August 2007

Cover Story

2007 Upsize Growth Challenge: Best in show

Sociale Make & Take Gourmet is the overall champion of this year's Upsize Growth Challenge, as audience vote at the wrap-up event June 14.

Co-owners Lisa and Jason Hake reported significant progress toward their ambitious expansion plans this year for their meal preparation company, especially on two fronts: They used a deferred compensation plan to attract an expert in franchising to their company, and were well into the process of doing the same to gain an executive seasoned in raising capital. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

before and after

Before you own a business, here's what you complain about: office politics, bone-headed management, and crummy salary and benefits.

After you own a business, here's what you complain about: slow-paying customers, employees who aren't as passionate as the owners, and the outrageous expense of compensation and benefits. Continue reading →

Back Page

How Dino and Vona Adamidis built Dino’s, one street fair at a time

Dino (the husband) and Vona (the wife) Adamidis have built Dino?s into a $4 million, 11-unit chain of Greek fast-food restaurants around the Twin Cities. They started with $20 in Dino?s pocket, when he arrived from Greece. Continue reading →


Financial guide: Upsize Primer

When Paul Anderson and three colleagues thought they had an idea for a product that would help close large wounds better, they invested $206,000 of their own money to create a prototype before they ever went looking for assistance on the open market.

One of the partners, Dr. Robert Wilke, is a plastic surgeon and another, George Hoedeman, is a University of St. Thomas graduate.

So right off the bat, Wound Care Technologies had a leg up on other companies seeking financing for their early stage businesses. Sources say two of the best things owners can do to help their search for capital are including their own financial skin in the game and having people on staff or a board with experience in varied aspects of running that business. Continue reading →

Business Builders

Why certify? It’s not just a rubber stamp

Minnesota companies are operating in a climate where data privacy and access to information is carefully scrutinized. Data-handling practices of service vendors are being intensely reviewed, because of recent regulations and unsettling post-Enron press coverage. Continue reading →

Five deal-breakers to avoid in business transactions

Entrepreneurs are smart and dynamic people. They know every detail about their business, its strengths and weaknesses, and their vision for the future.

But when business owners are negotiating a partnership, merger or sale of their business, all of that knowledge and assertiveness could hurt them. Continue reading →

Make the Web work harder for your business

Something happened over the course of my maternity leave last spring. The world of Web for business turned on its head.

Somehow, during the 12 weeks it took me to emerge from my blissful postnatal fog, business leaders everywhere were entering into a different kind of clarity, focused on and around the Internet. Continue reading →

Try conciliation court before writing off smaller debts

Before writing off small debts or unpaid invoices, business owners should consider using conciliation court, more commonly known as small claims court, to collect. Continue reading →

Employee benefits

Business owners may know why their company is a good place to work, but it is imperative for employees to agree. Continue reading →


2-minute meeting

Jawed Karim was a hot commodity when he spoke at a University of St. Thomas panel discussion this spring.

A graduate of St. Paul Central High School and now at Stanford University, he co-founded in 2005 YouTube, the service that allows people to broadcast and share their videos via the Web. Google Inc. announced its acquisition of YouTube in October 2006 for $1.65 billion. Continue reading →

Upsize Informer

DEAR INFORMER Believing you need people is first step to hiring wellby Beth Ewen DEAR INFORMER: How do successful CEOs determine early on the people they know they are going to need to grow? I?m ready to expand, but I can?t do it with myself alone. DEAR GROWING: That last sentence in your question may […] Continue reading →

Update 3

?We had our first break-even year,? says Tom Imdieke, president of Line Drive Sports in Lino Lakes and one of three winners of last year?s Upsize Growth Challenge. ?Most people wouldn?t get excited about a break-even year, but considering where we?ve been?? Continue reading →

Real estate

When the CEO of Virtelligence, Akhtar Chaudhri, decided to buy rather than lease a headquarters building this spring, the main reason was nicer space than he could have leased, in a better location, for a better price. Continue reading →


On their first day this spring as new owners of Amcom Software Inc. in Edina, CEO Chris Heim and CFO Dan Mayleben say they instituted a stock option plan, giving options to all employees. Continue reading →


Beth LaBreche is happy she can focus single-mindedly on growing her Minneapolis public relations company, now called LaBreche and focused on reputation management. Continue reading →

Update 2

A new contract with ADP, the giant payroll company, is a coup for Midwest EAP Solutions Inc., the St. Cloud-based firm that provides employee assistance programs for client companies. Continue reading →

Update 1

A new 15,000-square-foot building complete with a second robot is increasing efficiency for Spray Control Systems Inc., the Upsize Growth Challenge winner last year that captured the overall champion award by audience vote. Continue reading →

Web sites

PartnerUp Inc. hit 10,000 users as of June 1 ? that is, 10,000 people who had filled out member profiles at the Web site launched in April, says its founder, Steve Nielsen. That?s about double what he expected by this point. Continue reading →


Disaster recovery is lesser-known part of SBA’s mission

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides loans to build businesses ? and, what?s less known, to rebuild businesses after disasters.

The large fire in northeastern Minnesota in May has prompted several business owners to seek relief through the SBA. The fire consumed 24,000 acres of land and 45 buildings, most of them vacation homes and cabins. Continue reading →