March 2007

Cover Story

Lessons from Floyd

The faxes started coming in December, a few days before the nomination deadline for the Upsize Lifeline Awards. And they kept coming.

Each was from a different business owner, naming Floyd Adelman as their go-to person when problems or opportunities come up in their companies.

In all, nine people nominated Adelman, who owns and operates a local franchise of The Inner Circle, running peer advisory groups with these nine business owners, and many others, as members.

Each member of a group is from a different industry ? by design so they do not compete ? and they meet monthly to discuss their issues. Adelman, a long-time Twin Cities business owner, follows up much more often by phone.

Each person needs something a little bit different, Adelman says, although common themes arise. Indeed, the nine nominations were remarkable in that each featured a ?best lesson? learned from Adelman that was different from all the rest. (Those lessons are quoted with the photograph, taken at Creatis Inc. headquarters in Minneapolis. Two of the nominators could not attend the photo shoot.)

?I see the big picture faster than most people,? Adelman says. ?And then I work on both questioning and tough feedback.? Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

in person

Steven Schussler, creator of the Rainforest Caf?, talks a mile a minute, and about every fifth thing he says makes you laugh out loud.

Joe Heron, CEO of Ardea Beverage, likes to press a six-pack of his company?s airforce Nutrisoda into every visitor?s hands.

Steve Bloom, CEO of the fast-growing Pragmatek, hugs business colleagues that he hasn?t seen for a while, and will do the same for strange reporters upon request.

These are three things I know about these local business owners becaI have the best job in the world: I get to call up anyone and request an interview, and almost all will say yes. (Note to the 1 percent who have rejected me so far: Please see the words ?so far? in the preceding phrase.) Continue reading →

Back Page

How Steve Bloom plans to triple Pragmatek’s size in three years

Bored with running a ?lifestyle? company with about $12 million in annual revenue, CEO Steve Bloom in 2005 brought on a new president and crafted an ambitious goal for the firm he joined in 1991: Triple the revenue of his management and technology consulting firm in three years. A new team hit $22 million in 2006, well above its goal of $18 million, and subsequently raised the bar for the next three years. The hard part, he says: getting everyone aligned to go after the new goal, and especially getting everyone who?s not interested ?off the bus.? Continue reading →


Meet the Lifelines

Upsize invited Minnesota?s small-business owners and managers to nominate their most trusted advisers for the second annual Upsize Lifeline Awards, and share the best lessons they learned.

Six winning pairs (their stories follow) and one special winner, the 2007 Upsize Lifeline of the Year as nominated by nine business owners (their story precedes), were judges. Criteria were the impact of the lesson learned on company performance, the quality of the gratitude expressed, and the relevance of the lesson to Upsize readers. Continue reading →

Upsize Primer: Business law

Bob Hansen remembers December 2000 as particularly harsh. A record-breaking cold snap had settled in the Twin Cities, but for Hansen it wasn?t the weather that made things so bleak.

The co-founder, chair and CEO of Electromed Inc., a medical technology company in New Prague, was grieving. Hansen?s wife and brother had recently died, and as Electromed prepared to bring its first product to market, it was slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit by a much larger competitor. Continue reading →

Business Builders


Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are unique vehicles that offer a variety of advantages to certain business owners.

Most business owners have the majority of their wealth tied up in their companies. An ESOP gives them a chance to cash out some of their equity while rewarding loyal employees and retaining operational control. Continue reading →

Sales management

Marketing and sales. Like oil and water? They don?t have to be.

In fact, it?s vital to companies that their marketing and sales functions work closely to develop objectives that will bring in the revenue your company needs to survive. Continue reading →

Employee benefits

I recently worked with the owners of a small restoration company to review their health benefit plan.

The owners, who were in their 60s, thought the plan they offered employees was wonderful because it paid 100 percent on services such as a hospital stay. What they didn?t notice was that two-thirds of their employees didn?t take the plan because the premiums were unaffordable in relation to their salaries. This benefit wasn?t really serving their people. Continue reading →

Public relations

Public relations can be a powerful tool to help small companies achieve their business goals. Many successful organizations with solid reputations have a public relations firm as a partner. Continue reading →


One of the key decisions for any business is whether to lease vs. buy capital equipment.

Depending on the size of your business, and what services it offers, either option might be best. How do you know for sure? Read on to learn your options. Continue reading →



When CEO Matt Clysdale began expanding and redecorating Maguire Agency offices a few years ago, employees made one thing clear: They disliked the artwork. Continue reading →


Analytics sale to KDV starts with Upsize sponsorship Richard Hoyt was taking calls in January in his new offices at KDV in Brooklyn Park, the accounting and business consulting firm. Hoyt sold his wealth management company, Analytics Investment Advisors, formerly of Excelsior, to KDV, and moved there to oversee the transition with his son, Derek […] Continue reading →


The U.S. Senate Finance Committee in late January had included six changes to S corporation law in its minimum wage bill. Continue reading →


Members of the Sofia Angel Fund were one conference call away from making their first investment late last year, when the target firm was acquired. Continue reading →

Global business

The owner of ThermoDynamo Productions in Plymouth is reaching out to his distant relatives while creating 24/7 capability for Web development work. Continue reading →

Real estate

The ?small suites? at Fifth Street Towers in downtown Minneapolis are attracting enough tenants that expansion plans are underway. With 11 of the original 19 suites leased, five more will be ready by June 1. Continue reading →

Dear Informer

Three words mark┬ástrong start to year:┬áPent. Up. Demand. DEAR INFORMER: How should business owners prepare for some of the key economic trends emerging in Minnesota this year? DEAR PREPARED: A strong beginning to 2007 is pleasing many business owners in the service sector, agree Kirk Hoaglund, CEO of Clientek, and Elin Raymond, president of The […] Continue reading →

2-minute meeting

Employee-owned S corpsurged to lobby new Democratic Congress Continue reading →


Owners need a process for tracking documents, lawyers say

Every small company, unwittingly or not, keeps an electronic diary of its daily activities.

Internal e-mails reveal an employee asking a manager a question, or sharing idle gossip with a co-worker. A word-processing software marks when a project file was created and then revised. A voice-mail system retains a digital recording of a customer placing an order. Continue reading →