Upsize Minnesota November/December 2021

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“ What really got me going was knowing that when I engaged with people on social media, they were very, very excited about it.” Roseline Friedrich, owner of Roseline’s Candles

MARKETING ON A

BUDGET

Staying in the public eye while protecting bottom lines in uncertain times ALSO:

PLANNING FOR 2022

Advice from experts


A business law team that caters to the unique needs of small and mid-size business owners THE SCHINDEL SEGAL TEAM Jon Schindel

Leonard B. Segal

• Purchase and Sale of Businesses • Corporate Governance • Family Succession Planning • Estate Planning • Commercial Real Estate

• Compliance with Employment Laws • Non-Compete & Confidentiality Agreements • Anti-Harassment & Discrimination Policies • Employment Litigation

jschindel@schindelsegal.com

lsegal@schindelsegal.com

Kyle Moen

Sarah Porter

• Purchase and Sale of Businesses • Real Estate • Compliance and Risk Management • Corporate Governance • Succession Planning

• Corporate Governance • Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestiture • Technology and Licensing Agreements • Residential and Commercial Real Estate

kmoen@schindelsegal.com CON TA C T U S A D D R E S S : SchindelSegal, PLLC 5901 Cedar Lake Road Minneapolis, MN 55416

sporter@schindelsegal.com P H O N E : 952-358-7400

EMAIL:

info@schindelsegal.com


Jeff Wessels Crown Bank

Tim Walsh Ready Credit

John Welle Crown Bank

Brian Hedberg Ready Credit

Converting cash on-demand. Imagine the possibilities.

As airports, stadiums, and other venues go cashless people will need a way to pay electronically. Ready Credit’s patented technology works like a cash machine, but in reverse, turning cash into an instant, anonymous Visa® or Mastercard® prepaid debit card with funds available immediately. Crown Bank is there to provide creative solutions and offer the financing needed to bring this idea to life.

EDINA • 6600 FRANCE AVENUE S • 952-285-5800 | CROWN-BANK.COM MEMBER FDIC

EQUAL HOUSING LENDER


CONTENTS November • December 2021 • Vol. 20 No. 5 • www.upsizemag.com

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Cover story

Pandemic-related uncertainties mean marketing on tight budgets. Roseline Friedrich shares how she established and grew Roseline’s Candles via social media. And marketing experts talk strategies for maximizing the bang for your buck. BY ANDREW TELLIJOHN Cover photograph by Tom Dunn

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Bb BUSINESS BUILDERS

COLUMNS

Upsize Founding Editor Beth Ewen talks with Wen Muenyi, a St. Paul entrepreneur creating clothing and other products that never need laundering

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PAGE 18

Tips for finding the right banking partner for your growing business

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by Aleesha Webb, Village Bank

Get those financials current and keep an eye on the future. Experts share advice on how businesses should take stock and plan for 2022

Founder’s Forum:

Staff list: Who’s who at Upsize magazine and how to reach us. Upsize Minnesota (USPS 024-029) is published bi-monthly by Broad Axe Media, 2908 W 71 1/2 St., Richfield, MN 55423. Periodicals postage paid at St. Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Upsize Minnesota, PO Box 23238, Richfield, MN 55423-0238

BANKING

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CYBERSECURITY How to find the best IT managed service provider partner to keep you safe from cyber hackers by Scott Singer, CyberNINES

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TAX

What to keep an eye on as 2021 comes to a close to ensure you’re on top of your tax situation heading into the new year by Sara Johnston and Matt Klein Olsen Thielen CPAs

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HIRING Advice on finding the right talent to fill your marketing needs in a tight labor market by Jennifer Zick, Authentic Brand

FEATURE

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CATCHING UP

John Sturgess, founder of Adogo Pet Hotels, updates progress on growing his luxury dog hotels and the spinoff businesses he’s gotten involved in as a result of getting into the pet industry

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BACK PAGE A recent Minnesota Chamber of Commerce study showed small business owners lack knowledge of the high-tech landscape and the organization is trying to provide resources that will bridge that gap


Advice driven by advocacy.®

Driven Advocates. Authentic Advice. A client-first and conflict-free philosophy: that’s how JNBA Financial Advisors has operated since our founding days over 40 years ago. During that time we have been recognized for our client and community work, including Barron’s ranking CEO Richard S. Brown and JNBA as the top financial advisor in Minnesota. But what’s most important to us is that since we began tracking in 2001, JNBA has maintained a client retention rate of 97 percent.* To learn more about how advice driven by advocacy® could help you and your family, begin a conversation with our team by calling us or visiting JNBA.com.

MINNEAPOLIS: 952.844.0995 | DULUTH: 218.249.0044 | BONITA SPRINGS, FL: 800.675.4793 | JNBA.COM

*As seen in the 07/20/07, 07/11/08, 2/22/10, 2/21/11, 2/20/12, 2/18/13, 2/24/14, 2/23/15, 8/24/15, 3/7/16, 8/29/16, 3/6/17, 9/18/17, 03/12/18, 9/17/18, 3/11/19, 9/16/19, 3/16/20, 9/14/20, 3/15/21, & 9/20/21 issues of Barron’s magazine. Barron‘s is a trademark of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Please Note: Limitations: Neither rankings and/or recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, publications, media, or other organizations, nor the achievement of any professional designation, certification, degree, or license, membership in any professional organization, or any amount of prior experience or success, should be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if JNBA is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services. Rankings published by magazines, and others, generally base their selections exclusively on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized adviser. Rankings are generally limited to participating advisers (see link as to participation criteria/methodology, to the extent applicable). Unless expressly indicated to the contrary, JNBA did not pay a fee to be included on any such ranking. No ranking or recognition should be construed as a current or past endorsement of JNBA by any of its clients. ANY QUESTIONS: JNBA’s Chief Compliance Officer remains available to address any questions regarding rankings and/ or recognitions, including the criteria used for any reflected ranking. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended and/or undertaken by JNBA Financial Advisors, LLC (“JNBA”)) or any non-investment related services, will be profitable, equal any historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation or prove successful. A copy of our current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. The scope of the services to be provided depends upon the needs of the client and the terms of the engagement. Please see important disclosure information at www.jnba.com/disclosure.


FOUNDING PUBLISHER Wes Bergstrom

EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Andrew Tellijohn atellijohn@upsizemag.com

FOUNDING EDITOR Beth Ewen bewen@upsizemag.com

DESIGN DIRECTOR Jonathan Hankin jhankin@upsizemag.com

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Dan O’Connell dano@upsizemag.com

PHOTOGRAPHER

Tom Dunn tom@tomdunnphoto.com

HOW TO REACH US To subscribe visit www.upsizemag.com/subscribe With story ideas email Andrew Tellijohn, atellijohn@upsizemag.com To advertise email Andrew Tellijohn, atellijohn@upsizemag.com To order reprints email Jonathan Hankin, jhankin@upsizemag.com To order extra or back issues email Jonathan Hankin, jhankin@upsizemag.com To suggest Web resource links, links@upsizemag.com

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One entrepreneur’s solution for the toxic bed

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others of young adult sons may wish to avert their eyes from this story about a St. Paul entrepreneur who is developing clothing and other products that never need laundering. His first major line? Bedsheets for young men, who it turns out rarely wash them — a truth everyone who gave birth to boys intuitively knows but tries to block out when they’re on their own. “Everyone usually gets grossed out at first,” admits Wenceslaus “Wen” Muenyi, “but then they say, ‘I have a 20-yearold son’” who could use those sheets. He is the Cameroon-born entrepreneur who founded HercLéon a couple of years ago with $7,000 from a Kickstarter campaign, pitched his products on Shark Tank last year and this fall won one of five cash prizes in the MEDA Million Dollar Challenge in Minneapolis. “The future of clothing is laundryfree,” his website declares, but the need for his self-cleaning sheets goes beyond the basic gross-out factor. “Every three months men wash their bedsheets. Three months is a long time” for bacteria to collect, says Muenyi, by far the most charmingly nerdy person I’ve ever talked to about dirty underwear and B.O. “They’re stressed, partying and drinking. They’re constantly sick. The bed is quite toxic for them.” Muenyi, 27 years old, got his idea in the classic entrepreneurial way: he found a need and filled it. Grieving after his mother’s death, he took a trip to Iceland with only a small backpack. Right away one particular shirt became very smelly, and soon all his clothes reeked. “I wanted to understand why smells happen,” he recalls, so he dove into the research. “It’s a lot. I talked to everybody.” The short version of what he found: Bacteria and other matter makes clothes smelly, with the type of fabric and the “matter” involved dictating how much. “Most Americans don’t have bidets,” he

