December 2009 – January 2010

Cover Story

Boldly go

Jennifer Smith founded Innovative Office Solutions Inc. of Burnsville in 2001, just months before 9/11 torpedoed the market for office supplies and furniture. When her management team met last fall expecting another rough economic time, they decided to add people and technology, defying so many other CEOs who were halting and cutting. The results are in and they're stunning. Continue reading →



Many business owners received awards this spring from NAWBO Minnesota, the National Association of Women Business Owners, Minnesota chapter. Each was asked a few questions, and each supplied revealing answers that were printed in the program. Continue reading →

Business Builders

Use process to give CEO effective review

Greater scrutiny by legislators and company stakeholders is causing board members to carefully reexamine their responsibilities. Continue reading →

Before going global, do legal, business homework

Expanding your business to international markets can result in new opportunities as well as additional risks. To ensure that the rewards outweigh the risks, approach each foreign market in a methodical manner. Continue reading →

Be careful when updating your firm’s trademark

Like real property, from time to time a trademark may need updating. However, unlike real property, modernizing a trademark can result in the abandonment of the property; namely, the old mark. Continue reading →

Smart strategies to sustain your small business

Even in the midst of a challenging economy, the green movement has managed to make its way from Wall Street to Main Street. From global corporations to sole proprietorships, sustainability has gone mainstream. Continue reading →

How to Create Your Own Social Media Maven In-House

Have you heard about the latest dream job? A California vineyard seeks a social media maven to manage its online conversations. In exchange for witty (yet subtle) product-relevant Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts and blogging activity, the maven receives a salary approaching six figures, plus complimentary room and board in a deluxe villa surrounded by grapevines and California sunshine. Continue reading →

Just try it, when using new networks

Though the subject of social media has been in the news, especially marketing news, when I talk with peers, colleagues and others I'm surprised to learn that many companies and organizations haven't yet begun to use or even learn about these new tools. Surprisingly, many remain focused on improvements to their companies' Web sites and haven't gone much further. Continue reading →

How to operate as economic woe lingers

Even though there have been some glimmers of hope on the economic horizon, it's obvious that businesses must manage their human and financial resources extra carefully while navigating the still choppy economic waters. Continue reading →

Cutting the risk during patent applications

Because patent drafters often charge by the hour, a longer patent usually costs more than a shorter one. But is a longer patent worth more than a shorter one? Continue reading →

No sale in sight? ESOP offers way out of business

Many business owners are singing the blues right now because they didn't sell their businesses a couple years ago for a high valuation. Now that times are tougher, owners can't get their price - and many baby boomers are unable to retire as planned. Continue reading →