cables and road sensors along the Smart Mobility Corridor.  This will allow emerging autonomous vehicle technologies to be tested in the real-world with live traffic and weather conditions. “Data collected on this corridor will allow automotive innovators to test and refine jobs‑creating technologies that are going to help move people and products more safely and efficiently than ever before,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.

Increased safety and more jobs are some of the reasons for a big push forward towards self driving trucks. Right now the truck driving industry is experiencing a driver shortage of 48,000 jobs which is expected to increase to 175,000 by 2024, according to the American Trucking Association. Also, driver fatigue is a big issue for both the driver and traveling motorists. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that approximately 4,000 people are killed in accidents each year involving large trucks and driver fatigue is cited as the leading cause. Self driving technology can help make the roads safer for everyone.

“Ohio wants to be the self driving technology hub and the state expects to attract innovative companies and additional public-private investment in the emerging autonomous vehicle technology,” noted Victor Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

Image Credit: ODOT

Meet the 7 Inspiring Performers Inducted into the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, recently announced the induction of 7 great musical performers in 2017. “Since its opening in 1995, more than 300 performers recognized for their significant achievements and contributions to rock and roll and the music industry have been inducted,” said Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

During its history spanning more than two decades, the museum has attracted over 10 million visitors making it one of the most-visited attractions in Cleveland. The museum injects approximately $107 million into the local economy every year.

Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

When founding members Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood came together to form Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) in 1970, they had one mission; to start where the Beatles left off, an amazing feat to accomplish. Since then, ELO has sold over 50 million records around the world and the group still has a growing legacy and unending success today.

Joan Baez

Joan Baez, an American folk singer and musician, has performed publicly for more than half a century. During her golden career, Baez managed to release over 30 albums, mostly conveying the message of social justice and political consciousness. Her unwavering activism has not just provoked most performers but also has inspired them and after all these years she is still taking the audience by storm.


The 5-member legendary rock band Journey enjoyed much of its success in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Neal Schon, an incredible rock guitarist, creatively combined his skills with the soaring vocals of front man, Steve Perry to create the band’s distinct sound. Journey had a number of popular hits including “Don’t Stop Believing”, which has been featured on popular televisions shows including “Glee”, as well as in the season finale of “The Sopranos”.

Nile Rodgers

Nile Rodgers is a legendary music producer, sonic innovator and performer who developed a unique dance-rock sound, which became so popular that nearly every artist in the ‘80s and ‘90s wanted to be associated with his signature sound. Currently, many soul-groove, funk-inspired, and electro-musicians still try to imitate Rodgers’ signature sound.

Pearl Jam

When Pearl Jam released its first album “Ten” in August 1991, they were relatively unknown. However, when “Alive” and “Jeremy” became double hits the band was launched into stardom. More than a quarter century later, Pearl Jam is still one of the world’s popular modern rock bands.

Tupac Shakur

Known for his complex, personal, and fearless personality, Tupac Shakur sold over 75 million records worldwide. His lyrics sparked conversation about race relations, young black men in America, and rap. By the time of his death in 1996 at the age of 25, Tupac had left behind a legacy that went on to inspire many artists like Eminem, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few.


The Grammy-award winning rock band “YES” is best known for expanding the rock genre both in concert performances and in recorded music sales  and is arguably best known for its hit single, “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. With their progressive and symphonic rock sound, YES is still one of the most popular classic rock artists and are still touring around the country today.

Image Credit: Chris Capell

Ohio Has Most Improved Business Climate in America, says Survey

ohio groundbreaking

America’s CEOs have spoken and Ohio has the most improved business climate, according to a recent survey by Chief Executive Magazine. In its annual ranking of the top 50 states to do business, Ohio moved up ten spots and is now the 12th best state for business in the U.S. Ohio has brought in commonsense regulatory policy, which has greatly helped the state improve its business climate. “The fact that the nation’s CEOs now see Ohio as a top ten state in which to do business is solid recognition of the jobs-friendly business climate we have worked so hard to create here,” said Governor John R. Kasich.

The business-friendly reforms and common-sense fiscal management are paying off for Ohioans. This has allowed the state to develop a strong, balanced budget. And when combined with a reduction of a net $5 billion in taxes has helped bring more jobs to the state. Also, Ohio ranks 12th in the nation for gross domestic product (GDP) growth, according to the latest 2016 quarterly GDP report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

On the jobs front, Ohio has created more than 428,000 new private-sector jobs since 2011, according to JobsOhio. The business friendly environment has allowed many companies to expand their presence in the state. In addition, many companies are making plans to invest in Ohio, with the latest being Fiat Automobiles that has announced plans to invest $1 billion in Ohio and Michigan plants. The investment is expected to create 2,000 jobs in both states, and this is good news for Ohio.

“Not long ago, the state had dismal job creation and retention numbers. The business climate was so challenging that industries and residents started to pack up and leave,” noted Victor Bierman, an Ohio Lawyer and Business Expert. This resulted in an $8 billion budget shortfall, making economic conditions even worse. But, with good governance and great vision, the state has made an incredible resurgence, and is now one of the best places in the country to start or expand a business.

Image Credit: Nestlé