UPSIZE NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2021

said, explaining his challenge in creating self-cleaning underwear for kids, another product line. He’s been trying to make a version that customers can wear for 100 days. “It’s just me trying to figure it out,” he said, adding he’s landed on copper for now as the best self-cleaning additive. “Essentially it stops the production of new bacteria and kills the old.” Other winners in the fourth-annual MEDA Million Dollar Challenge are Bon AppeSweet, a Virginia-based healthy dessert company, which took the top prize for $350,000. Slick Chicks is a New York women’s underwear company. FitnesCity is a New York wellness testing company. Seraph 7 Studios is an Eagan-based video game studio. Muenyi has an instant answer when asked what he’ll do with his prize, $200,000. “It means that I would have money to hire employees,” he said, allowing him to fill backlogged orders. As for what’s next, he also has a ready reply. “I’ve talked to NASA. We’d like to see if we fit,” he said, noting on International Space Station voyages, “they just throw away all their underwear.” He wants to supply “some of the most luxurious, cleanest underwear” for trips to Mars. “That’s a long, long way,” he notes. —Beth Ewen founding editor bewen@upsizemag.com

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banking

BUSINESS BUILDERS

Maybe you need a new banker by Aleesha Webb

TIPS 1. Communicate honestly with your banker. Don’t hide or skew information because it will all come out in underwriting. They should be honest with you in return. 2. Find a banker you can brainstorm with and bounce ideas around with. Make sure they put relationships first. 3. Let your banker be honest with you about any challenges you may have in getting your deal done. That honesty is part of the relationship you should be establishing with your banker. 4. Think twice about using another bank due to a slightly lower rate. Your relationship with your banker is supposed to help you through difficult times because they know your business. Loyalty is a two-way street. 5. Find a banker with whom you enjoy meeting, so you don’t mind business discussions. Talking about financials is stressful enough without having a rapport with the person you’re meeting with.

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Five things every good banking relationship needs If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that strong relationships are key to growing a successful business. Unfortunately, many small businesses found out the hard way that they didn’t have as strong of a relationship as they thought with their bank when it came time for help and accessing Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans from the Small Business Administration. Many have since moved their businesses to local community banks. If you’re in the process of evaluating your business banking relationships, ask yourself if you have these five things in your banking relationship. 1. Be honest — own it Every banking relationship needs to start with honest communication. Own your situation and don’t hide anything or skew numbers because everything comes out anyway in the underwriting process. It’s better to be up front about the state of your business, opportunities, weaknesses and your financial position. Then, your banker can help you navigate next steps on your goals instead of wasting time in the process or scrambling to come up with a solution. You’ll have a much better experience if you own your situation and put all your cards on the table up front. Vice versa, your banker should be honest with you from the start. If they need something from you, if it’s

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a long shot on getting a loan closed, what the obstacles could be going into a relationship — they should be setting realistic expectations so there are no surprises. 2. Put relationships first Early this year one of our customers said one of the things he appreciated the most about our relationship is that he could call his banker up and bounce ideas off him — “Hey, I’m thinking about doing this, how would it impact that?” But he went on to say the best part is he knows he can brainstorm without his banker getting worried and having it negatively impact his banking relationship. He’s had that happen in the past and appreciates having a partner that understands he’s an entrepreneur, that he’s thinking about an idea and he’s looking for feedback on the pros and cons. That is exactly what a community bank should do. On the flip side, bankers should be able to be transparent on what is happening at their banks without the fear a customer will leave if they share some of the challenges they may face on getting a deal done. 3. Do the right thing Sure, you might be able to get a better rate somewhere else but over time does that shopping around really pay off? Being with a bank for the long-term should set you up for success during the hard times because they know you and can take more of a chance to support you when times

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are tough. Do the right thing by being loyal and expect that your bank will be loyal too. Loyalty is a two-way street. Sometimes you have to stick it out too when you could go somewhere else because they aren’t able to meet a special rate. In banking, it’s about the long-term relationship, not the short-term gain, that helps you build your business. 4. Earn it As I said, banking relationships should be long-term, so you need to like your banker. There are plenty of great bankers in Minnesota, so if you’re with one that is really good, but you cringe when you have to meet, shop around. Everyone has different styles and personalities and that’s OK. Make sure you find someone who earns your relationship not just with knowledge but also with mutual rapport. Find a good match so you enjoy meeting with your banker and feel comfortable asking questions and talking business strategy. Talking about financials is stressful enough; do it with someone you like. 5. Build something special You should be meeting with your banker more than you think. Have regular check-ins and keep them in the loop on what is happening in your business. It’s better to have them up to speed than to have to spend time catching them up when an opportunity arises and you need to move quickly. And vice versa,

they should want to be meeting with you a couple of times a year, not just at an annual review. Take some time and get out of the office to have some great conversations. Bankers generally have a network of people and can often help you solve problems beyond banking; you don’t always have to be talking just about money. Build something special together by meeting frequently and growing your partnership. Beyond the relationship with your banker, make sure your bank also offers all the services you need and are flexible in tailoring those solutions to support how your business operates. These services should also make it easy to “take your bank anywhere,” accessing products and services that you need for functionality and ease within your business while on the go but still having access to your banker whenever you have a question. That’s a key difference in building a relationship with a community bank. They understand your business, your specific market, and they have the flexibility to work with you. You’re not put in a box; you don’t have to meet exact requirements to get access to funds to grow your business. We’re lucky to have several great community banks across Minnesota. Find the one that is the right fit for you and the long-term success of your business.

“In banking, it’s about the long-term relationship, not the short-term gain, that helps you build your business.” Aleesha Webb Village Bank

Aleesha Webb is president and vice chair at Village Bank: 763.780.2100; marketing@villagebankonline.com; www.villagebankonline.com.

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NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2021 UPSIZE

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cybersecurity

BUSINESS BUILDERS

Finding the right IT managed service provider for your business by Scott Singer

TIPS 1. Look for someone who understands your business and wants to learn more. Are they asking questions and probing to learn the details of your business and what will make it grow? 2. To successfully oversee your technology and grow your business, an MSP needs to know where you are and where you want to go. 3. Watch out for MSPs that try to do too much. If they offer many services, they may do too much to be laser focused on your needs. 4. Whatever your regulatory compliance issues, make sure your MSP understands the controls and can provide documentation of the assistance they are providing you. 5. Seek a proactive provider that goes beyond break-fix services. Forward-thinking MSPs utilize proactive remote monitoring so they can spot and prevent problems before a crisis causes downtime, data loss or other disruptions. 8

There are a lot of managed service provider (MSP) options available to help you with your technology needs. Here are some tips for finding the right one. Look for someone who understands your business and wants to learn more. Your MSP should understand the needs of both your wider industry and your unique organization. An MSP can’t develop appropriate strategies for your business to grow and thrive unless it fully understands your organization and is nimble and experienced enough to work with any specialized software and regulatory compliance that may apply to your business. There are no one-sizefits-all solutions in IT. Even companies with the same number of employees in the same industry can have completely different IT needs. Don’t be the only one asking questions. The most effective managed services provider is one who probes for more information about your company, your needs, your challenges and your goals. That process is key to formulating the right IT strategy for your business. To successfully oversee your technology and grow your business, an MSP needs to know where you are and where you want to go. Does the MSP understand your regulatory compliance issues? Whether your company is regulated to ISO 27001, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) or others, make sure your MSP understands the controls and can provide documentation and show that they are helping your company meet the necessary controls. Ask to see their internal

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procedures such as Change Control, Incident Response, Backup and Recovery and User Account Provisioning. What cybersecurity services do they provide? Can they help prevent ransomware attacks that could disrupt your business? While they don’t need to be a Managed Security Service Provider, they should be able to help secure your environment with tools such as endpoint management, threat detection, firewalls, multi-factor authentication. They should understand what Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) are and how to use them if installing tools and network hardware. Ask a potential MSP if they offer anything beyond managed IT services. If they do, the scope of their business may not be as laser focused as is necessary. Watch for MSPs that are trying to do too much. Seek an MSP with a proactive approach that goes beyond break-fix services. Forward-thinking MSPs utilize proactive remote monitoring so they can spot and prevent problems before a crisis causes downtime, data loss or other disruptions. Fully realized disaster recovery plans that include regular on-site and off-site backups are crucial. Ask any MSP you’re considering if they outsource any part of their support. If you can’t look their technicians in the eye, they won’t regularly be available to come to your place of business. If this is the case, that provider isn’t worth your money. While remote monitoring and service is great for many problems, there are times where you’ll need your IT provider to come on-site for a fix or

