June – July 2008

Cover Story

Cover Story: Lessons learned

A keynote panel of local luminary business owners shared stories about how they built their companies ? and the lessons they?ve learned along the way, at the Upsize Small-Business Summit on April 21.

They are Mark Stutrud, founder and president of Summit Brewing in St. Paul Laurie Brown, founder and president of Products in Minneapolis and Alberto Monserrate, founder and CEO of LCN Media in Minneapolis. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

no waiting

?We are the change we are waiting for,? the inspirational politician says.

If any group could apply the concept to business it should be small-business owners, often touted for their flexibility. While large corporations are notoriously slow to turn, the thinking goes, their smaller counterparts can be quick to adjust to market conditions and customer tastes. Continue reading →


Case study: Marketing

When people think of women who need tape to keep their clothes on, the image of Jennifer Lopez at the 2000 Grammy Awards in a green Versace dress with a neckline that dipped well below her navel comes to mind.

It?s what many retailers were probably thinking about seven years ago as they showed the creators of Hollywood Fashion Tape the door, saying ?that?s not our client.? It?s not what they?re saying now. Continue reading →

Case study: Longevity

Jack Farrell has traveled the world in search of fine wine. But it?s not the vineyards of France, Italy or Spain that have been on his mind. Lately he?s been thinking a lot about Burnsville.

As the chairman, CEO and owner of Haskell?s, Farrell has long pondered a presence ?south of the river,? but he?s a man who?s careful about these decisions. Even as he approaches an incredibly comfortable retirement, he ponders how easy it is to lose what years of hard work and patience have won. Continue reading →

Business Builders

Stopping spam

Though spam can be entertaining in the context of a Monty Python show, at the workplace it's a growing drain on employee productivity. Continue reading →

Build bench strength to protect revenue

What would happen if your best salesperson marched into your office and announced it was time to move on to greener pastures? Continue reading →

Choose plan to suit your business stage

For small-business owners, establishing an employee retirement plan may not feel like a priority, especially in today's economy. But establishing a company-sponsored retirement plan may be one of the smartest moves you can make. Continue reading →

To hire Gen Y, meet high expectations

Employers, take note. The children of the baby boomers have come of age, and regardless of what you call them - the echo boomers, the millennials, or Generation Y - one thing is sure. They're a force to be reckoned with, especially in the workplace. Continue reading →

How to market in downturn

We've all heard the news reports. Our country, and perhaps much of the world, appears to be heading toward an economic recession. Some analysts suggest we're already in one. Continue reading →

Reviving your business

Sometimes it sneaks up on you, other times you know it's the truth but don't want to face it. The business you created and grew is producing a product or providing a service that just doesn't make sense anymore. Continue reading →

Inspiring sales success

Successful sales leaders through the ages have professed that identifying and understanding one's own personal strengths and weaknesses is the first step on the path toward personal and professional performance. Continue reading →

How to avoid entrepreneur investment gaffes

Entrepreneurs share many common traits - passion, vision and dedication among them. But let's focus on something more basic, something that motivates virtually every person who starts a business: money. Continue reading →

Turn your internal site into useful tool

Almost all organizations today have some form of internal Web site, often dubbed the intranet. Continue reading →

Get a legal physical for intangible assets

The word 'audit' sends shivers through the spines of most emerging business owners. It conjures up nightmares of grim IRS field agents in cheap suits poring over stacks of documents in your CFO's now-ransacked office. Why would anyone choose to be audited? Continue reading →

Never leave new execs to ‘sink or swim’

You made the big leap - adding a high-priced executive who is going to take your small business to the next level. After months of searching, resumes, interviews, handshakes, coffee meetings and second interviews, you finally meet the perfect person for the job. You don't hesitate to make an offer, and the person duly accepts and comes on board. Continue reading →

Steps to build a brand

Ever watch Oprah? It's not all about buying the perfect pair of jeans, or the stars' secrets to losing 40 pounds. You might actually learn something, such as the real power of branding. Continue reading →

How to attract younger staffers to your workplace

For the first time in history, small businesses are seizing the economic power and growth opportunities from big business. More surprising, this switch has very little to do with the intricacies of business operations or economies, and much to do with generations. Continue reading →

How to sort strategic from tactical execs

It's hard enough to find great people for your company's next executive hire. But this challenge is complicated by the reality that there are two versions of most executive roles - a tactical version and a strategic one. Continue reading →

Five habits to successfully franchising

Each year hundreds of bright-eyed new franchisors emerge on the market, their sights set on rapid expansion and a continuous stream of incoming revenue. Continue reading →

Turn staffers into company ambassadors

A company's employees can be its most important allies: people who say good things about your organization around town, work hard for you and your clients because they feel appreciated, and go the extra mile without being asked. We also know that unhappy employees can have the opposite effect. Continue reading →

Ancillary benefits for employees

Each day can be a battle for small to mid-sized employers. They can face constant attacks from larger competitors on many fronts, including price points, technological capabilities and even benefits offerings, which are key in helping attract and retain quality employees. Continue reading →

Techniques to cultivating a great culture

When organizations think of success, they often think of the 'P' words to define what it takes to achieve their goals: product, processes, people and most often profit. Continue reading →

Commandments for consultants: First, do no harm

Just like doctors, consultants of all stripes should subscribe to the credo, "First, do no harm." Granted, most consultants are not affecting outcomes as dramatic as life or death, but they do have the ability to seriously cripple an organization with bloated bills, bad advice, and self-serving policies that only serve the health of the consultant's bottom line. Continue reading →

Choosing advisers for small business

Value. Distinguishing it in business-to-business relationships is difficult, but not impossible. Continue reading →

Getting the most from financial software packages

Getting the most from financial Accounting software packages are essential to running your business smoothly and you don?t need an expensive or elaborate package to get the information and benefits you need. Continue reading →