PJs, anyone?

Today is something to do with 'wear your pajamas to work' (origin unknown) and while we here at impact like the general sound of that, it's not exactly our jam. The underlying sentiment though, now that, we can get behind.

The idea is that people go to work feeling comfortable and relaxed. And that's exactly what we do every day, not just on designated days. Our team culture is definitely professional, but far from stuffy. (Anyone remember the days of wearing pantyhose and skirts every day?) Yah, we've come a long way.

How about you? What is your workplace attire? Casual? Sporty? Pajamas?

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Reaching and Engaging Millennials? You should be!

On Tuesday, March 20, 2018, some individuals from impact Virtual Services ventured to the Reaching and Engaging Millennials conference located in the great city of Madison, WI.

This conference was very impactful and important as we continue to learn and grow to benefit our clients and their businesses.

At the start of the conference, we first identified the importance of Millennials to the success of businesses. Who exactly are Millennials?  Millennials - a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century (born between 1981 and 1996). We shortly realized they are a group of people that all of our business need in order to move forward and advance within these progressing times.

In our conversation concerning Millennials, we covered the following:

·       The Millennial mindset

·       What matters to them?

·       The challenges Millennials face

·       What motivates them?

·       The Millennial perspective

Along with those items, we also discussed a few tips and tricks that capture the mindset of Millennials, such as social media interactions, polls, surveys, trending items, social media challenges, hashtags, etc. All these areas were deemed to actually keep their interest.

Learning what’s needed in order to keep a Millennial engaged was very helpful as well. They want to feel included in decision making, have open communication, have a freedom to create, accessible leadership, and feel needed as well as rewarded.

In short, we must all realize that the world is changing and becoming engrossed in technology. Within our businesses technology has become more and more necessary. Technology and new, innovative ways of thinking are things that most Millennials understand and grew up with, so they are very familiar and comfortable within those realms. With that being said, taking the time to research and discover specific ways to reach and engage Millennials would be beneficial to your business.

#epilepsyday

Today is International Epilepsy Awareness Day. It's also "Purple Day" - both aimed at raising awareness about the condition that affects approximately 1 in 100 Americans. There is much to learn and know about Epilepsy, but as usual, we like to take a look behind the scenes.

For Purple Day, it all started in 2008, with a young woman named Cassidy Megan, who founded the international grassroots efforts after her own struggles with Epilepsy. From there, the Epilepsy Association of Novia Scotia and the Anita Kaufman Foundation joined to help grow Purple Day around the globe. 

The folks over at International Epilepsy Awareness day have created an entire visual campaign, with multi-media assets, to tell the story of Epilepsy. They have a cute mascot, complete with a full cast of friends and family. 

These are "behind the scenes" examples of marketing-as-storytelling. One is a real-life figure, the others are figures bringing stories to life. Both are relatable, accessible, and infinitely shareable.

We hope you'll take a moment to explore, and learn!

Puppies!

Hold up, before you zoom off for the week-end, you simply MUST pause to celebrate National Puppy Day. For us at impact, that means we get to show off our marvelous pups.  They're our zany side-kicks and we couldn't imagine life without them. Got pups? Let's see 'em!

#letslaughday

Do you remember social media before the "#" sign? The pound sign, the hashtag, the bit of punctuation that enabled the widest mass searches with the absolute least technical or search background?

If you do, it was prior to 2007, when Chris Messina stumbled onto the practice, suggesting people use it to "categorize" content and make it easy for people to find that for which they were looking. It took, and the organic growth has literally changed the way we broadcast, sort, and search for content. Not just on Twitter, but across virtually all relevant social media platforms, as well as traditional broadcasting.

From a marketing perspective, it's a really interesting story. And one that leads to really fun things like following today's hashtag, #letslaughday.  Go, click, have fun!

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"Be Prepared"

Today is National Girl Scouts Day. (It's also "Napping Day" which is perfect post-Daylight Saving Time but that's another post..)

The Girl Scout's motto is: Be Prepared. As an organization that has grown from 18 members in 1912 to over 3.7 million members in 2005, they've clearly followed that motto very well. They have managed to branch out to cover multiple areas in which girls can thrive (STEM, Outdoors, Life Skills, Entrepreneurship) while holding to their core values in preparing girls for leadership. It's an inspiring story, and a solid motto.

