Anna Marie Imbordino is a Chicago native with a passion for the arts, business, and community service. A firm believer in serving above all else, she mixed her diverse passions to create a business that could not only revolutionize the way Chicagoland experiences advertising, but support the local business community.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
For me, the choice was both spontaneous and predestined. I can tell now that everything I had done and learned was leading me right to where I am today. But ironically, the moment I decided to open the business, it was more of an epiphany than a plan. Something inside me, a nagging feeling in my gut, told me to do it, and I trusted that feeling and jumped. It was one of the scariest and most empowering moments of my life. When I opened the business I had no start-up plan, no help, no financing or loans, just some personal savings and a belief that this is what God was calling me to do next.
Tell us about your business.
Chicago Buzz Marketing is a full service marketing and public relations firm that believes in revolutionizing the way Chicago experiences the arts, entertainment, and hospitality. We strive to be cutting edge leaders in our industry: to talk to markets in new and creative ways that inspire, to generate content so contagious that your Grandma will be talking about it, to activate clients to not only be brand ambassadors, but brand warriors. We work hard to be an Ad Agency cut from a different cloth, to combine passionate business owners with creative and conscious advertising, focusing on service and community enrichment.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Our firm has created a program called the Fund Chicago Project. The Chicago Buzz team is passionate about serving those who help others. Our goal is to assist small businesses and non-profits with marketing and developing relationships, at no cost to them.
From fighting to keep the arts alive to assisting the homeless, so many organizations in the Chicagoland area are offering their time and services to better the community and help others. Unfortunately, many of these wonderful organizations do not have the resources to compete with bigger companies, and their work goes unnoticed. Through this program, Chicago Buzz can help these organizations reach more people in need, make connections, and create a “buzz” about the amazing work done by these groups.
Whether they provide our communities with art or just provide a place to relax with friends, Chicago Buzz wants to empower these organizations to continue to make a difference. Together, we can foster and support small local businesses that keep Chicago strong.
We are always accepting donations for this project benefiting charities like the I AM 4 KIDS Foundation, America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta, and The American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life DuPage. To donate, please email email@example.com.
We were nominated our first year in business for the Splash Award – an award acknowledging taking on your industry by storm right out of the gate!
Where is your business based?
We are based in the greater Chicago area with offices in Naperville IL.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first step I took was to meet with a business attorney and make decisions about what sort of business I needed to be and what contracts, tools, staffing materials I would need to start off on the right foot. I only had a finite amount of savings for my startup and I felt it was important to do the research and get help so I would not make costly launch mistakes.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Networking. The first thing I did was get out there and start meeting people. In my opinion, people work with who they like and trust, and I made it a point to put myself out there and prove my ethics and establish my brand identity before I started fishing for leads.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Choosing the right clients to compliment the firm’s vision. I always believed, although I also have learned the hard way, that not everyone is your customer. It is important to know who you are and what you are about, and to stick to that mission regardless how attractive some prospects may seem. Ultimately, you are in control of creating for yourself the business you would like to have.
How did you overcome these challenges?
By remembering that challenges are just that. When I opened the business I “burnt the ship” and never even considered a backup plan. No matter what happens, I move forward as if success is the only acceptable outcome.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I just trust. There is nothing left to do sometimes but trust in yourself, your vision, and your team. Doubt and fear will rob you of your destiny.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We believe that service of humanity and the planet is the number one goal. We do not worry about having the highest profile clients, or the biggest payouts, or industry acclaim; we focus 110% on serving others.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Never take a job you are not proud to be a part of.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Your life is about more than the money you make, so build a business that creates for you the life you have always wanted.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I am a huge Youtuber. I look up videos, tutorials, inspirational interviews, and uplifting music, whatever I may need to keep me going. I also believe in finding mentors you trust. I have coffee dates and network with business professionals I admire as much as I can to learn and grow in my craft.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
A business coach friend of mine gave me a copy of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It was an excellent read and challenges us all to fight the resistance that holds us back from greatness.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Weighted question. I am always learning as if everything I know is not good enough. The biggest challenge I am still working out is learning how to hire, staff, and manage a large team.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Our firm’s goal is to double in size both clients and staff by January 2018. I am working to prepare for this growth by devoting the summer to training and networking activities.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #chicagobuzzmarketing #createbuzz #getnoticed #contagious