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Traveling for the long weekend? It’s not too late to save on your travel needs with help from the NASE.

Filed in one of our more fun benefits categories, the NASE group discounts can help you save on rental car discounts from Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise. Or, compare your hotel rate for this weekend against the savings you can get through NASE’s hotel savings program — 10% off Wyndham, Ramada, Baymont Inn hotels, and more!

The NASE can also help with more than just saving a few dollars on your travel needs — being there for you in an emergency while you travel.

Assist America and TelaDoc can be two of the most important benefits an NASE Member uses while traveling. Hopefully, you and your family will never need the services of either benefit. But if you get sick while away from home, these free benefits can save you time, money and worry.teladoc

TelaDoc physicians can diagnose medical problems, recommend treatment and prescribe medicine, all over the phone. If your child comes down with a sore throat, or you forgot to pack one of your prescription medications, just call the toll-free number and a TelaDoc doctor can help.

If you suffer a more serious medical emergency while traveling, Assist America can help. If you are traveling moassist americare than 100 miles from home and need medical consultation, emergency evacuation, care for your minor children or hospital admission guarantee, Assist America can arrange and pay for these services — all free to you as an NASE Member.

If you’re an NASE Member, log into the NASE Web site and write down the phone numbers for Assist America and TelaDoc — and put them in your luggage, car or purse before you go away this weekend. This simple act can save you more than time and money if you have an emergency — it’ll give you peace of mind that you’re taken care of.

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facebook logoNASE has jumped from a Facebook group to a Facebook fan page. It’s a subtle difference, but one that we think gives a better user experience.

On our group, if you posted a question on the wall, it was hard to reply directly to your question. Instead, we had to create a new wall post, but there might be three or four other comments in between your question and our answer.

On the fan page, when you post a question or comment, a thread is created, so you can know immediately what others said about your post.

It’s also a lot easier for us to post up pictures — like of our Achievement Award ceremony last week — and video — like of our staff and members testifying on your behalf on Capitol Hill.

So take a look, and join our Facebook fan page! Post on the wall and let us know you’re there!

It’s one of the best parts of the job — meeting members whose business has been helped by the NASE. NASE's 2009 Achievement Award recipient, Tiffany Washington

This Thursday, we’ll get to meet Tiffany Washington. She received an NASE Business Development Grant last year worth $3,000. She used that money to purchase tax preparation software for her accounting practice, and more than doubled the size of her startup with it.

Because of her tremendous success and her goals to continue growing her business, the NASE is awarding Tiffany with an Achievement Award this Thursday. The award isn’t just a pat on the back (although we’ll do that, too) — it’s $30,000 into her business bank account.

There’s lots more to tell you about Tiffany’s story, so stay tuned!

I read this AP story about high school students having to forgo their dream colleges as I was knee-deep in the NASE scholarship program myself.

The story is a disappointing one, about how many students need to go to their second or third choice colleges this year because they are less expensive or offered a larger financial aid package.

But the article also made what I’ve been working on for the past week even more exciting. Late last week I listened in on the phone interviews of the top three candidates for the NASE Future Entrepreneur scholarship. This scholarship gives an award of up to $24,000 to a student that has already created their own business. The scholarship is $12,000 for the first year of college, and it can be renewed three more times for $4,000 each year.

I’ve been working on the program for about five years now, and this year was by far the hardest year to choose just one FE. The top three candidates all had business ventures that they’d started in high school, and even had employees!

I get to call the recipient today and let them know the good news — I’ll let you all know about it soon, when we have the rest of the scholarship program squared away.

Wait, there’s more, you ask?

Yup! The NASE Scholarship Program also awards $4,000 scholarships to multiple students each year! These are your more traditional, merit- and financial need-based scholarships, and are just as heart warming to award.

If you’re just hearing about the NASE scholarship programs now, you’re too late to apply for one for the upcoming school year. But keep it in mind for next year — high school seniors and college freshman, sophomores and juniors can apply.

Here’s the page to bookmark for next year’s application!

And stay tuned to meet the smiling students who might now be able to go to that dream college, thanks to the NASE.

Tonight, the NASE has to shut down part of its Web site. It’s an important part — the Member log-in area — and it’ll be down for a few days.