How about you? What are your growth goals? Are you prepared?

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impact, From Within

We are proud members of AMC Institute, Association Management Companies Institute. They recently produced an outstanding video series titled, A Day In The Life. The videos are designed to give an insider look at the work of AMCs, and to dispell the myth that we work as 'outside' partners somehow. Instead, the work of AMCs is very much internal to the Associations; we are a functioning 'right arm' of marketing, IT, accounting, membership, and more. So much more - have a look!

Fairy Tales and Storytelling

Whenever people ask what I do (this is Marivic, btw) and I tell them I'm in Marketing, half the time their eyes glaze over right quick. It's not that people don't like Marketing, it's more that people oftentimes don't understand Marketing. However, when I explain the bit about storytelling, they come back to life. Because at its heart, what we do is tell stories. Stories of what we do, the people behind the scenes, the inspiration and motivation, all of it. 

Somewhere along the line, someone in Marketing thought up "Tell A Fairy Tale" Day, which is today. It is a day set aside to celebrate, tell, read and listen to fairy tales from around the world. According to timeanddate.com, here are a few ideas on how to celebrate:

  • Set your imagination free on this very fantastical holiday and re-read all your favorite fairy tales.
  • If you have children in your lives, why not introduce them to some of the world's most famous fairy tales?
  • Bring out your inner writer and pen down a fairy tale. Who knows, you could be the next Hans Christian Andersen!
  • Watch movies based on fairy tales.
  • Host a fairy tale party. Instruct your guests to come as their favorite fairy tale character, decorate the venue as if you were in an enchanted land of fairy tales and serve foods from all your favorite fairy tale stories. Some ideas include caramel apples (Snow White), pea salad (The Princess and the Pea), pumpkin soup (Cinderella) and porridge or rice pudding (Goldilocks and the Three Bears).

Do you have any other ideas? We'd love to hear them!

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Happy Birthday, George!

President's Day is a federal holiday to commemorate the birthday of George Washington, our first U.S. President. Not all states observe it, and yet others observe it in December. And while it is a federal holiday, not all federal services, such as public transportation, shut down. Some schools close, some don't. 

So, it can be confusing, to say the least. And, whenever we encounter such confusion, we like to ask ourselves, "Does this apply to us?" Meaning, is there anything confusing or inconsistent in what we do? Are people having the same, consistent, hopefully positive, experience with our brand and message?

It's a good question. One to ponder as we pause to commemorate our first President. Happy President's Day!

 

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Healthy Computers: How To

At almost-mid-February, things can be, well, slow. We're past the holidays and spring hasn't quite sprung yet, so what's there to do?

Well...how about some computer care? Thrilling, right? 

Well...no.

But, it's an important bit of maintenance that yields rewards in the form of running faster, avoiding viruses, and generally extending the life of your precious 'puter.

Here are some PC instructions, and here are the Mac steps.

Enjoy! Or...do this, and THEN go enjoy something :)

 

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What Does Nutella Mean To You?

National Nutella Day

As marketers, we have to marvel at the incredible journey of the Nutella brand. What started out as “…a smart solution to a tricky problem, the shortage of cocoa supplies following World War II,” has grown to become universally-known and loved. They are a case study in timing, audience research, ad placement, and more. And, even with the huge setback of a class action lawsuit, the brand continues to thrive.

Are you the ‘Nutella’ of your industry? How have you distinguished your brand from your competitors? What is your strategy for brand recognition?

You might not know the answers right now. But hopefully you’re asking yourself these questions. And enjoying some Nutella along the way!

 

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VA "Wish List" - The Most Important Things To Look For In A Virtual Assistant

VA "Wish List" - The Most Important Things To Look For In A Virtual Assistant

Once you get to the point where you (your Association, small business or non-profit) could benefit from professional administrative support, the next step is to figure out what you're looking for in a VA. Not every Association or group is going to need the same type and level of support, so it's important to know what you need and prioritize your requirements. Whatever those are, the basics remain the same. These should be on anyone's "Wish List for An Ideal Virtual Assistant":