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audit. Make sure these situations will be accounted for in your plan. Lastly, ask to go visit their office. You can get a good feel for the company by how busy they are, how efficient does the office look and do employees look happy. Be certain that provider accountability is written into any service level agreement (SLA). You have the right to expect that the MSP you choose will be held accountable if they don’t meet the level of network performance they promise. Ask how the service provider will make good on any failures. Some specifics for an SLA: • Scope of services • Service goals • Immediate response for emergencies in one to two hours • Normal responses from four hours to one day • Network availability or uptime • Other agreed upon key performance indicators (KPIs) • Enforcement — ability to cancel and/or monetary penalties for missing SLAs • Customer responsibilities • Legal language Avoid providers who strictly bill by the hour. One of the biggest benefits of partnering with an MSP is that your IT spending is controlled and predictable. Providers who charge flat fees for defined services benefit themselves by doing work right the first time—and by preventing problems from happening in the first place. Recognize that the up-front cost of managing your network should not be the only deciding factor in choosing your MSP. The financial benefits of reliable security, regulatory compliance, minimized

downtime and averting spendy network disasters should lead you to carefully weigh all the considerations listed here. One metric to ask an MSP is for their managed service renewal rate. That will help indicate how satisfied their customers are with their services. Request references and use them. Current clients can help you determine if an MSP has experience in your industry or (at minimum) with businesses similar in size to your own. A company should be able to provide you with references, testimonials and endorsements. Look for a provider who has been around for a while and has a solid reputation. You’ll have greater peace of mind knowing that your network will be properly managed and that your MSP will work hard to preserve their good name. They are more likely to view you as a partner because their success relies in part on yours. BONUS TIP: Look for experience managing remotework, work from home and hybrid work environments as well traditional office workplaces. There’s a lot more to setting an employee up to work reliably outside the office than just giving them a computer and having them plug into their home network. Given the paradigm shift brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that the managed service provider you partner with has deep knowledge about the special challenges that remote work presents—especially when it comes to additional cybersecurity risks—and have a history of providing solid remote work and hybrid solutions.

“ There are no onesize-fits-all solutions in IT. Even companies with the same number of employees in the same industry can have completely different IT needs.” Scott Singer CyberNINES

Scott Singer is president of CyberNINES: 608.512.1010; inquiry@cybernines. com; www.cybernines.com.

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NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2021 UPSIZE

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tax

BUSINESS BUILDERS

Tax planning in an uncertain time By Matt Klein and Sara Johnston

TIPS 1. The tax picture for the year ahead remains uncertain. Keep in touch with your adviser to maximize your chances of benefiting from changes. 2. The Minnesota Legislature this summer passed a bill conforming to federal regulations regarding PPP and EIDL loans and SBA payments. 3. Watch for communications from the Minnesota Department of Revenue regarding refunds for companies that had filed 2020 taxes before the conformity bill passed. They are working through amending returns. 4. Talk to advisers about the pass-through entity option allowing some businesses to pay Minnesota taxes on business income at the entity level. This allows the business to deduct the Minnesota taxes, as they have no cap on state tax as individuals do. 5. For C corporations, there could be tax rate increases coming in 2022. Consider accelerating income into 2021 or delaying expenses to 2022 to take advantage of the current 21 percent flat rate.

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A major takeaway from the last 20 months of living in a pandemic is the importance of planning and adaptability. As 2021 comes to an end, there is still so much unknown about what 2022 will bring. Will we ever get back to “normal” What new legislation will affect the way I do business? This is what we as CPAs hear from the business community as they continue navigating all the changes that keep coming their way. We do know this: Planning now can help businesses make more informed decisions, which leads to more success, profits and adaptability. Tax planning is a big piece of the planning pie. As much as we accountants love to crunch numbers, it can be difficult to plan for future taxes without a crystal ball next to the giant calculator on our desk. Federally, several proposed tax legislations are floating out there, and at the time of writing this, there is uncertainty about what will pass and when. For the state of Minnesota, we have what is called static conformity, which means federal tax law changes will not automatically translate to Minnesota tax law changes. If Minnesota does not formally adopt federal changes through the legislative process, there could be differences in the treatment of taxable items between the two systems. Let’s examine some hot topics, talking points and tax planning ideas for decision-makers to consider and discuss with their tax and financial advisers. Minnesota conformity Lawmakers passed an omnibus tax bill on July 1, 2021, that retroactively conformed to recent federal tax provisions. Major provisions include:

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• Exclusion from income of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness. • Exclusion from income of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), loan forgiveness and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) subsidy payments for 2020 only. • Section 179 conformity to federal, meaning you can expense up to $1.05 million of eligible fixed assets such as equipment. Special rules apply to building improvements and vehicles. Takeaways • If you have EIDL, SBA subsidies, Restaurant Revitalization or Shuttered Venue operator grant forgiveness, be prepared to pay Minnesota tax for the tax year 2021 unless future conformity is passed. • If you had PPP loan forgiveness in 2021 you no longer need to budget MN taxes for it. • Evaluate an opportunity for tax planning: Section 179 versus bonus depreciation. Bonus depreciation taken federally must be spread over five years for Minnesota but can create a tax loss. Section 179 expensing cannot create a loss but will not have add-back for MN purposes. Accelerated depreciation is a great way to manage your taxes, as there are various methods to accomplish your tax planning goals. Planning might be needed now to purchase and place new equipment in service before December 31, 2021. Suppose you had already filed your 2020 Minnesota return before

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the conformity bill. In that case, the Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) is working through adjusting the returns and hopes to issue refunds without taxpayers needing to amend. Watch for a letter from the DOR if you were affected by late conformity. New Minnesota pass-through entity election (PTE) In 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act limited the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction to $10,000 and increased the standard deduction. In a high tax state like Minnesota, individual taxpayers can easily surpass $10,000 of real estate and income taxes. Due to this, many individuals no longer itemize their deductions and instead take the standard deduction, effectively losing the federal tax benefit of paying state taxes. If the SALT cap still exists for the tax year 2021 and beyond (it is a hot topic in discussion with federal lawmakers), Minnesota will allow a workaround. The PTE election is an option for eligible PTEs that file as a partnership or an S corporation to pay the Minnesota tax on the business income at the entity level. This allows the business to deduct the Minnesota taxes, as they have no cap on state tax as individuals do. The IRS has blessed these SALT workarounds and almost half of the states have or will be enacting similar PTE options. Takeaway: Talk to your tax adviser to determine if your pass-through is eligible or possibly can become eligible to take advantage of this opportunity to save federal tax. This could change how or if you pay a fourth-quarter tax estimate. Action may need to be taken before December 31, 2021.

Federal tax planning considerations • For entities operating as C corporations, there could be a possible tax rate increase coming in 2022. Planning should be considered to accelerate income into 2021, or delay expenses to 2022 to take advantage of the current 21 percent flat rate. • For entities operating as sole proprietors, S corporations or partnerships, the 20 percent qualified business income (QBI) deduction continues to be key in tax planning. The calculation is complex, and full-picture tax planning is needed to maximize it. It is possible that a year-end bonus or accelerated deduction into 2021 could help provide a more significant QBI deduction. • The estate and gift tax landscape could totally change. For those thinking of selling or gifting their business, you should be talking to your accountant and lawyer and be ready to adapt quickly in the event of a new tax bill. • Business entity election — should you consider changing your entity selection to maximize tax savings? There are many other proposed changes that could increase your tax bill for 2021 and future tax years. While it may not be avoidable, it could be helpful to plan for additional taxes when making financial decisions for budgeting purposes. Having trusted advisers in your corner is key to taking swift action when needed to adapt to the everchanging world we are living in.

“ Planning now can help businesses make more informed decisions, which leads to more success, profits, and adaptability. Tax planning is a big piece of the planning pie.” Matt Klein and Sara Johnston Olsen Thielen CPAs

Sara Johnston is a director at Olsen Thielen CPAs: sjohnston@otcpas.com; www.otcpas.com/our-team/sara-johnston. Matt Klein is a principal at Olsen Thielen CPAs: mklein@otcpas.com; www.otcpas.com/our-team/matthew-j-klein. www.upsizemag.com

NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2021 UPSIZE

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BEST OF

hiring

BUSINESS BUILDERS

Attracting marketing talent in a tight labor market by Jennifer Zick

TIPS 1. Hone in on a handful of specific characteristics you’re seeking that would make a candidate successful in a role rather than posting generic job postings. 2. Try finding inexpensive perks you can provide that people love but that also don’t cost you a lot of money. 3. If you can’t compete on compensation, create a culture that people have a hard time finding at large organizations. 4. Apply for awards. If a candidate sees you’ve been recognized for culture, your company will be more attractive. And marketers will value a well-positioned brand. 5. Make sure your website presents your company in its best light. It will be important to candidates and is the first place they’ll look for information.

