Anne Behner of Visual Impact Imaging
Meet Anne Behner, founder of Visual Impact Imaging
, a landscape design software developer.
What is Visual Impact Imaging?
Visual Impact Imaging offers landscape design software to professional designers in the landscape industry. Our customers include contractors, garden centers and schools. Our software allows the professional to communicate design ideas through the use of digital photography. EARTHSCAPES, our design software, allows the professional to remove away old landscape and drop new design elements, such as trees, shrubs, patios, fence water features, etcetera, onto the image of the property for a personalized design consultation. The homeowner loves seeing the transformation, and the use of our software has proved to be a great method for contractors to secure more design and build projects.
How did you come up with the idea?
I studied landscape horticulture at The Ohio State University
. During my training, we were instructed to use traditional hand drafting methods. I came to realize once I was working in the industry that contractors were adopting to technology to increase design production and communicate design ideas. These methods, now looking back, were archaic and there was room to grow Visual Impact Imaging's EARTHSCAPES landscape design solution.
Within recent years, we've developed a way to expose the consumer to powerful visualization tools. We now offer EARTHSCAPES online, which is a web-based design tool. This application is a way to revolutionize the way a homeowner shops for lawn and garden products. Now you can upload a photo of your back yard, browse through a series of fencing styles and colors, drop the desired look onto the screen, and see how the fence looks on your property before you buy it.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
The overwhelming support from entrepreneurs who pat you on the back during the peaks and constantly keep you motivated through the valleys.
Where did you find your first employee?
I used a temp service. Both Mancan
offered solutions for my staffing needs. In fact, Visual Impact Imaging is fortunate to have a staff member who started as a temp four years ago.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
The Visual Impact Imaging office is located in the Youngstown Business Incubator
(YBI), so a typical day begins with friendly conversation and idea sharing with other YBI portfolio companies. Our office makes use of online contact management systems to allow us to stay up to date with lead follow-ups. Most of the day is devoted to making calls to new leads as well as to existing customers. We want to keep online communication with our industry, because this is where we learn on how to improve our design tools.
What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of and how did they help?
Ohio is filled with many assets for a business start-up. As a YBI portfolio company, we are plugged into social events and learning opportunities that aids in our business’ success.
and the annual expo they hold. This event opened my eyes to the vast number of diverse and growing Ohio-based businesses.
What inspires you?
Success stories from our customers. Such stories validate the reason why you do what you do.
What founders do you admire and why?
Blake Mycoskie of Toms Shoes for developing the One to One program. When Toms sells a pair of shoes, a pair of shoes is given to an impoverished child. And when Toms sells a pair of eyewear, part of the profit is used to save or restore the eyesight for people in developing countries. His creative vision turned an ordinary canvas shoe into a hot trend with philanthropic purpose.
What’s next for you?
Developing channel partnerships that strengthens the landscape industry and supports the entire supply chain from plant grower to homeowner.
Interview by Joe Baur