Logistics
By working with a Virtual Assistant, you will save on the expense of hiring a full-time employee. This includes the amount of time and money spent on interviewing and training a new employee. This also includes the cost of employee benefits such as health insurance, employee-related benefits, and tax savings. As independent contractors, Virtual Assistants are responsible for their own bookkeeping and taxes. You will not have to worry about incurring such costs, and can even write off the business expense at the end of the year! As such, you'll want to make sure your VA is physically equipped to support the logistics of off-site work. This means the right equipment, such as:

•    Laptop: Up-to-date, with adequate anti-virus software, and compatible with YOUR preferred OS (operating system).
•    Production software: Whether it's Microsoft Office products, or Google Business, or other open software, make sure you're both able to open, edit, and share each other's documents.
•    Messaging platform: Again, it can be one of the dozens out there, but make sure your VA is accessible on the instant messaging platform of your choice (Facebook Messenger, Google Chat, Skype, etc.).
•    Mobile Phone: Your VA is responsible for the cost of their mobile phone(s), so you'll want to confirm that they have an adequate plan AND one that functions easily in your preferred country network.
•    Work space: As an independent contractor, your VA should have dedicated, professional work space. This includes an office with a door, a proper desk, and the ability to reduce outside noise, if possible.

Aptitude
The bulk of the collaboration between you and your VA will be done digitally, which means they need to be well-versed in cloud-based tools. They don't necessarily have to have years of experience in any one program, but they need to understand the basic concepts:
 

•    Know how to create accounts and profiles
     o    For themselves
     o    For YOU
•    Know the basic elements for online profiles/accounts
     o    Company name
     o    Contact name
     o    Contact info
     o    Logo (high-res, transparent background)
     o    Boilerplate
     o    Contact person bio
•    Know how to use online time tracking programs
•    Know how to use team project management programs
•    Other web-based, collaboration tools

Attitude
This is probably the most important item on your wish list. Above all, you want to know that that you can count on your VA, and that they're eager and able to make your wishes come true! A good, positive attitude is usually the result of:

•    Experience. They've done this before, encountered that before. Your VA will have an upbeat, confident attitude because they know there's a solution, and will help you both find it.
•    Education. Formal or not, your ideal VA is well-versed in the tasks YOUR industry requires, whatever those tasks may be. Finding the right background and fit here is key.
•    Maturity. Not necessarily in age, but in mental acuity and agility. Your VA should be able to stay calm in stressful situations, be an excellent communicator, and know how to ask for help when needed. In other words, as drama-free and professional as you deserve!
So there you have it - your VA wish list for 2018. 

Feel free to add to this and contact us, or chat with us on Facebook!

SMBA Business Expo – Your Chance To Market to 300+ People For Only $100!

It's that time of year again, time to register for the annual SMBA Expo!! We've had booths at numerous events, but this one stands out as one of the best attended, and most economical events to attend. 

Registration is open now with for $50 for a SMBA member, or $100 for a non-member (with the option to put $50 of that fee towards member dues if you choose to join SMBA!)  The Business Expo will be held at The Coliseum Bar and Grill at 232 Olin Avenue in Madison on Thursday, January 18, from 4-7pm. 

Food and beer/wine vendors giving free samples will be eligible for a free booth😃

Click here to register now before they reach capacity!!

If you don't wish to have a booth, you will definitely want to put this on your calendar to attend! Free samples, door prizes, and fantastic networking will abound. See you there!

Why Exhibit?

Only $100 for your chance to market your business to 300+ attendees!  Not only that, but if you choose to join SMBA, $50 of your booth fee will go towards membership.

The SMBA Expo offers EXTREME networking opportunities, free appetizers and drinks (beer and soda), incredible door prizes, and the cheapest branding your business will do all year!

Not Exhibiting?  Come Network!

Here are free admission tickets (at the bottom of the flyer on page 1) for you to use.  We also encourage you to share with colleagues and the Madison community – the more people who attend, the more professionals you have to network with!

PaintNite, coming to a town near YOU

Join us for an exciting PaintNite fundraiser to benefit Mobility Training & Independent Living Program, Inc. 

MTILP is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of adults with disabilities.  Help us continue to do our great work by purchasing a ticket to PaintNite!   Thank you for your support!

Location: 2502 Whalen Ln., Madison, WI, 53713
Time: Arrive 6:00-6:30 Painting 6:30-8:30pm

Tickets are $45, and include all materials. Register here.

