June – July 2012

Cover Story

Two winning companies shed painful pasts to drive next round of growth

Sandy Hansen took over AgVenture Feed & Seed Inc. the hard way.

"I started knowing absolutely zero, and I'm not saying that to be humble," she said. "The day I assumed responsibility was the day my husband of 15 months passed away of leukemia," in January 2003.

"It was his business. I was an insurance agent at the time. The only thing I knew about the business was table talk."

Clutching a single sheet of paper with instructions hastily scrawled before his bone marrow transplant - she should sell the company, it said, and listed where she could locate the bank accounts - she decided to dig in instead. The news didn't get better. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

Keeping it real

Courage. Sacrifice. Pain. Those were among the topics explored at the first Upsize Growth Challenge workshop last month, where our winning business owners reminded me why I love the entrepreneurs who talk with us. Continue reading →


Whether you want to franchise your system or buy into someone else’s, attorneys, consultants and owners offer their best advice to do it right

Whether you want to franchise your system or buy into someone else's, attorneys, consultants and owners offer their best advice to do it right Continue reading →

Business Builders

Branding Tips: Turn your brand into powerful tool to boost sales

Does your brand attract new business or do you struggle to find the right prospects? How much time do you spend on dead-end proposals and cold leads? If your brand isn't aligned with your growth strategy, it's time to take action. Continue reading →

It takes a village: why teamwork makes for speedy results

In today's technology-driven marketplace, relationships and workflows are blasting through geographic boundaries. The need for speed-to-market is increasing exponentially. And with economic uncertainty on everyone's minds, companies are under more pressure than ever to perform. How can you create breakthrough solutions faster and more reliably? Collaboration. Continue reading →

Circles of ‘mastery’ help to identify top-notch leaders

There is a common assumption in organizations that leaders evolve through successive promotions until they reach the C-suite, the shareholder table or the public offering. Once they get to the top, they're done. They've made it, right? Continue reading →

How to dodge actions that may kill your brand

I read a recent story about a journalist who called a local business and asked to talk to the owner. The employee who answered the phone said, "He's not here."

When the journalist asked to leave a message, the employee gave a heavily audible sigh and said, "Uh, can you just call back later?" Continue reading →

This online strategy could transform your small business

As a small-business owner, you can't get by being a "jack of all trades, master of none." To succeed, you need to master every aspect of operating your business, from making a product or providing a service, to implementing leading-edge marketing strategies. Yet many small-business owners, who excel at the nuts and bolts of operations, stumble when it comes to marketing. Continue reading →