The State of Ohio has added two programs to further assist small businesses with the unprecedented business interruption associated with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, (a) $125 million in Small Business Relief Grants and (b) $1.5 billion in refunds to small businesses from the Workers Compensation program. Details on both programs are below

  1. Small Business Relief Grant.

    The Small Business Relief Grant (“SBRG”) is designed to provide necessary relief to Ohio businesses that have been negatively impacted by the effects of COVID-19. The State has designated up to one hundred twenty-five  million dollars ($125,000,000) of funding received by the State of Ohio from the Federal CARES Act to provide $10,000 grants to small businesses to assist in ensuring the survival and stability of these crucial businesses.

    Some of the terms  are:

    • The applicant business is a for-profit entity (corporation, LLC, partnership, joint venture, sole proprietor).
    • The applicant business is an employer firm with at least 1 and no more than 25 Ohio employees paid via W2 wages as of 1/1/2020, determined either by a headcount or full-time equivalent employee calculation.
      • NOTE: A headcount calculation should include both part-time and full-time employees. A full-time equivalent calculation equals the total hours compensated for all W2 employees in calendar year 2019 divided by 2,080.
    • The applicant business has a physical location in Ohio and earns at least 90% of annual revenue from activities based in Ohio.
    • The applicant business has been in continuous operation since January 1, 2020, except for interruptions required by COVID-19 public health orders, and has the ability to continue operations as a going concern, taking into account a potential program grant.
    • The applicant business has experienced revenue loss or incurred unplanned costs substantially caused by COVID-19 and a grant is necessary to help it recover from the impact of COVID-19.
    • The applicant business is in good standing with the Ohio Secretary of State, the Ohio Department of Taxation, and any other governmental entity charged with regulating the business.
    • If applicable, the applicant business has fully utilized any other government support received (including both grants and loans) by the applicant business for business expenses incurred due to COVID-19 or that can be utilized for business expenses incurred due to COVID-19.
    • The link for the Ohio Small Business Relief Grant program from the Ohio Development Services Agency is here.

    There are also restrictions that may nullify your ability to obtain a grant.  Contact Jane Schulte at Finney Law Firm for more information on how we can assist you in navigating the application process.

  2. Workers Compensation refunds.

    • This is the second refund program this year, this time distributing $1.5 billion in excess funds held by the Ohio Worker’s Compensation program to Ohio employers. BWC started sending checks to up to 200,000 private and public employers in its system in late October after first applying the dividend to any unpaid balances. The dividend follows a similar dividend in April, where the average check size was $8,500.
    • The refunds are automatically calculated and the checks sent by the BWC. No action on the part of employers is necessary.
    • The announcement from the BWC is here.




Jane Schulte, Small Business Solutions Group



We all know that body language sometimes speaks more clearly about what we are thinking than our actual words.  We know that crossing our arms while speaking (or listening) communicates that we may be closed off; rolling our eyes makes a statement that we don’t agree with what is being said; looking away may mean we are distracted or bored; and, avoiding eye contact when speaking may mean that we are not being forthright.

But there is also email body language which is the message you are conveying with the written word that may tell the recipient things about you or what you are thinking that you do not intend.

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. ~Dale Carnegie

Have you ever been the recipient of an email that leaves you scratching your head as to the intention behind the words? A lack of response which feels like you are being intentionally ignored? Or an email that was very short which felt as if the sender was being curt? We all have, and in defense of the sender, 99% of the time, they are well meaning and there are other reasons are behind the communication. Rushed for time, lack of proofreading or not responding because they do not have an answer (yet).

For Example

You receive an email from a client asking you a question to which you do not know the answer.  You forward the email to someone else in your office who does have the answer and assume they will get back to you within a reasonable time.  Meanwhile, the client waits for your response.  Your colleague gets busy and does not get back to you until a week later and you then answer your client.

What is the client left with?  The sense that you do not find them important or that you are too busy to handle their inquiry.  In other words, they picture you with your arms folded or visualize you as stressed out with no time to handle the details.  But that was not your intention at all!

How do we avoid this?  When someone emails you with a question you cannot answer, reply immediately that you will need some time to obtain the answer which tells them 1) you received their email; and 2) you are on it! Blind copy yourself and then drag and drop the email into your Outlook ™ tasks or calendar for the next day so you can follow up in a timely manner.

