As I often tell startups – every successful company starts with a problem. Impactiviti started with several!
The Training Marketplace Problem(s)
Impactiviti began almost 12 years ago because of three problems I saw in our corner of the Life Sciences Training industry:
- Trainers couldn’t possibly keep up with all the vendor companies out there (or distinguish between them easily!)
- Vendors often did not differentiate or message themselves effectively
- Never enough time
Because it was very difficult to devote enough effort to outsourcing decisions, a lot of….let’s just say, sub-optimal….client/vendor partnerships were occurring.
Having been on the vendor side for 10 years previous (Pedagogue Solutions), I was intimately familiar with both sides of this struggle.
Clients: How can we (T&D) figure out who is the best vendor for our needs?
Vendors: How can we communicate our value and get in front of the customers that actually need us?
You know what made it even worse? The regular cycling-in-and-out of people in the T&D department. Knowledge of the vendor community kept leaving out the front door.
I believed I could fix that. And I had to take several very deep breaths, because I had never started a company before.
Impactiviti is born
Here was my very first Impactiviti blog post, from way back in 2006:
And so it has been. Knowledge. Resources. Clear thinking (most of the time…). Humor. And, especially – Making Connections.
The beating heart of Impactiviti right from the start has been solving the problems we discussed above, by providing intelligent, targeted recommendations. Serving as a client/vendor matchmaker.
I get the biggest kick out of seeing clients connect with great vendors they didn’t know about, and helping vendor/partners find client work that is ideal for their sweet spot. It’s one of those rare “everybody wins” business models.
Deciding late in 2017 to re-brand the company, I worked with a designer to create a new logo that would re-focus on our core idea of making connections. So, we now begin 2018 with a refreshed identity and a brand new re-launched website/blog – and a renewed commitment to help both clients and vendors do their best possible work together.
Crazy job description: Go-between
I am a branding guy at heart. I am all about clarity in communications (which led to a second practice for small businesses, called Clarity Consulting). And since my role was going to be a bit unusual, one of my first challenges was: how do I brand this matchmaking consultancy? Fortunately, it starting clicking when I told clients and partners that I was the “eHarmony of Life Sciences Training”. And that reinforced one of the key branding lessons I now use all the time: a great analogy is worth a thousand words.
Impactiviti is consciously designed as a trusted network, to short-circuit wasted time and opportunity by making targeted recommendations. Since it’s my job to get to know the key people on both the client and vendor sides, that’s why I’ve also been called “The Mayor of LTEN” (thanks, Jim P!). I don’t know really everybody, of course, but using our broad network, we can pretty much find whatever our clients need. And, hey – who doesn’t want to be the Mayor?
This journey hasn’t been easy for me, that’s for sure. I’m actually an introvert. I overthink everything. I’m better at ideas than execution. I started out with an unproven business model and 5 kids under my roof, and had to make it up as I went along. But I still love what I do, and I truly enjoy my clients and partners who’ve been on this ride with me. Every year, we’re solving the problems we saw right from the start 12 years ago.
Maybe in a future blog post or two I’ll tell you about some of the lessons learned over the years, as an unlikely but passionate entrepreneur. In the meantime, let know how I can serve you in 2018. Whatever resources you need – the Impactiviti network of great professionals can help you find it!
Steve Woodruff, President, Impactiviti
aka Honorary Mayor of LTEN