February – March 2012

Cover Story

Old school

Kyle Kottke sounds older than his 33 years when he talks about how he grows his business. He likes things simple. He carries debt only on trucks/trailers. He won't invest in a new building because the return on investment stinks. He won't use future cash flow to pay for things today. But the company's results make him seem like a young hotshot: with his two brothers, he has managed to double the size of his family-owned trucking company in five years, and he is actively working on plans to do it again. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

One decade

CALLING ALL 10-YEAR-OLDS. Upsize is 10 years old this year, we're proud to announce, and to celebrate we'd like to hear from all Minnesota-based companies that can say the same. Continue reading →


‘Show me the money’

Business owners who say they're feeling more scrutiny from their bankers aren't necessarily being paranoid: many bankers really are requiring more detailed information than in the years of easy credit before late 2008's financial meltdown. Continue reading →

Business Builders


During the last 30 years, nearly all (net) new U.S. jobs were created by startups. Ironically, though, there are 1.1 million fewer self-employed Americans today than when the Great Recession began. Continue reading →

Love it or not, owners must use Facebook

Facebook has only been around for seven years, but in that short time, it has evolved from a glorified college yearbook to one of the most prevalent ways to share information with people-not to mention the hottest IPO around. Continue reading →

Could you be a bad boss and not realize it?

Yelling at staff. Taking credit for others' work. Using offensive language. These are the qualities of the bad bosses of the world, right? Continue reading →

Is it time for a family meeting? Yes, for most firms

What does a son, daughter, cousin or in-law think about the business owned by a family member?

Maybe a sister is envious of her brother because he's in the business and gets certain benefits but she does not. Another relative works in the business but has no control or influence. A spouse wonders whether she can have a voice in the company's direction. And a future son-in-law wonders if he will ever have an opportunity for a seat at the table. Continue reading →

Why ‘everyone’ is not a viable customer base

I once had a conversation with a business owner, in which I asked how the company defined its target market. The business owner replied, half jesting, half not: "Anyone who has a checkbook with a positive balance." Continue reading →

Buy-sell deals are crucial when a firm is young

If you've started a business, perhaps you have heard about buy-sell agreements. But you might not be certain what they are all about or why you should allocate some of your limited resources to one when there are so many other things that require your immediate attention.
Continue reading →

Improving Board Meeting Effectiveness

Ever sat in a meeting where one person talked for two hours straight and decisions were made without input from anyone else in the room? Continue reading →