Diligent follow up and follow through will set you apart from the crowd and communicates excellence. ~John Maxwell

Draft like you are writing a letter

Draft as the author and proofread as the recipient. An email should be drafted like a letter in that it should have a greeting and closing (i.e. Good morning/afternoon with the person’s name and a thank you or have a good day at the end).  The body of your email should convey your message concisely so that no two minds can differ on what is being said or asked.  If you draft the email with the reader in mind, you can avoid multiple clarifying exchanges, saving time and of course, showing your attention to detail and professionalism.

The worst distance between two people is misunderstanding. ~Anonymous

Also, it is a good idea to:

  • Insert a meaningful subject line so the recipient knows the nature of your email
  • Proofread and do not rely on spell check
  • Attach the attachment before you draft the email, so you do not forget at the end
  • Insert the recipient’s email address at the end to avoid accidently sending the email before it is complete

At the end of the day, we are all human

Your email body language may leave someone wondering if you are a kind and caring person ready to assist them or an unfriendly and burdened individual that they are bothering.  Since we are all human beings dealing with other human beings, kindness always wins the day.  The more words you can use in your email that reflect kindness and clear information, will not only put you in a favorable light, but also make people feel welcome and that they made the right choice by doing business with you.

Take a few extra minutes to put warm touches on your email to brighten someone else’s day.  When you have clear, positive, and warm engagements in email, others will remember that and may even adopt some of your style so they can pass it on.

Use self-awareness, along with a critical inward lens, when drafting emails. Effective communication is at the heart of every good relationship both inside and outside of your business.

To learn more about effective communication and other Work Smart tools, contact Jane Schulte, 513.797.2855.



Attorney Christopher P. Finney

Finney Law Firm is proud to announce that Christopher P. Finney has recently become AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Martindale-Hubbell’s AV rating is the highest level of professional excellence at which a lawyer can be ranked in ability and ethics, and we are thrilled that Chris has achieved this honor.

The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings System is based on the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell representatives conduct personal interviews with other members of the Bar to discuss lawyers under review. A consensus from fifteen judges and practicing attorneys is necessary to produce a rating. In addition, confidential questionnaires are sent to lawyers and judges in the same geographic location and/or area of practice as the lawyer being rated. Members of the Bar are instructed to assess their colleague’s legal ability and general ethical standards. Lawyers’ ratings serve as an objective indicator of a firm’s ethical standards and professional ability.

I am pleased to have reached this gold standard by this distinguished organization who has recognized lawyers for their high ethical standards and legal abilities for over a century. In an environmental where the market for legal services is highly competitive, the AV Preeminent Rating is a vital tool for prospective clients to evaluate a lawyer before engaging them for legal services.

~Chris Finney

The law firm itself received this rating back in March which provides the assurance that those needing legal services in the areas of Commercial and Residential Real Estate, Corporate Transactional, Business & Commercial Litigation, Labor & Employment Law, Small Business Solutions, Estate Planning & Administration, Public Interest Law, Bankruptcy, Personal Injury and Property Tax Valuation will receive a superior level of professional experience.

You can reach Chris Finney at 513.943.6655.

Finney Law Firm Business Manager Jane Schulte

Small businesses are faced with unprecedented times with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.  For those that were not shuttered by state government orders, there are many struggling to determine how to adjust to the new normal.  If you were fortunate enough to have been able to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program to get through eight weeks of operation, that provides you with some time, albeit short, to begin to think of new and creative ways of doing business now and in the future.  Those who are agile, innovative, collaborative and amenable to change have the best chance to not only survive but thrive.

Respond with courage

Courage is not the absence of fear — it’s inspiring others to move beyond it

~Nelson Mandela

Being a courageous leader is more important now than ever before.  Being willing and able to lead your employees through the fear that plagues almost everyone in our current environment is one of the keys to creating the platform from which to re-launch.  Just as a child takes his cue from his parents as to how he or she is supposed to feel and behave when they are frightened, so must small business leaders understand that their behavior at this time either creates an atmosphere of fear or one of hope.