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This Business Builder first ran in the January/February 2019 issue of Upsize In June 2018, the unemployment rate nationwide dipped below 4 percent and it has hovered below that point ever since. The situation is even tighter in Minnesota. Because we’re overachievers in the Bold North, our unemployment rates are nearly a full percentage point lower than the national average. At less than 3 percent unemployment, basically everyone who wants to be working currently has a job or soon will. If you’re a business leader who’s looking to expand your team, you’re certainly feeling the staffing crunch, particularly if you’re looking for marketing talent. I recently ran an internet search for “most in-demand jobs” and scanned the top six articles. Each of those six included at least one type of marketing role, such as Digital Marketing Manager, Marketing Analyst, Marketing Strategist or SEO/SEM Specialist. The market for skilled marketers is hot right now. In addition to the hyper-competitive market established by record-low unemployment, small businesses often find it difficult to compete with the high salary and benefit demands that accompany the most in-demand workers. So, what can you do? As a small business owner, I have seven suggestions that are helpful for recruiting any talented individual to your team, with a specific focus on marketers: Focus specifically on what your organization needs. Instead of putting out a generic job posting, try to hone in on the four or

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five characteristics you’re looking for in your next hire. The traits or skills you’re looking for should include the areas that will make a candidate successful in the position and within the culture of your organization. Additionally, don’t cram your posting full of every wish under the sun hoping you’re going to find that “marketing unicorn.” That person does not exist. By highlighting the areas that are unique to the position and to the company, you’ll help potential candidates envision themselves in the role. Get creative. It might be difficult to offer some of the financial perks that large corporations do but there are inexpensive things you can do that people love that also don’t cost a lot of money. From pet-friendly offices to remote-working flexibility to office Friday beer carts, your small business has the ability to create a workplace culture that people can’t always find in larger organizations. Many times, candidates will be willing to take lower salaries if they feel they are going to love going to work. Get creative in how you develop and highlight your company culture. Apply for awards. There’s debate out there when it comes to submitting for the “best places to work” type awards. Some organizations love them. Others feel these awards are braggadocios. Many of the awards cost money to apply for and require that employees fill out lengthy surveys. I recommend you look past the effort and expense, repress that Minnesotan reserve and

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throw your company into the mix. If a candidate sees that you’ve won several awards for culture, it’s going to make your company more attractive. Marketers, more than most candidates, will also value that your company is well-positioned for brand recognition in your market. Peacock your website. When someone is looking to make a job change, the first place they go to is your website. Marketers will give particular attention to how you represent your brand online. Take some time to jazz up your site. Get some new, high-quality photos of the office and your employees. Have your existing employees tell their story about what it’s like to work there. Write a blog on why you love your company culture. And certainly, post those award logos when you win them. Make sure your website presents your company in its best light, as this will be extremely important to potential candidates. Stake your claim on company rating sites. Most small businesses don’t think to create (and maintain) profiles on sites like Glassdoor or CareerBliss. I strongly caution against making this oversight. If you don’t create your company profiles on these sites, someone will. You should also go in from time-to-time and try to respond with empathy and transparency when current or previous employees leave a negative review. Don’t let one or two disgruntled former employees shape the narrative that doesn’t accurately reflect the truth about your company. Hit the networking scene. Making the rounds at the networking events can be challenging and networking isn’t easy for everyone. That’s why I recommend avoiding the events

that are purely for networking’s sake. Make an effort to go to events that are related to your industry or that attract the talent you’re looking to recruit. In my experience, the types of people who invest their time at industry events are often the best kind of people to recruit and hire, especially when it comes to marketing roles. Professionals who network are keeping up on trends. They’re learning new things. They’re meeting other people. These are the kinds of marketers you want to know, who will go beyond their desk-job to represent your brand outside the walls of your business. Consider an alternative talent model. For many organizations, it might not be the right time to invest in a full-time marketing hire, especially in an economy where low unemployment is driving up salary and benefits expectations. If your business needs strong marketing leadership, but you’re not ready to make a full-time executive salary commitment, you may want to consider a fractional chief marketing officer on a contract basis. Fractional CMO’s are experienced marketing leaders who work in your organization on a part-time, flexible basis. They combine experience with a cost-effective model to build and scale your marketing program, until it makes sense to hire full-time talent. For many small businesses, a fractional CMO is the perfect solution to marketing talent scarcity issues. There are many ways small businesses can compete and win in the talent war. You just need to think a little outside the box in how you set yourself apart and in how you source the right talent at the right time.

“ If a candidate sees that you’ve won several awards for culture, it’s going to make your company more attractive. Marketers, more than most candidates, will also value that your company is wellpositioned for brand recognition in your market.” Jennifer Zick Authentic Brand

Jennifer Zick is founder and CEO of marketing consultancy Authentic Brand: 612.670.0772; jennifer.zick@authenticbrand.com; www.authenticbrand.com.

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Low-cost looks Uncertain times mean marketing on a budget

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efore Roseline Friedrich opened Roseline’s Candles in Northeast Minneapolis this fall, she was selling her candles via her website. “That way, when I went online to say ‘hey, come buy from me,’ I wasn’t taking orders via direct messages or phone calls, I was just fulfilling orders from my site.” And she had a pretty good year, despite the COVID-19-related shutdown of most in-person retail throughout 2020, by driving people there through social media and video posts on Instagram that automatically post to Facebook, and other sites. She also boosts ads on Google regularly. Her husband handles those sites. But Instagram is the biggest priority, because a lot of her followers are looking for local artists and businesses to support. Friedrich had received some financial assistance from the Black Business Association in North Minneapolis that allowed her to take a social media marketing class, then invested significantly in advertising through those channels and the rest, as they say, was history. “That was the world we lived

in,” she says. “We were all kind of existing on the web. So, I just took it and ran with it.”

Growing going forward

Like many business owners, Friedrich had to figure out how to keep getting the word out about her company when budgets were tight, both for her and her customers. That social media education and the accompanying posts that followed became her lifeblood. She maintained her excitement when people responded to her posts. “What really got me going was knowing that when I engage with people on social media, they were very, very excited about it,” she says, adding that the company has a couple people who help with posting especially since opening the physical location has kept her busy. “We are really intentional about how much time and effort we spend on our marketing. I would never not have a budget for marketing.” She monitors her site’s analytics regularly and can tell when she hasn’t done an Instagram post for a while. “We see a drop in traffic

by Andrew Tellijohn photographs by Tom Dunn

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Roseline Friedrich learned about candle making during an Airbnb trip through New York. It became a hobby that she stuck with and she has now turned into a store in Minneapolis. She hopes to open more down the line.

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COVER STORY and also a drop in sales if we’re not pushing.” The store sells candles and other mostly locally sourced gifts from local artists that are made with sustainability in mind. She teaches candle-making classes, a skill she discovered during an Airbnb experience after coming to Minnesota from west Africa 20 years ago, graduating from Roosevelt High in Minneapolis and then the University of Minnesota. She also sells them in bulk to local stores in larger quantity orders. Until as recently as early 2020, it hadn’t been a goal of Friedrich’s to open a store like this, but she started selling to wholesalers while also working full-time as a mental health practitioner. “I liked my job,” she says. “I didn’t intend on quitting my job within the first few months of my business, but that’s what happened. A lot of wholesalers don’t want someone who is just doing a hobby.” Now she wants to open the gift stores in other up-and-coming, fast-growing suburban cities and find a warehouse where she can expand the wholesale portion of the business. “A lot of those people have to travel out of their city to do stuff,” she says. “My hope is someday to have a place like this closer to them, so that if they want to just go shop for a quick gift or take a candle-making class and go home, they don’t have to make a whole day out of it.”

Experiment and try things

Friedrich’s social media instructor was Pam McCurdy, founder of The Marketing Troupe, a local publicity and consulting firm. McCurdy says social media can be hugely effective, but people need to know their audience. For example, a restaurant selling hamburgers will do most of its sales to people living within two miles of the venue. A lawn service also has about a two-mile radius. So, make sure messages are targeted toward those folks. A restaurant with more of a special occasion feel, on the other hand, might have a further reach. “Are you connecting with your neighborhood?” she says, adding that if you own a store in Minneapolis “don’t try to get people to come from Duluth to your shop.”

CONTACT: BRIAN BELLMONT is president of Bellmont Partners: 612.255.1111; brian@bellmontpartners.com; www.bellmontpartners.com. ALISON BUCKNEBERG is a strategist with Words At Work: ali.buckneberg@wordsatwork.com; www.wordsatwork.com. ROSELINE FRIEDRICH owns of Roseline’s Candles: 612.840.8958; roseline@roselinescandles.com; www.roselinescandles.com. PAM MCCURDY is founder of The Marketing Troupe: 612.839.3932; Pam@TheMarketingTroupe.com; www.themarketingtroupe.com.

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Get back to the basics, McCurdy says. Tag locations as much as you can. It helps manipulate algorithms. And the best spots for specific businesses to market vary by industry. Although an accountant might do well using LinkedIn, McCurdy says Instagram typically is the best tool for small businesses, especially if it has visually appealing merchandise. “They’re life and death for small business,” she says.