That’s the bad news. For someone like me, who likes to do everything online, it’s a drag for me to consider calling the NASE Member Services 800-232-6273 phone number to get information I might need between now and Monday. Things like the phone numbers to favorite benefits, or even to submit a question to one of the NASE business and financial consultants — I have to call for a few days instead of finding it on the Web site.

But the good news is that it’s all being done for great reasons! We’re launching some cool new features on the site soon, and need to do some maintenance and clean up. We’ve moving this blog over to www.NASE.org, and adding the ability for you to comment on, question, and share all the educational articles we have on the Tax Resource Center and Health Resource Center. We have an interactive benefits guide that’ll let you download a PDF of just your favorite benefits for easy reference (making it less of a concern if we need to limit Web access in the future!).

Because the shut down needs to happen, we’re doing it on a Thursday-Sunday of a summer weekend; I hope that minimizes the impact because those are typically slower traffic days for us.

We’ve sent out an e-mail alert to all our members letting them know about the interruption. And we have a big sign posted on the homepage (the shut down only affects the members-only portal, so you can still find lots of great stuff online).

What else could we have done to let you know ahead of time? What do you do in your business when you have technical shutdowns like this? Or even when you’re just headed for vacation for a few days and no one will be around to answer the phone — what’s the best way to communicate to your customers that the interruption is temporary, and with their best interests at heart?

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refined technology solutionsThis week’s member blog comes from Adam Edelman of Refined Technology Solutions, based in Baltmore, Md. Adam has been an NASE Member for six months now, and has owned his business since 2002. Refined Technology Solutions helps small- to mid-size companies grow their business through the integration of marketing and technology.

Adam says he started his blog, Marketing on Demand, “to discuss the different ways in which the ‘marriage’ of marketing and technology can help businesses acquire and keep clients.”

Started just a year ago, Adam’s goal is that “people will see the blog as an educational, idea generator as it relates to marketing on-demand and automation.”

Adam’s blog shares a lot of new technologies he’s come across, (like one recent post about the technology that allows e-mail subscribers to share the content of an e-mail on a social networking site. I saw this in action last week on an e-mail pitch from Ann Taylor — with a simple click of the mouse I could post to my Facebook profile that the store was having a sale this weekend) and also his opinion on the latest marketing research (such as this post responding to the claim that marketing firms should bear some of the blame for the current economic crisis).

Adam says he sticks to business on his blog about 95% of the time, and doesn’t often veer off into personal posts. It’s clearly a blog the helps potential clients learn more about Adam and his expertise — I like how the blog is prominently featured on the “About us” page of Refined Technology Solutions’ Web site. But also in the reverse, if someone stumbles upon Marketing on Demand, it’s made clear that the ideas are coming from Adam’s company.

Thanks to Adam for writing in to tell us about his blog! Do you have a business blog? Tell us about it and you could be a featured NASE Member Blog of the Week! Send us a link to your blog in the comments!

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about “necessity entrepreneurs” – people who might not have been planning on starting a business, but did so after they were laid off.

Keith Hall, NASE’s National Tax Advisor and the man behind the NASE TaxTalk program, encountered a number of necessity entrepreneurs at the tax seminars he hosted around the country this March. He said that at each seminar, there were always a handful of people filing their business taxes for the first time this year after unexpectedly losing their jobs.

The NASE grant review committee commented on it yesterday, too, after reading the April Business Development Grant applications. One applicant talked specifically of being laid off in November, and several others seemed to fit the bill.

And the Wall Street Journal recently featured four start-ups that described themselves as necessity entrepreneurs.

It’s to be expected in today’s economy. And hopefully, these necessity entrepreneurs will be so successful and fall so in love with self-employment, that they won’t go back!

If you find yourself unexpectedly looking to start your own business, ChiefHomeOfficer.com has some words of wisdom on avoiding scams. Check out the article, “Think ‘Career’ not ‘Biz Opp’ when looking for home-based business.” It has some great tips to think about.

You can also get help from the NASE consultants, even before becoming a member. Check out ShopTalk 800, ABCs of Finance and TaxTalk (and once you’re started, EstateTalk can help you plan for the future!).


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