A high emotional quotient, coupled with self-awareness each day as to how your words, body language and deeds affect your team is imperative.  Fearful people become immobilized and unable to think straight, problem solve and generate high-quality work.  But those who follow a confident, positive and encouraging leader will quickly get on board, adopt the same positivity and row the boat along with their team in the same direction to maximize successful results.  Some days it is hard to maintain an air of positivity, especially when the 24/7 news continues to paint bleak pictures both from a health and an economic standpoint.  Still, it is critical in order to explore a path forward.

Making changes

The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new


Here are a few things to consider on how to stand on solid footing going forward:

  • Review all expenses, large or small, to find areas of reduction or elimination. You would be surprised how many decisions you made years ago when times were good that no longer serve you well.  A few to consider are:  Payroll processing fees/platforms; shopping all lines of insurance through different carriers; subscriptions, associations and membership dues; office supply and equipment vendors; and evaluation of current marketing expenses and their return on investment.
  • Implement technology that allows for all work to be done and saved in the cloud.  Those relying on an on-site server and hard drives and backups for document production and storage are not only prone to cyber-attacks, but also are limited in the amount of work they can do remotely.
  • If your lease is coming up for renewal, you can save money by adopting the new way of “officing.”  We have found through this crisis that employees can be very productive working remotely if 1) they are given the right technology tools; 2) they are given the opportunity to prove accountability and productivity; and 3) they utilize tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype to connect with their co-workers and managers on a regular basis so they do not lose sight of the teamwork approach that makes all small businesses successful.
  • Look at your products and services and evaluate them with a futuristic lens.  Will they be wanted and needed in the short term, the long term or at all?  Can they be revamped and repackaged?  Are there additional products and/or services will that prove more useful? Can you create new lines of business that could naturally stream from what you currently offer?
  • Consider opportunities with complementary businesses to explore consolidation to become stronger, more diversified and present an improved presence in your market space.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and we have seen that be true throughout the history of America.  If you continue to run your business the way it was run in the past, you may get run over by competition that was nimble and changed their processes, procedures and service offerings to what people need now, versus what they needed in the past.

Conquer fear

Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Fear is a very powerful driver.  It is a very scary time for all of us.  But these are also defining moments.  A time for us to collaborate and retool.  Be a change agent to inspire and lead your team to newfound success!


If your small business needs assistance for its non-legal operations relating to cost savings, increased efficiencies and leadership strategies, contact Jane Schulte (513.727.2855).

Jane Schulte

There have been numerous articles written about Remote Online Notarization (or RON) in the past few months, surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and the real estate industry’s need to perform work digitally to ensure that sales, purchases and refinances can occur during the social distancing orders currently in place.

However, there has been some confusion surrounding terminology and differences in digital closings, and we are writing this article is to provide some clarity.


An e-Closing or electronic closing is a mortgage closing in which all the documents are created, accessed, presented, signed, notarized and recorded electronically. They remain in their digital form and nothing is printed out. An e-Closing is conducted with the signor(s) and Notary in each other’s physical presence, thus not accomplishing the objective of full separation of the notary/closer and the parties.

Hybrid closing

A hybrid closing is the same as an e-Closing except that the Promissory Note is papered out and wet-signed (sometimes along with the mortgage), so again the procedure does not accomplish the objective of physical separation.

Remote Online Notarization (RON)

A RON closing, on the other hand, uses an e-Notary to perform notarial acts when the signor is not in the same physical location as the notary.  The signor appears before an e-Notary in a live, recorded two-way audio/visual conference where identification is verified with a photo ID along with knowledge-based authentication technology.  A platform such as DocVerify, provides a tamper-evident seal and uses encryption and multi-layered security to prevent fraud.


Ivy Pointe Title is pleased to announce that it has an in-house e-Notary to provide these services for cash, lender and refinance real estate transactions.  Craig Donohoe, our in-house closer, is now able to perform RON closings for any lender, realtor, borrower or seller who would like the opportunity to sign their documents in the comfort of their homes or businesses, not only to avoid social contact at this time, but also in the future for convenience, speed and efficiency that has not previously existed in our industry.  We also have a second dedicated outside e-notary, Ted Dahmus, who is committed to priority e-closings for Ivy Pointe Title.

For more information on how to place your RON title and closing order, please contact Rick Turner (513.943.5660).