Wild wild west

While social media can be a great and inexpensive way for businesses to get found, McCurdy adds that companies should “look at the whole toolbox.” E-mail marketing or some other strategy might be the right answer for others. Alison Buckneberg, a strategist with Words at Work, says now is the time to be creative, to try new strategies — or old ones that might not have worked in the past under different circumstances — to stay in front of people. “Reinvention, pivoting and being nimble are the name of the game,” she says. “One of the things we’re recommending to clients right now is don’t be afraid of having a marketing fail. It’s the wild, wild west out there for marketing these days.” Marketers, she says, are being tapped for results in a lot of areas right now, ranging from diversity and inclusion to finding employees to finding sales leads. That leads companies to sometimes try campaigns that paint with a broad brush. She’s found the opposite to be more impactful. Words at Work worked with one local small manufacturer on a paid LinkedIn campaign. The first post was more general, aimed at letting the larger audience know of the company’s existence. A subsequent post went out later to a much more niche subset of the original audience advertising a large piece of equipment the company sells. “Within the first 24 hours they had 15 leads,” Buckneberg says. “That’s the type of lead generation they would typically enjoy from a trade show. They would expect to get 15 really solid sales qualified leads within a day.” And they did so spending only around $2,000. When marketing on a budget, she adds, digital can be a very good friend. But depending on what the business is, Buckneberg recommends being open-minded and willing to throw caution to the wind, at least a bit. “Try a LinkedIn campaign. Try a Facebook ad. Try an E-blast in a publication you haven’t worked with before,” she says. “Sniff out new ways — or maybe even old ways — go back to direct mail. Find some of these other tactics that might not have worked in the past, but you’ve always been interested in trying and explore them. You have to stay in front of people.” But don’t necessarily try to reach everyone at once. Those narrowly tailored campaigns often end up being quite successful. It’s not, Buckneberg says, about the size of the splash. “It’s about getting the right splash.”

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Roseline Friedrich, owner of Roseline’s Candles, teaches candle making and sells locally sourced sustainable gifts from her new Minneapolis store.

Fundamental focus

Clients of public relations and marketing firm Bellmont Partners spent much of the early part of 2020 dealing with the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. They couldn’t meet in person or do many of the things they previously had done to market to customers and potential customers. So, they often came to Bellmont wondering how they could try new strategies and how could they better their foundational communications. “There was this great mixture of innovation and embracing new ideas in marketing,” says Brian Bellmont, president. “At the same time, I believe the smartest companies really went back to the basics and really started to strengthen their foundational stuff.” By foundational stuff, Bellmont means, for example, social media, blogs or websites. “Now nobody is going to be walking to your store, but they would be coming into your online presence,” he says. Bellmont spent time making sure his own company’s online presence was as strong as it could be. “We did a lot of that stuff,” he says. “We really wanted to increase both the quantity and quality of the engagement with our clients, our prospects and the industry at large.” Specifically for him, that meant refreshing the website, shifting significant energy toward developing new blog content and starting a monthly newsletter. “That’s been going ever since,” he says. “Those were all inexpensive things for us to do. And they really paid off for

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us. They filled some of the gaps of us not being able to have events or go to conferences or meetings with our clients. It didn’t cost anything extra, but it was a paradigm shift for us to focus on the digital aspects and strengthening those.” Bellmont says a lot of his clients took similar steps. It was a tough time for measuring metrics because of the unprecedented level of constant change throughout the year. But he says after a rocky start, Bellmont Partners had its best financial year ever in 2020 and has carried that through a strong 2021. “I think a lot of companies just fall into the complacency of just saying ‘oh, our website is fine, our social media is there, everything is fine,’” he says. “A lot of us, we were kind of forced into that. And it was an important thing to do. It’s a good reminder that you should always be working to improve your online presence.”

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TURNING THE PAGE

Calendars soon hit 2022 — do you know what you’re going to do?

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o you need a new piece of equipment? If so, should you buy it before the end of the year or wait until 2022? Are you planning significant capital improvements to a building or office space? Or are the supply chain issues and inability to get product to your shop in a timely manner affecting business results? If so, it might be time to get back in touch with your banker, your accountant and the rest of your team of advisers. Year-end is always a good time to take stock of how your company has done this year and what you have in mind going forward. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in play, with tax changes and loan forgiveness uncertainty around pandemic-related government relief programs, and with resources in general tight, doing so this year might be more important than ever. And, whether it’s going to be at the end of this year or the beginning of next when you make that next investment, it’s always good to let a lender know well in advance of when you might need a loan or line of credit, says Andy Schornack, CEO of Flagship Bank Minnesota. If your banker, for whatever reason, can’t make financing happen, with enough advanced warning, you might be able to get advice

on another solution. “We want to make that process as smooth as possible,” he says. “It’s best to tell your banker early on if you’re looking at doing a major purchase, before going down the road of doing one and then trying to figure out how to pay for it later.”

Meeting time

Schornack and his team are working right now on setting up regular business reviews. For an existing client with whom he is more familiar, it’s likely a shorter conversation around what the budget looks like for 2022, what new growth plans might be put in place and whether there are any new product lines or equipment purchases in the works. For a new client, he’d probably want to do a lengthier historical review with an up-to-date set of financial statements and talk about issues like how the company managed through COVID challenges, whether it used the time as an opportunity to find ways to improve operations and how the metrics in place for managing planning have changed. With both, he’d look at relevant challenges related to, for example, recruiting and keeping employees or how to deal

by Andrew Tellijohn

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FEATURE

“If you aren’t there, do you you want the business to expire when you do? That’s why it’s important to have a succession plan.”

— Tom Siders, L. Harris Partners

with supply chain challenges. “A big conversation topic right now is logistics,” he says. “If you are in a manufacturing business and you need supplies from China, you might’ve been three to six months out on your planning. Now you’re six to nine months. A lot of the purchases being done today are not for spring or summer, they’re actually starting to make purchases and plans for next fall already.”

Insurance across the board

On the insurance side, ransomware attacks have increased six-fold by some accounts and criminal methods have become increasingly sophisticated, creating a significant — and expensive — arena for cyber insurance. It’s a relatively new area of insurance, but one that has become more important in recent years. That said, companies should expect higher premiums and deductibles and more investing in upgrading required protective controls in order to obtain such insurance against the increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals, says Tim Gallagher, a senior vice president of business insurance middle market for Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC. “It’s not uncommon to see a small $5,000 annual premium policy renewal for three, four, five times that this year,” he says. “The tools that the criminals have outpaced the tools our clients have. That has created a lot of activity, a lot of loss. As such, the marketplace reacted with higher premiums.” Carriers are requiring a lot more in terms of protection and procedures for clients to secure the insurance, as well, he adds. Often clients can’t even get a policy without minimum protections in place, such as multi-factor authentication, a method that requires users to successfully present two or more pieces of evidence to gain access to their information. “It’s pretty hard to get coverage without that,” Gallagher says. Luckily, he adds, the rest of the property and casualty

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insurance market has quieted a bit. Rates on protecting some property and automobiles are increasing, especially for those with unfavorable loss histories or those who are in difficult businesses. Otherwise, those rates have softening some. “If it’s in a desirable class of business, defined as a class of business where the industry has had good fortune as a whole, and they have had a low level of loss, we’re starting to see competitive rates come back again, where you get two or three carriers that are fighting for the business,” he says. Worker’s compensation, a large area of spend for many business clients, has performed well, he says. “As a result, those rates have been pretty flat and, in a lot of cases, we’ve actually seen rate reduction.”

Personal planning for business owners

The new year also is a good time for business owners to look at their personal situations to ensure they’re on track to meet goals or in the mood to change them. “Really trying to set the stage to put yourself in a position of strength with taxes and cash flow, and really planning ahead are a lot of the conversations we are having with clients right now,” says Elise Huston, advisor - advisory services manager with JNBA Financial Advisors. Small business owners need to keep their personal financial situations in mind as they plan for the future of their businesses, as well, she adds. Optimizing savings opportunities would be the first priority for those closing in on retirements. Make sure you take advantage of retirement plans that include a company match, get on health insurance plans that allow for health savings accounts or those on which employers provide matches. It also makes sense to examine debt loads to see if any higher interest rates could be renegotiated. Those with student loans that haven’t required payments in recent

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FEATURE “It’s best to tell your banker early on if you’re looking to do a major purchase, before going down the road of doing one and then trying to figure out how to pay for it later.” — Andy Schornack, Flagship Bank

months will likely see those payments coming back soon. “Is there an opportunity to put some additional money toward the student loan payments?” she says, “because all of that will likely go toward paying down principal right now.”

