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WHEN I GOT my first professional job out of college, I was impressed with the array of employee benefits that companies would provide. Time off. Savings programs. Paid travel.

As I moved into management, and saw what it was like to work in a different country, I realized that a lot of these were supported or mandated by government programs and tax code.

Which is totally fine, even necessary. But those programs aren’t as compelling as we’d like to think, because they’re pretty much standard everywhere.

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RUNNING A BUSINESS sure seems like a lot of work. I don’t want to disregard that.

But if that’s ALL it is, why bother? Go out and get a real job that’s less stress!

Let’s be honest: We do this because we find joy in the mission, the problem-solving, the control. There’s a lot of things which are a pain in the ***, but on the whole there’s a balance toward making the business work.

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GREYSTONE TECHNOLOGY is a local Information Technology (IT) outsourcing firm. Currently with 85 employees, they’ve been growing at a rapid clip for over a decade.

I had a chance to sit down with Peter Melby recently, who owns the company along with Jesse Armstrong. They formed the business in 2001 with the idea that this would be a fun and motivating environment for employees.

Which is what they’ve built. But there’s so much more to the story.

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ROBERTO VALDEZ RUNS AN AMAZING BUSINESS recycling mattresses here in Fort Collins.

His heart is in serving those who are looking to rebuild their lives after incarceration or drug addiction. In fact, that’s how he got engaged with Spring Back Mattress Recycling in the first place.

He created a new life based on the support and leadership of Christopher Conway, his boss and mentor. I met Christopher as well, a sincere man who’s on a mission to serve the community.

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MidiCi BRANDS ITSELF AS “The Neapolitan Pizza Company.” New to Fort Collins, you might be skeptical about whether this town needs another pizza place, no matter how good the food is.

I had a chance this week to be introduced to the owners of this great new MidiCi franchise, opened just three weeks ago.  Frank and Kim Brewster come from Greeley and are passionate about the unique employee culture of this business. Read the rest of this entry »

THERE MIGHT BE A  GREAT REASON why you feel like your business is just grinding away week after week, but not making progress on what’s most important.

Often it’s because you’re not tracking that important stuff.

Sure, you’re on top of revenue and expenses, inventory and backlog.  But rarely is that the PURPOSE of your business.  What is?

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WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE, building solid technical skills is much easier.

This is the philosophy of Canidium, a rapidly growing consulting business which focuses on sales and service performance improvement via strategic guidance and systems integration and support for their clients..

It’s a pretty technical set of services, but I was intrigued by the notion that this company puts people first: Both its customers and its employees. Read the rest of this entry »

THE PARLOUR is a Colorado chain of salons stretching between Fort Collins, Boulder and Denver.

Led by Gene Cahill, it was started in Fort Collins in 1998 to fill a perceived gap in excellent, personal salon services.

That’s what you’ll see from the outside. Read the rest of this entry »

FARNSWORTH GROUP is a very special kind of company.

A few months ago, they were recognized as a Great Place To Work, an award that isn’t at all easy to obtain.  But in a very real way, it’s something they’ve been working on for their entire history, over 110 years.

Many people equate a great place to work with the high-tech snazziness of foosball tables and idealistic millennials.  But here we have an engineering and architectural company with an honored history spanning multiple generations.  Their focused innovation is inspiring.

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LILLY SORENSEN owns the local franchise of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?  You may have seen their trucks driving around, but don’t know the great company which they represent.

I sure didn’t.

Lilly started her journey back in Ann Arbor, when she was looking for a job and joined up as a driver for the company.  Despite their pleas to keep her on, she ended up moving out here to Colorado to start a new life.

But the universe can be a surprising place.

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