August – September 2009

Cover Story

‘I will survive’

"It's ugly, very ugly. We've had some customers whose business is down 50 to 75 percent," says Darlene Miller, president and CEO of the Burnsville-based manufacturer of precision parts Permac Industries Inc., when asked how her company is faring compared to this time last year. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

foam pit

"It's fantastic," says Nic Thomley, CEO of Pinnacle Services, about his company's new building in northeast Minneapolis. "We have a dog, we have swings, we have a foam pit." Continue reading →

Back Page

Rebekah Stivers

Rebekah Stivers had an old business plan, to make lingerie for pregnant women, which she unearthed last year to launch Whoa Mamma! A newcomer to the apparel business, she first tried U.S. manufacturers until lucking into a great relationship with an entrepreneur in Hong Kong, who helped her fill her first order from a Target […] Continue reading →


All a-twitter: 10 tips

Utilizing social media as part of your business's integrated marketing plan is a smart move, but you should do it efficiently to gain the most benefits. Here are some best practice tips for Twitter to aid you in finding a solid following. Continue reading →

All a-twitter: Responding to crisis

If you're a business owner, you've probably imagined dozens of nightmare scenarios that could threaten or even destroy your company's reputation. Continue reading →

All a-twitter: Which networks?

The attention given to social networking is well-deserved, and it's not just for fun anymore. Businesses, small and large, can make use of social networking as part of their overall marketing toolbox. Continue reading →

All a-twitter: News & sales

Unless you've been living on a deserted island, it's hard to escape the buzz surrounding Twitter. Continue reading →

Business Builders

Ask questions to choose between two candidates

You posted a job opening and received countless applications. You reviewed a towering pile of resumes, interviewed the most promising individuals and narrowed the field to two exceptional professionals. Continue reading →

You can cut battles over vacation home

Setting up a trust to hold your family real estate, whether it's a lake cabin or other vacation property, is one way to reduce estate taxes and other related expenses associated with individual ownership. Continue reading →

How to avoid common, costly HR mistakes

As companies work through the prolonged recession, many are taking repeated hard looks at where they can economize amid sometimes shrinking revenue. But here's the truth: Poor sales aren't the only factor that can break a small business. Continue reading →

What to consider when asked to fill outstretched hands

Times are tough. Profits are hard to come by. You're grateful that you're still in business and making a go of it. But, you're still keenly aware of the personal and financial hardships that many others are suffering. What do you do when a charity comes to you with an outstretched hand? Continue reading →

Use downturn as prime time to improve company

The recession offers management opportunities to improve profitability and be ahead of the competition when money starts flowing again. During the downturn, proactive management will revamp mission-critical systems and processes and redeploy personnel so they do more with less waste. Continue reading →

How to get a slice of the economic stimulus pie

Although the lion's share of stimulus dollars has been committed to stabilizing and funding state budgets for infrastructure and essential public services, small businesses can still tap an infusion of federal and state money. Continue reading →

Business owners should plan their own careers, too

Entrepreneurs may think that managing an upwardly mobile career is strictly for the movers and shakers within corporations. They often neglect proactive career management because they think they have arrived, or believe there's nowhere else to go. Continue reading →

Detailed study can lead to lower tax bills

Many business owners asked this question when they reviewed 2008 tax returns: "How can I owe this much?" It looks as if the current political environment may not make it any easier on small businesses. Continue reading →

Small firms, too, can benefit from federal tax credits

Not a day goes by without reading about some company receiving federal money because it is "too large to fail." But what is the federal government doing for small businesses, which are the economic engine of this country? Companies are using federal tax credits to improve their bottom line, but are these tools too complicated for the average business owner? Continue reading →