Begin with the end in mind

Tom Siders, a partner with L. Harris Partners, does advocate dusting off and updating whatever catastrophe plan companies had in place prior to the COVID pandemic. Make sure there are plans in place, he says, in the event of another global disaster or a fire or an earthquake. But most planning, he adds, should be of the longer term — three to five years — variety. And it must be more meaningful than simply adding 6 percent to the bottom line and 3 percent to expenses. It needs to be about what your company is going to do more of or less of in the year ahead and how are you going to add value to the company well into the future. “What are we going to stop doing that’s adding no value

CONTACT: TIM GALLAGHER is senior vice president, business insurance middle market for Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC: 763.746.8296; tim.gallagher@MarshMMA.com; www.MarshMMA.com. ELISE HUSTON is advisor - advisory services manager with JNBA Financial Advisors: 952.844.0995; info@ jnba.com; www.jnba.com. ANDY SCHORNACK is CEO of Flagship Bank: 952.358.2522; aschornack@flagshipbanks.com; www.flagshipbanks.com. TOM SIDERS is a partner with L. Harris Partners: 952.944.3303; tom.siders@lharrispartners.com; www.lharrispartners.com. 20

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to our business and what are we going to start doing that does add value to our business,” he says. “That value might not be on the P-and-L, but it is positioning the business for future growth, expansion and profitability.” Siders cites one client who sat with him years ago who told him he wanted to “grow the business like hell” and sell it five or six years later. From that time forward, that business owner worked on building a strong management team and putting in systems and processes aimed at making it repeatable without his involvement. “He was a control freak,” Siders says. “He had trouble letting go. Well, we got him to do it. And he put in internal controls so he could feel comfortable when he wasn’t there.” The company worked on expanding its product line, diversifying its customer base and, generally, growing value. Planning, Siders says, even when looking at 2022, needs to have a long-term focus on what is going to show value in the future — even if the owners think they are going to be involved for the next 20 years. “We never know when our number comes up,” Siders says. “The business is a separate entity, but for a lot of people it’s an extension of them. But if you aren’t there, do you want the business to expire when you do? That’s why it’s important to have a succession plan. If you are laying in a hospital bed for eight months, you want to make sure the business continues.” So, always keep the end in mind, he adds. “It’s all about picking out two, three, four strategic objectives to position your business for growth and prosperity.”

Retirement planning coming into focus

With that in mind, JNBA Financial Advisors has seen an interesting shift in the way many of its clients are looking at their retirements as the global pandemic has played out, Huston says. For some, it has clarified that they want to retire as soon as possible, so they “have been taking the last year to try to get

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FEATURE “Really trying to set the stage to put yourself in a position of strength with taxes and cash flow and really planning ahead are a lot of conversations we are having with clients right now.”

— Elise Huston, JNBA Financial Advisors

their financial house in order again, really make sure they have everything buttoned up and in place and that they’ve taken a good look at all the different areas of their financial life,” Huston says. For others, they’ve found that if they can continue with flexible work-from-home-at-least-occasionally plan, that they might be able to stick out a few more years of work than they initially intended. “We’ve had a handful of others who’ve said ‘hey, I don’t

think my company is going to go back to in-person work,’” she says. “’I love working remote from my cabin. It makes it really easy. I think I could actually hang out a lot longer than we planned.’” In either case, “it’s really figuring out what did they identify as being important to them over the last year,” Huston adds. “And then how do we help build that into the new normal for them once we, hopefully, get out on the other side of these pandemic restrictions.”

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catching up by Andrew Tellijohn

Barking up the right tree

J

ohn Sturgess had more than two decades of experience managing and operating human hotels when he got the idea to create one for pets. Adogo Pet Hotels opened in 2011 and, when Upsize visited with him in 2016, he had three locations open in Minnesota with plans to expand locally, regionally and nationally. Despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic over the last couple years, locations in Minnetonka, Maple Grove and near Ridgedale in Hopkins still are doing well. He hasn’t opened a lot of new locations in the last few years, though a newer 13,000-square-foot one that opened at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2016 was just starting to take off when the pandemic hit. It is just starting to ramp up again as traffic at the airport returns. But starting Adogo also laid the groundwork for Sturgess to start or get involved with other opportunities in the pet-related market, as well. He started a consulting business, RetrieveOne Advisors, that has picked up during the last year as boarding services closed down during COVID. “When people started seeing the success we were having in Minneapolis, a lot of people started contacting us,” he says. “I 22

a short time by strategically expanding its current wholesale network and working into e-commerce. “The business side of it is incredible,” Sturgess says, adding that it became available only because the current owner’s financial partner is more interested in a different segment of the pet business. “Their margins are just unbelievable.” Sturgess feels he and his wife, Stacey, got into the business at a good time, given that the industry is growing significantly. His belief is backed up by the American Pet Products Association, which indicated that in 2020, 70 percent of households own pets, an all-time high, and that pet products sales overall surpassed $100 John Sturgess founded Adogo Pet Hotels billion for the first time in 2020. He thinks those figures are imporin 2011 and has been expanding across the pet industry since. tant because pet owners tend to be long-term customers who own them had gotten involved with the pet ho- throughout their own lifespans. And tel industry throughout the U.S. And millennials, he adds, have overtaken with that, I was having a lot of people baby boomers as the largest spenders approach me.” on their pets. He also hopes to close soon on an “I am so excited about it because acquisition allowing him to take over more people own a dog, more famiand grow an already significantly lies own dogs than ever before,” he sized wholesale company that sells says. “The pet spend is continuing to cat and dog toys and treats through increase and even increased during retailers around the country. COVID, mainly because more people He wouldn’t reveal the company’s were buying dogs because they were identity or delve deeply into his plans stuck in their homes.” for the business, but did indicate With that in mind, despite his that it’s a seven-figure business right entrance into other areas of the pet now that could grow significantly in industry, Sturgess remains bullish on

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PHOTOS THIS SPREAD BY JONATHAN HANKIN

his Adogo hotel idea, as well. “They’re still my baby, they still got me into this industry,” he says. In a post-COVID world, he says, there may be opportunities to get into management deals or to potentially acquire other pet hotels that

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are either poorly managed, overleveraged or opened at the wrong time. “One of the opportunities that my consulting business is looking at right now is actually managing hotels,” he says. “And there will be other opportunities where we might

The American Pet Products Association released research indicating that a higher percentage of families owned pets as of 2020 than ever before.

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catching up PHOTO COURTESY OF ADOGO PET HOTELS

Adogo Pet Hotels

JONATHAN HANKIN

Description: Upscale boarding, daycare and grooming company for dogs with four locations in Minnesota Headquarters: Minnetonka Founded: 2011 Founders: John and Stacey Sturgess Employees: 96 Website: www.adogopethotels.com

even take over some hotels or partner with people.” He’ll continue to oversee all aspects of the business while making sure every pet hotel has good management to help handle day-to-day operations. His director of operations, he says, does a stellar job of taking care of the hotels. “I’ll always have my finger on the pulse,” he says, while acknowledging

that as the company grows, he can’t take care of every detail himself. “It’s all about surrounding myself with good people.” Which dovetails with one of the biggest lessons he’s learned in business and as an entrepreneur. Work hard to understand people, their fears and their ambitions. “Understand what they want to achieve and how do you help them achieve it,” he says. “They’ll help you become successful. So, it’s a win-win.” He also has learned that while running a business is serious business, it’s not everything. In his mid-50s, Sturgess has a 14-year-old daughter Ellie whose sporting events, dance recitals and concerts he won’t miss. “Balance isn’t just about saying ‘I’m going to my daughter’s dance or I’m going to do this,’” he says. “It’s about managing yourself. It’s about knowing that, okay, if on Thursday my daughter has a dance recital, then two weeks ago, I plan to not have anything going on during those times. You can’t just say ‘oh my gosh, this is getting in the way.’ You have to manage yourself. That’s important to me.” While he’s achieved a better worklife balance than some ever do, he also continues proving true the adage that those who love their work never work a day in their lives. “Was there a little bit of luck in picking this industry? I guess so,” he says. “But I love it. I love this industry. I love dogs. I have always had dogs. I have two golden retrievers right now, Maverick and Phoebe. But I also see the economic side of this as pretty incredible.”

“ I am so excited about it because more people own a dog, more families own dogs than ever before. The pet spend is continuing to increase and even increased during COVID-19.” — John Sturgess,

Adogo Pet Hotels

Contact: John Sturgess is CEO and founder of Adogo Pet Hotel: 612.850.3433; john@retrieveoneadvisors.com; www.adogopethotels.com. 24

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UPSIZE RESOURCE DIRECTORY BANK

COMPUTER CONSULTING Intertech

FINANCIAL SERVICES Goff Investment Group

1575 Thomas Center Drive • Eagan, MN 55122 www.intertech.com • Ryan McCabe at rmccabe@intertech.com or 651.288.7000

5201 Eden Avenue, Suite 130 • Edina, MN 55436 952-836-2745 • www.goffinvestmentgroup.com Janel M. Goff, CRPC®

Intertech consultants are leading software developers who focus on more than simply “heads down” programming. We provide comprehensive software services – consulting, project delivery and mentoring – for all leading technologies, most notably Java, .NET and mobile. Intertech consultants are highly experienced and among the IT industry’s top contributors at conferences, technology journals and user groups.

A full service wealth management practice dedicated to managing your wealth and retirement assets in a way that best fits your risk tolerance, investment objectives and time horizon. We offer access to a complete selection of investment products and wealth management services. Established in 1993 to specialize in working with multi-generation families.

