It’s a search engine that’s all Ohio, all the time. OhioBiz Web Consulting LLC has launched, a site that provides visitors with free and quick access to Ohio-based business, community, organization and education-related Web sites.

OhioBiz founder and President Mark Geyman says ”the site offers prompt Web site listings to any company or organization that has a physical presence in the state of Ohio. One of the goals of the site is to electronically promote Ohio’s businesses and organizations in one location. Businesses and organizations are strongly encouraged to submit their site.”

Geyman plans to generate revenue by offering potential advertisers opportunities to reach OhioBiz site visitors in the form of text-based category sponsorships.

”We will provide advertisers a means of sponsoring a particular category or categories within OhioBiz in terms of quarterly, semi-annual and annual sponsorships. Also, we will be implementing and integrating targeted keyword advertising so site sponsors and visitors can reap the benefits of a locally-based sponsor’s products and services,” says Geyman.

All sponsorship banners will be text-based, reducing the clutter factor without any pop-up banners.

Raise the roof

Getting a raise can be an exercise in the art of negotiation, according to Management Recruiters International Inc. (MRI), the world’s largest search and recruitment organization. Employees looking for a raise should consider their total compensation package, including bonuses, commissions, health insurance, medical and dependent care spending accounts, profit sharing, paid vacation, stock options and other offerings.

MRI offers the following tips for negotiating a salary increase:

  • Do your homework. Investigate what other companies are paying employees in like positions. Talk to recruiters, review help wanted ads and salary surveys in regional or national magazines, consult trade groups or associations, peruse the Internet.
  • Assess your true value. Take a good look at your skills, talents and contributions. Have you saved your company money? Improved a process? Reached a sales goal? Assess your successes to make a strong case for more money.
  • Be your own advocate. Be sure your superiors or potential new boss know about your accomplishments. This is no time to be modest.
  • Plan ahead. If you are seeking a raise, let your boss know you’d like to discuss this issue in advance of scheduled performance review periods so you can give him or her a peek at what you’ll be looking for from the next raise.
  • It’s not too late. If performance reviews have already been completed, ask your employer for a merit increase or an accelerated performance review that can be retroactive based on your having met agreed-upon objectives.
  • Explore your options. Consider other job opportunities and be prepared to leave your current job if you do not get what you ask for.

Out of the woods?

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s lowering of interest rates has started to revive consumer confidence, according to findings from BIGresearch surveys taken before and after the announced rate cuts on April 18.

In a study conducted between April 4 and April 13, 2001, 3,400 consumers were asked about the economy; 39 percent said they were confident, while 47 percent said they had little confidence. After the interest rate drop, more than 47 percent of consumers said they were confident, while only 39 percent said they had little confidence.

”Consumer confidence certainly is a real measure of trust and hope in our leaders. But consumer confidence is also highly influenced by TV media exposure,” says Joe Pilotta, vice president of Columbus-based BIGresearch. ”It will be important to see if the level of confidence will continue to increase over the next several weeks.”

Watt’s world

Watt/Fleishman Hillard Inc. became the world’s leading public relations firm in 2000 with a 61 percent increase in revenue growth. The firm’s Cleveland office had a banner year, with revenue more than doubling from $2.1 million in 1999 to $4.3 million in 2000.

Watt/Fleishman Hillard’s worldwide revenue was $342.8 million in 2000, beating out its four biggest rivals in the industry. The St. Louis-based firm has 77 offices worldwide.

Risky business

An economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland says corporate managers of late are not practicing good risk management. Joseph Haubrich, an economist and consultant, says business and corporate decision-makers do not understand the risks they take or don’t understand the far-reaching societal effects of their more risky corporate endeavors.

Haubrich cites two cases in which the societal cost of the risk exceeded its private cost: the Great Depression of the 1930s and the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Management needs to study not only how the company would be damaged if the risky endeavor fails, but what its effects would be on the economy, Haubrich argues. For a copy of the bank’s ”Economic Commentary,” send e-mail to [email protected] or fax (216) 579-3050.

Finance guru hits the airwaves

Ivan Gelfand, the father of institutional cash management, is taking his financial know-how to the street. Gelfand, past president of the Cleveland Business Economists Club and a member of several boards of trustees and directors around Northeast Ohio, can be seen on Fox 8 News in the Morning’s ”Streetwise” segment, which airs at 6:40 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

During the segment, Gelfand, a nationally recognized expert in the fields of investments, corporate and personal finance and business forecasting, takes questions from early rising viewers via phone or e-mail.

Give and take

Despite what you hear about the slowing economy and loosening job market, prospective employees still have strong negotiating power when it comes to determining salaries. According to a recent survey by Management Recruiters International, prospects are more prepared when they receive a job offer. They have researched what like positions pay, assessed what value they bring to the table and certainly aren’t shy telling you so.

MRI’s survey also revealed that employees aren’t just concerned with basic compensation; they’re seeking complete packages that include bonuses, commissions, health insurance, profit sharing, paid vacations, stock options and other benefits. So be prepared when you’re ready to make an offer. It may not be as simple as saying, ”I’d like to offer you this job.”

Great Shakeout continues

In case you’re wondering just how bad the Great Dot-com Shakeout has become, consider this:’s Layoff Tracker reported in May that Internet-related firms have announced more than 100,000 job cuts since December 1999. With more gloomy reports about employment statistics from the U.S. government, it’s no wonder the economy is in a holding pattern and employers are taking a wait-and-see attitude with filling empty slots.

Creativity in the round

Hiring salespeople is a greater challenge today than ever before. That was the main issue in April at the Creative Business Roundtable, says April Majni, president and founder of Marshfield Group.

Majni was among 12 businesspeople nationwide who participated in the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based event. Her firm, Marshfield Group, is a Mentor-based marketing communications agency and consulting firm.

”Selling a service is a different kind of challenge because creativity is intangible,” Majni says. ”Although you can provide samples of the work your firm has done, you can’t show the client their finished product up front.”

That’s one of the two biggest challenges, the participants concluded. The other is the difficulty in finding salespeople familiar with the creative process. Explains Majni, ”Most are used to selling a product, not a service. There’s a definite learning curve.”

The conclusion? ”My advice was to hire a good salesperson and train them well,” she says. ”A good salesperson is also a good student.”