Jan
17
Minneapolis

June/July 2007

Cover Story

Cover story :: Lessons learned

Upsize invited three CEOs to share their stories at a panel discussion in March, and presents an edited version here. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

business school

"I cornered the market on losing money," says David Pomije, the founder of video-game retailer Funco Inc., about the time before Funco began to work.

"I had three to four failures." In fact, he was hired by the bank that liquidated one of his business failures to dispose of some assets, Commodore computers sold via mail. Continue reading →

Focus

Case study: Building a reputation

In the fast-paced, dangerous and highly competitive world of taxi service, an approach that keeps both passenger and driver first. Continue reading →

Case study: Boosting retention

"All the world's a stage" was a pronouncement Cindie Smart absorbed as a theater major in college. Continue reading →

Case study: market research

Phil Roberts has made a living by giving dining patrons what they needed before they knew they needed it. Continue reading →

Business Builders

Writing improvement

To write for all audiences is difficult. It would be nice if there was a way to write documents and e-mails for clients that were easy to understand and reduced confusion. This is possible!

Technical documentation teams use a form of English called Simple English when writing user manuals. Simple English is a way of writing for all audiences that is uncomplicated and easy-to-understand. Continue reading →

Web development

For business owners and business-to-business marketers, the challenge to develop relevant, shared and cost-effective sales discussions with customers and prospects has never been greater. Here are three ideas to improve your Web site?s interactivity. Continue reading →

Guard trade secrets with vigilance, or lose protection

Intellectual property is one of the most important issues to address, especially if you?re in health care, tech or another innovation-driven industry.

IP is the umbrella term for patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, and it can cause issues that affect your business from an offensive and defensive perspective. Two questions need answers: How do you protect your IP, and how do you avoid exposure for violating the IP of others? Continue reading →

First recognize, then fix, three tech pains

Everyone is hoping for a magic bullet to solve technology pains. The reality is that every company has different needs even within the same industry.

Add the endless array of business solutions to these endless needs, and the possible combinations could give the average entrepreneur a migraine.
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Taxes

Taxes cost money that just about every business person would like to spend elsewhere, and the administrative burden of figuring out what to pay just adds to the pain. Approach the challenge of managing taxes by avoiding risks and embracing opportunities.
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Make sure your family business is passed on

Studies estimate that 95 percent of American businesses are family-owned, and that they generate 40 percent of the gross national product.

If it is true that only 30 percent of family businesses survive into the second generation, then it is important for business owners and their advisers to understand the challenges in passing on the business.
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How to make small mighty in three steps

If you're a "big" thinker (as in, "only large organizations can achieve greatness") you could be overlooking a strategy for boosting your bottom line. Continue reading →

Sales

Marketplace efficiency is making it increasingly difficult to compete on product innovation, and is creating a larger number of companies selling commodity products. Gone are the days of relying on bells and whistles to differentiate your company and its products. Continue reading →

Reputations

Long-term success? Who can think about that when there are so many short-term needs?

Unfortunately, owners of small and new growth businesses sometimes can?t think beyond office furniture, their first few employees or where to find the next customer. Fortunately, however, long-term success is in the back of every entrepreneur?s mind. Continue reading →

Performance

Shakespeare didn't write clichs. But the line "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are merely players" has nearly become one. It is too often used to suggest that everyone in business, and those who serve others, is always on stage in a performance for the customer.
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Is that patent worth the cost? How to tell

If you run a business that develops any sort of technology or has an innovative way of doing something, you have probably wondered whether you should protect your company's most important developments with a patent.

It's an important decision because there are knock-off artists around every corner. Yet patents do not come cheap.
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Don’t drive blind; use a dashboard for your business

Every business collects mounds of data as a result of everyday business activities. Receipts, payments, orders and other information accumulate in the computer systems in your back offices, often growing exponentially as the years go by. Continue reading →

Management Styles

Determining how to manage your team and what level of involvement they will have in making business decisions is no easy task. Continue reading →

Leadership

I am the founder of Ingenuity Marketing Group, which does not mean a thing.

Liz Kuntz, our lead marketing consultant, tells me what to do and when it needs doing. Although I have 20 years of experience in professional services marketing and Liz has less than five, she is the boss when it comes to managing client projects.
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Immigration

When U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided the Swift meatpacking plant in Worthington last December, about one-eighth of the plant's workforce was wiped out, requiring Swift to close down its operations for two weeks. Continue reading →

When monitoring, clear policy guards against legal problems

The Internet and e-mail are the high-tech oils that lubricate the wheels of commerce. But there's a not-so-bright side to these otherwise technological marvels: their misuse for unproductive, non-company-related purposes. Continue reading →

One-page profile can help owners select partners

Have you ever scrambled to assemble questions before an interview? As the manager of a growing business, constantly trying to ?upsize? my talent pool, I routinely interview job applicants, channel partners and service providers. Continue reading →

How to write non-competes to close loopholes

Non-compete agreements are not limited to employment relationships. They can also occur in the sale of businesses, manufacturer?s representative contracts and independent contractor relationships, among others. The validity of such agreements is becoming more important. Continue reading →

How to make those really big decisions, wisely

One of the things I enjoy most about working with clients is the opportunity I have to learn from them. Many of the things that make me better at my job I?ve learned from a customer. Sometimes this accumulates to a critical mass in a specific area, and I realize I have a whole new way to look at things. This happened recently. Continue reading →

Customer relations

With product innovation and operational efficiency easily duplicated in today's global marketplace, customer intimacy has become the remaining differentiating option for building and sustaining a market leadership position. Continue reading →

Get your crisis plan in place before next disaster

Many breathed a small sigh of relief on September 12, 2006. On that date we had officially survived for five years without further terrorist attacks on the United States. But for me, the events on September 11, 2001, were an urgent business wakeup call that I continue to heed.
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Communication

As business owners and managers, we focus all our attention on customers: how to find new customers, repeat customers, loyal customers and more customers than our competition. Once acquired, customers are then segmented, upsold and processed.
Continue reading →