BANK Flagship Bank Minnesota

CONSULTING People Spark Consulting

LAW FIRM Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

Andy Schornack, CEO | 952-358-2522 Brian Wagner, President | 952-358-2513 952-944-6050 | flagshipbanks.com

13570 Grove Drive, #353 Maple Grove, MN 55311 Erin Mies & Kristen Ireland, Co-Founders 937-206-9306 www.peoplesparkconsulting.com

Capella Tower, Suite 3500 225 S. Sixth St. • Minneapolis, MN 55402 Tel: 612.604.6400 • www.winthrop.com

Crown Bank 6600 France Avenue South, Suite 125 Edina, Minnesota 55435 Ph: (952) 285-5800 www.crown-bank.com • Jeff Wessels, President & COO At Crown Bank, we want to be partners in your possibilities. Because possibilities are what the future is made of. From something as personal as growing your savings, to something as big as growing your business, our bankers and staff have the expertise and energy to partner with you to make that happen.

Member FDIC

Today’s entrepreneur brings creativity, passion, and flexibility to the task of achieving success. Flagship Bank can help because these are precisely the qualities that we bring to each customer of our bank, and their community. With six convenient locations and a staff of experts, we are ready to offer our support. Let’s talk today. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

BANK Highland Bank Rick Wall, CEO | 952.858.4753 Troy Rosenbrook, President | 952.858.4810 952.858.4888 | www.highland.bank Founded in 1943, Highland Bank is focused on business lending and is an SBA “Preferred” Lender, making us uniquely qualified to help your business obtain the financing it needs expeditiously. Work directly with the decision-makers who will treat you like a business partner. Member FDIC.

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COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHER Tom Dunn Photography 308 Prince Street Studio 242 Saint Paul, MN 55101 651-368-2047 www.tomdunnphoto.com Tom Dunn tom@tomdunnphoto.com Tom is a commercial photographer who has been helping businesses tell their unique story with photographs for websites and marketing materials since 2006. Tom works closely with his clients to understand their business and branding strategy and creates images that support their mission and success.

www.upsizemag.com

At People Spark Consulting, we help companies implement the right HR practices to meet and exceed business goals. Our simple, practical HR processes help boost your bottom line and increase your profits and margin. We can help you create and streamline your HR processes so you can play to win.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC

Winthrop & Weinstine is a business with a deliberate culture of enterprise and fresh thinking. Our clients have big ideas, and our lawyers help turn those ideas into successful businesses. We represent clients in the early stages of their business in matters such as entity formation, capital raising, employment matters, vendor and customer agreements, and others. We provide counseling as your business grows, and work closely with clients to smooth the path to success.

Offering IT development work for less. For a limited time Nova Horizons is offering a group of no more than four small businesses an IT development collaboration opportunity for on-going development work. This is an opportunity for a few small businesses to get the expert IT development resources they need to navigate the digital age; getting more of their development projects completed on time and for far less money. “Small businesses with big development projects need outside development expertise at below market rates.”

John Thwing The SBA Guy

With over 30 years in the industry, John Thwing, SVP Head of Lending, locally known as the “The SBA Guy” is a recognized Twin Cities lender that entrepreneurs know and trust.

Specializing in: Owner-occupied Commercial Real Estate Business Acquisition Expansion Partner Buyout Franchise Construction Financing 612-505-9751 sbaguy@21stcb.com 43 Main St. SE Suite 144 Minneapolis, MN 55414

jonny@novahorizons.io www.novahorizons.io 952.888.7541

ADVERTISING SECTION

NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2021 UPSIZE

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UPSIZE RESOURCE DIRECTORY LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Prouty Project

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS Lingate Financial Group

SBA LENDER Highland Bank

6385 Old Shady Oak Road, Suite 260 Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952.942.2922 | www.proutyproject.com Kari Baltzer | stretch@proutyproject.com

7575 Golden Valley Road, Suite 100 Minneapolis, MN 55427 763-546-8201 www.Lingate.com Greg Loeschke — Managing Principal

Troy Rosenbrook, President | 952.858.4810 Kim Storey, SBA Lending Manager | 952.858.4590 952.858.4888 | www.highland.bank

Our leadership development engagements and cohort-based leadership programs – Prouty L3 and Prouty i•will – link behavior to team performance in your workplace through the lenses of Leading Self, Leading Others and Leading the Business. We focus on STRETCHing participants to lead business within internal and international divisions. Give us a call or stop by.

Founded in 1945, Lingate Financial Group is a leading provider of lower middle market merger & acquisition advisory services, representing privately held businesses of all types with revenues of $5 – 50 million. Lingate helps business owners with market-based valuations, business sales, mergers, acquisitions, recapitalizations, and internal transitions among family members, partners and management. We get deals done.

MARKETING & PRINT SOLUTIONS OFFICE FURNITURE Allegra — Marketing • Print •Mail All Around Office Installation STRATEGIC Greater Twin Cities Area 1064 Gervais Ave Maplewood, MN 55109 SOLUTIONS FOR&YOUR Your local marketing print consultant Office # 651-340-4729 SUCCESS Cell # 651-239-6470 Arden Hills – 651.484.5000 Whether you need help developing a new marketing campaign, ideas to improve the Blaine –of763.780.0792 effectiveness an existing project or you just want to save time and money, we can help. Allegra is the Eagan – designed 651.645.1224 single source to assist organizations just like yours with: Eden Prairie – 952.835.2720 • Printing Services Minneapolis/Downtown – 612.332.8669 • Signs, Banners, and Posters • Complete Mailing Services St. Paul/Downtown – 651.222.8004 Design Center • Creative • Full Bindery Services Full service marketing & print communication expert. • Web-to-Print Solutions and Trade Show Graphics • Display A one-stop shop, to help you with a high quality project, Promotional Products • more... • Much, much,on delivered time & on budget.

We are a white-glove, COVID-friendly, fullservice installation company. We install all brands of commercial office furniture, including bathroom partitions, cabinets and counter tops. We also offer carrier services, decommission disposals, relocation services, warehouse storage, brand new installs and reconfigurations.

Founded in 1943, Highland Bank is focused on small business lending and is an SBA “Preferred” Lender, making us uniquely qualified to help your business obtain the financing it needs expeditiously. Work directly with the decision-makers who will treat you like a business partner. Member FDIC.

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SBA LENDER 21st Century Bank 2335 Highway 36 W Suite 202 Roseville, MN 55113 612-372-2178 • www.21stcb.com At 21st Century Bank, we know what it takes for businesses to survive, grow, and prosper in today’s market. For over 100 years, we have been your community partner. A family-owned bank, with expertise in all SBA and conventional lending programs covering all stages of your business. We tailor solutions that respond to your unique business and banking needs.

FOR QUALITY AND SERVICE YOU CAN TRUST, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL ALLEGRA TODAY! Arden Hills Blaine Eagan

MARKETING

651.484.5000 763.780.0792 651.645.1224

PRINT

MAIL

Eden Prairie 952.835.2720 Minneapolis/Downtown 612.332.8669 St. Paul/Downtown 651.222.8004

DESIGN

WEB

SIGNS

APPAREL

PROMOTIONAL

MOBILE

GROW OR DIE Move your business forward with investment capital generation, deep-level network connections and strategic refinement consultation from Brimacomb and Associates. We partner with emerging companies and professional services firms to offer unparalleled access to professional resources, executive suites and financing sources.

www.brimacomb.com 612.803.3169 • rick@brimacomb.com

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UPSIZE NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2021

ADVERTISING SECTION

TIME TO SELL?

Year after year our closing record is 100% above the industry average Increase your odds of selling your business with Transitions In Business

Contact Sam Thompson, CBI, M&AMI 29 years as business owner and 9 years selling businesses sthompson@transitionsib.com • www.transitionsib.com 952-405-8470

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UPSIZE RESOURCE DIRECTORY SBA LENDER Sunrise Banks

TRANSITION PLANNING KeyeStrategies

WEALTH MANAGEMENT JNBA Financial Advisors

David Reiling, CEO Phone: 651.265.5600 www.sunrisebanks.com Sunrise is headquartered in St. Paul, MN, and has four retail banking branches located in the urban core of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Its primary business lines include: Commercial Lending and Leasing, Relationship Banking, Treasury Management, Prepaid Cards, Fintech Partnerships, New Markets Tax Credits, and Small Business Administration Lending.

Minneapolis, MN Keyestrategies.com 763-350-5563 Julie Keyes, Founder/CEPA

8500 Normandale Lake Blvd., Suite 450 Minneapolis, MN 55437 952.844.0995 www.jnba.com Cärin Viertel, Director of Client Services

“KeyeStrategies LLC advises business owners in Transition and Exit Planning. Julie Keyes is both a Certified Exit Planning Adviser (CEPA) and Value Growth Adviser. She is also a faculty member for the Exit Planning Institute’s Global organization and President of its local Chapter.”

Being a small business we understand the needs of small business owners. And with 40+ years of experience in providing conflict-free advice, our proactive and integrated approach allows our multi-generational teams to put clients first when delivering customized financial life planning and investment strategies to help maximize their resources.