 

 This is what we'll be painting! "Midnight Reflection"

This is what we'll be painting! "Midnight Reflection"

Experiencing "The Experience"

Jodi and I recently had the opportunity to join the nation's leading experts in Cleaning and Restoration at their annual convention in Las Vegas, NV. We've met some of the folks in this group before, at their expo in Clearwater last spring, but this was a slightly longer show and gave us more time to get to know this industry a little better.

Interestingly enough, the timing was not on our side. This was right on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, and a mere two days from Hurricane Irma landfall. Given that the attendees were all in the CLEANING and RESTORATION (water damage, whoa) fields, many had left or were leaving early, to attend to those needs in Texas and Florida.

It was a unique perspective on two of the largest weather events in the continental U.S. We're back now, but Jodi leaves this weekend to help with animal rescue efforts post-Irma. She's not supposed to come back with any animals but WHO KNOWS...

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AMC's Engaged!

We are always in pursuit of the tools and knowledge needed to best serve our clients. Right now, that takes place in the form of impact's CEO, Jodi Fisher, attending the AMC's Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, for, " a day-long deep-dive into current trends and topics impacting associations managed globally by AMCI members."

We look forward to learning more about what the conference had to share. What are some of your "must-attend" shows in your industry?

 

 Jenny Faucher and Claire Leahy both of Managing Matters, Inc (Jodi Fisher, center)

Jenny Faucher and Claire Leahy both of Managing Matters, Inc (Jodi Fisher, center)

 Visit Milwaukee represents!

Visit Milwaukee represents!

Welcome, ZenToes!

We're excited to announce our newest client, Madison-WI-based, ZenToes!

July 27, 2017, Madison, Wisconsin –impact Virtual Services is pleased and proud to announce the signing of ZenToes as their newest client. As the leading virtual services provider supporting small- to medium-size businesses and associations, it’s another perfect fit for the impact team.

“We’re thrilled with the response to the ZenToes line. Everything we do, from product design to local, high-quality packaging, is done with happy, comfortable, active people in mind,” shares Sarah Shook, Owner, ZenToes. “After working successfully with their sister company, Calls On Call, we know the impact business model and work culture will help us continue our important work keeping people happily on their feet!”

For the full announcement, click here.

BOLD Business Boot Camp!

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  That makes this boot camp over a $40,000 value!   That value is not including the actual education, networking and prizes!  Do you know what the the most beneficial part of this boot camp is?  It could be getting yourself committed to actually getting that dream business of yours started.  When would be a good time?  How does now sound to you?  You can’t afford not to do this.

That makes this boot camp over a $40,000 value!  That value is not including the actual education, networking and prizes!  Do you know what the the most beneficial part of this boot camp is?  It could be getting yourself committed to actually getting that dream business of yours started.  When would be a good time?  How does now sound to you?

You can’t afford not to do this.

 

Sometimes we run across  an honest-to-goodness gem of an opportunity, and can't share it fast enough. That's the case here, with the launch of a fellow entrepreneur's BOLD Business Boot Camp. 

Here's the thing - only 20% of new business survive their first year. And then only half of those exist after five years, with only 1/3 making it past their 10th anniversary. Bottom line? Businesses need to lace up, and hit the ground running. Sessions like these are what that looks like:

Do you know someone starting a business?  Do you think they realize what all is involved with that?  You have the logo, website, slogan, business cards, social media pages, marketing, sales, accounting, head shots, videos, content creation, social media pages and whew!  
What if a boot camp were put together to get all of that done?
As a subscriber to this newsletter you are being invited to send your fellow entrepreneurs to the BOLD Business Boot Camp.
It runs for six weeks on Tuesday mornings starting September 12th from 8am-Noon.
Learn more and register at boldbusinessbootcamp.com and use the code IMPACT25 to save 25%.  
Prices go up in August and seating is severely limited.
 

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Please note: Students that sign up for the entire boot camp or higher using your code will get you a $500 referral bonus! 
As a side note, the BOLD Business Boot Camp is social.  Please like our Facebook page.
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or need some help spreading the word.  Your help with this is greatly appreciated.  Up and coming entrepreneurs as well as existing business owners that never got this stuff done will thank you endlessly.
Good times!
 
James
 

Draw In Customers Business Coaching

The Psychology of Business
Fast & Fun Business Coaching
(608)210-2221
james@drawincustomers.com
http://www.drawincustomers.com
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