Member FDIC

STRATEGIC PLANNING Prouty Project

venture capital Brimacomb + Associates

WORKPLACE WELLBEING R3 Continuum

6385 Old Shady Oak Road, Suite 260 Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952.942.2922 | www.proutyproject.com Kari Baltzer | stretch@proutyproject.com

TCF Tower, Suite #1600, 121 South Eighth St., Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-803-3169 * www.brimacomb.com Rick Brimacomb, rick@brimacomb.com Chief Strategy and Relationship Officer

7825 Washington Ave. S., Suite 500 Bloomington, MN 55439 R3c.com 866-927-0184 toll free

We start with a blank sheet of paper to elevate your clarity on vision and purpose, create alignment in your strategy to achieve your vision and gain commitment to execute. What are your “market, product/service, people, and financial” strategies over the next 1-5 years? Can you articulate your strategic plan on one page? Join us in our Creative Think Tank to stretch your thinking and ignite your creativity.

Results-oriented advisory firm with unparalleled access to executive suites and financing sources. Emerging companies and established professional services firms rely on our depth of knowledge and deep-network connections to grow client lists, assemble project resources and secure new sources of funding.

Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (Requester Publications Only) 1. Publication Title

2. Publication Number

0

UPSIZE MINNESOTA 4. Issue Frequency

BI-MONTHLY

2 4

_

3. Filing Date

0 2 9

5. Number of Issues Published Annually

13. Publication Title

SEP/OCT 2021 6. Annual Subscription Price (if any)

7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication (Not printer) (Street, city, county, state, and ZIP+4 ®)

Contact Person

2908 71 1/2 ST RICHFIELD MN 55423-2849

Telephone (Include area code)

SEP/OCT 2021

15. Extent and Nature of Circulation

Average No. Copies No. Copies of Single Each Issue During Issue Published Preceding 12 Months Nearest to Filing Date

a. Total Number of Copies (Net press run) Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541. (Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet (1) requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.) b. Legitimate Paid and/or In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541. Requested (Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet Distribution (2) requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, (By mail employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.) and outside Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter the mail) (3) Sales, and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS®

8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher (Not printer)

2908 71 1/2 ST RICHFIELD MN 55423-2849 9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor (Do not leave blank) Publisher (Name and complete mailing address)

(4)

ANDREW TELLIJOHN 2908 71 1/2 ST RICHFIELD MN 55423-2849 Editor (Name and complete mailing address)

Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS (e.g., First-Class Mail®)

ANDREW TELLIJOHN 2908 71 1/2 ST RICHFIELD MN 55423-2849

(1)

N/A 10. Owner (Do not leave blank. If the publication is owned by a corporation, give the name and address of the corporation immediately followed by the names and addresses of all stockholders owning or holding 1 percent or more of the total amount of stock. If not owned by a corporation, give the names and addresses of the individual owners. If owned by a partnership or other unincorporated firm, give its name and address as well as those of each individual owner. If the publication is published by a nonprofit organization, give its name and address.) Complete Mailing Address Full Name

BROAD AXE MEDIA

2908 71 1/2 ST RICHFIELD MN 55423-2849

ANDREW TELLIJOHN

2908 71 1/2 ST RICHFIELD MN 55423-2849

DAN O'CONNELL JONATHAN HANKIN

d. Nonrequested (2) Distribution (By mail and outside the mail) (3)

(4)

6600

6570

0

0

0

0

20

20

6620

6590

Outside County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, bulk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources)

0

0

In-County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, bulk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources)

0

0

Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail (e.g., First-Class Mail, nonrequestor copies mailed in excess of 10% limit mailed at Standard Mail ® or Package Services rates)

0

0

Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include pickup stands, trade shows, showrooms, and other sources)

421

1221

c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Sum of 15b (1), (2), (3), and (4))

Managing Editor (Name and complete mailing address)

2908 71 1/2 ST RICHFIELD MN 55423-2849

e.

Total Nonrequested Distribution [Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3) and (4)]

421

1221

2908 71 1/2 ST RICHFIELD MN 55423-2849

f.

Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and e)

7041

7590

g.

Copies not Distributed (See Instructions to Publishers #4, (page #3))

h.

Total (Sum of 15f and g)

7041

7590

i.

Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c divided by 15f times 100)

94.08%

86.80%

11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities. If none, check box. None Full Name

14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below

UPSIZE MINNESOTA

$20

6

R3 Continuum (R3c) is a global leader in workplace behavioral health, crisis, and security solutions. We help enhance workplace behavioral health and performance, speed recovery from disruption, and maintain safety and security on all levels, with our best-practice, human-centered, and technology-enabled continuum of solutions.

Complete Mailing Address

* If you are claiming electronic copies, go to line 16 on page 3. If you are not claiming electronic copies, skip to line 17 on page 3.

N/A

12. Tax Status (For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at nonprofit rates) (Check one) The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months Has Changed During Preceding 12 Months (Publisher must submit explanation of change with this statement.) PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 [Page 1 of 4 (See instructions page 4)] PSN: 7530-09-000-8855

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PRIVACY NOTICE: See our privacy policy on www.usps.com.

PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 2 of 4)

ADVERTISING SECTION

NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2021 UPSIZE

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BACK PAGE

Chamber leveling digital tech landscape by Andrew Tellijohn

O

ne of the themes of the Minnesota 2030 report released by the Minnesota Chamber Foundation in early 2021 was that technology is dramatically reshaping how businesses operate and the skills that employees need in the workforce. Following that release, and because most available data was more national in nature, Chamber staff wanted to look more closely at the local small business sector to see how it was collectively recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and how those companies were utilizing digital tools as part of their survival and recovery, says Sean O’Neil, director of economic research. “We recognize that the recovery of our small business sector is really critical to the recovery of our overall economy,” he says. As it turns out, small businesses that were utilizing technology are faring much better than those that aren’t, according to the recently released “How Do Minnesota Businesses Leverage Digital Technology” study. O’Neil joined Editor Andrew Tellijohn to share some findings and to discuss the Chamber’s efforts to help small businesses find ways to improve technology utilization. The conversation has been edited for space:

Tellijohn: What were a couple of big takeaways for you from the study? O’Neil: As you look at some of the literature on how the pandemic shifted digital technology use, you kind of get this picture of this rapid acceleration across the board, especially in areas like artificial intelligence, automation and other advanced technologies. When you drill down to small and medium sized businesses, it’s true to 28

Sean O’Neil

an extent. And for those companies, that was critical to helping them survive the pandemic. But when we asked small businesses what technology tools they were using it wasn’t necessarily more advanced technologies like AI and automation. It was more investing in some basic technologies, utilizing digital marketing, and digital tools to reach new customers and to drive sales. A picture we got through the survey is for small companies, there’s kind of an acceleration of technology, but it’s also maybe more incremental and pragmatic than what you get looking at larger companies. Also, when we asked about barriers to adopting digital tools, we expected cost and access to capital would be toward the top. It can be a factor, but it seemed less so than just not knowing, not having enough information to understand the landscape, to understand what their options are and what tools will really have a return on investment, and then having

UPSIZE NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2021

the skillsets and capabilities within the company to utilize those technologies.

Tellijohn: What is the Chamber doing to help small businesses have better access to that higher-end technology? O’Neil: We break out in the report recommendations that businesses can apply within their own companies, recommendations for support organizations and some policy ideas, as well. Often, businesses just don’t know what resources are out there. The Chamber also is trying to make it easier to identify those kinds of free and low-cost resources that already exist. You can access a list of digital tech suppliers (https://www. mnchamber.com/your-opportunity/mnsupplier-match), all of whom have local connections and other statewide resources with free or low-cost information. https://www.mnchamber.com/economicdevelopment-resources#Digital%20Technology We just want it to be easier to know who’s right in your own backyard that can help with those kinds of projects. Tellijohn: How can people learn more about the study? O’Neil: The report is on our website. (https://bit.ly/3wfqmTk) We also have a webinar coming up Dec. 8 (https://bit. ly/3EJt0DP) where we’ll discuss the findings. Sean O’Neil is director of economic research at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce: 651.292.4650; growminnesota@mnchamber.com; www.mnchamber.com.

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You have big dreams for your business. "With banking solutions tailored to you and a team of seasoned professionals, we provide you community-focused customer service. We pride ourselves on relationships we have cultivated with our existing customers and feel honored by the strength of our referral networks," says Bank President, Jon Dolphin.

Our lenders and business banking development team have helped hundreds of new and "Our lenders andbusiness business experienced banking team have owners fundhelped hundreds business owners and of grow their with loan programs and small business bankingdreams. products to grow their small business."

For over 100 years, we have been your locally owned and operated community bank, consistently ranked as a Top 10 SBA Preferred Lender in MN with its SBA 7(a) & SBA 504 loan programs. We are here for you every step of the way.


Investing in you.

Building Together Keeping a business growing requires creativity, passion, and hard work to achieve success. We want to partner with you on your journey. Our experts offer more than just banking services, we share our knowledge to help you build a stronger and more profitable future. Call, visit us online, or stop into any of our six convenient locations to learn more.

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