Growth Nation at AZIGG in January

A January Evening in Phoenix at AZIGG

A January Evening in Phoenix at AZIGG

It was fun to participate in the AZIGG Global Business Fair this month.  Over 250 people attended including the extraordinary John from the John Adam Show ( and 45 organizations that can help companies grow globally.  Growth Nation had a table and we met some new and interesting people.


The event had previously been written up by Patrick O’Grady in the Phoenix Business Journal:


Also we I had an article published in the AZ Business Magazine about international business and AZIGG called Expanding Horizons


I certainly encourage anyone interested in global business to participate in AZIGG.


All the best, Doug


Doug Bruhnke

Growth Nation

Scottsdale, AZ USA

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How Much Networking is Just Right?

How do you decide how much and where to network?  Every person and business is different.  Here are some thoughts for Growth Nation, where we target clients who are typically small business owners for companies in technology, manufacturing or service businesses.


The number one way we get new clients at Growth Nation is by direct referral.  Thank you to our customers for a great 2008 and our continued growth through these turbulent times.


The second most popular way for us to connect with new clients is via networking.  I just estimated the amount of time I’ll spend in 2008 on networking in the community, and I found a large number of hours were spend to attend events, participate in board/committee meetings and meet people one-on-one.


For me, I spend an average of 12 hour per week networking as compared to about 60 hours per week ‘working’.  I wonder if that 1:5 ratio of networking to work is a good one?  It feels OK, but it makes for a busy week!


Over 50% of my networking time is spent in my 4 core business groups: AZIGG, Enterprise Network, Invest Southwest and ASBA.  Here’s a complete list of groups that I’m part of:


Boards & Executive Committees:
• Arizona International Growth Group (
• Arizona Small Business Association (
• Enterprise Network (
• Invest Southwest (
• U of Utah Alumni (
• World Affairs Council of Arizona (

Other Community Activities:
• Arizona Technology Council (
• Arizona Chamber of Commerce (
• Greater Phoenix SCORE (
• The John Adam Show (
• Nat’l Assoc of Women Biz Owners (
• Greater Phoenix Economic Council (
• Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations (
• Michigan State Alumni (
• American Marketing Association (
• Phoenix Sister Cities (
• Scottsdale Chamber (
• Phoenix Chamber – Green (
• TiE-Arizona (
• AeA Arizona (
• Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock (
• Campaign to Make Poverty History (
• Multiple Sclerosis Society (
• Alzheimer’s Association (


Between now and the end of the year, I’ll reassess how I’ll spend time in 2009.  I’m thinking about adding the new Green Chamber and Arizona Business Leadership.  I’m thinking about bumping up involvement in TiE-Arizona and NAWBO, too.  I’d like to attend a few more ambassador meetings for the AZ Tech Council in 2009 and find a way to be more involved with GPEC. 


Several groups like AMA, Scottsdale Chamber and Phoenix Chamber are on the current list because I’d like to spend more time there but don’t have the time.  Attending a meeting every 6 months hardly counts as involvement, does it?  I’m not sure these will change in 2009.


On the time reduction side, I’ve resigned from the Scottsdale Job Network board.  For Invest Southwest, I may back away on the time and be a dollar sponsor instead next year.  Oh TIME – we have so little of thee.


I’ll also be working to hand off the position of president for the Arizona University of Utah alumni association.  It’s been fun to work with the current board in re-starting the chapter.  We’ve had some wonderful events – like presentations at Tgen by the Brain Institute from the University of Utah, Spring Training events with the Utah-alumnus led Colorado Rockies, a visit by President Michael Young, and this week the undefeated football season culminating in beating arch-rival BYU.  Oh the joy!  But it’s all about time, and it’s time to hand-off to a deserving younger man or woman to take on the next phase of growth.


For Growth Nation our team has expansion plans for Salt Lake City and San Diego, and so those cities must be considered, too.  Lots to think about!


I am blessed with all the people I’ve met these past few years and I’m looking forward to continuing to expand my personal network and the network of my team.  My friends and acquaintances have provided me the cornerstones for successfully starting and growing Growth Nation and AZIGG.  I wish I could do networking full time, but there is work to do ;-).  


My advice to anyone who is starting a business or looking for a job is to get out and connect with people.  Pick the groups that mean something to you, volunteer and show people what you can do.  There’s no better way to start lasting relationships.  Enjoy networking and all the benefits it brings.



Doug Bruhnke

Growth Nation and AZIGG


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Special Event 12/16 with the Phoenix Business Journal

Economic conditions are placing obstacles in front of every business. As a result we’re supporting a special educational seminar benefitting local businesses being done in cooperation with the Phoenix Business Journal ( and Greater Phoenix SCORE (


The special event is a marketing seminar featuring 3 speakers tuned in to local business on Tuesday, December 16th.  It will be held in the Maricopa County Board of Supervisor Auditorium, 203 W Jefferson in Phoenix at 7:30 am – 9:30 am.







  • Using the Phoenix Business Journal — Paul Sanders, Phoenix Business Journal
  • More Marketing to Grow on a Shoestring — Mike Shoun, Affordable Image
  • Nine Marketing Secrets to Grow in the Downturn — Doug Bruhnke, Growth Nation 


All proceeds benefit Greater Phoenix SCORE, a national nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of the nation’s small businesses.  More info and sign-up here:


Keep marketing!


All the best,
Scottsdale, AZ USA

Doug Bruhnke

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Arizona Lags in Attracting Foreign Direct Investment

This article by Doug Bruhnke was published in the Phoenix Business Journal on November 7, 2008.  Doug is Founder/CEO of Growth Nation and Founder/President of Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG).


For every $1 Arizona spends on attracting non-US companies to establish operations in the state, it gains more than $37 in Foreign Direct Investment, according to Rod Miller, VP of International for Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). Miller told an October Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG) audience that payback can be higher than 100 to 1, and there are other benefits like ongoing tax revenue.


“In 2007-2008, GPEC found ways to keep Foreign Direct Investment in Arizona improving despite last year’s spending cut by the legislature,” says Miller. “We need investment to capture strategic industry growth for Arizona like Germany-based solar companies. In the current environment, increasing our investment in economic development initiatives will support a quicker and stronger economic recovery.”


Yet Arizona is in the bottom half of US states in attracting Foreign Direct Investment because it spends less on marketing per capita than the national average. GPEC and the Arizona Department of Commerce are making progress, but more opportunity is available. Nonetheless there are positive indicators that Arizona’s global profile is improving, and other investment mechanisms are supporting globalization of Arizona-based businesses.


Firms are taking unilateral action to invest in the global economy. That’s not an option for everyone, and those proceeding to enter the global market should take carefully considered actions that are well-funded. Arizona has funding resources available to support growth.


Early-stage firms presenting to investors at the Scottsdale-based Invest Southwest Capital Conference sponsored by The Miller Group have raised over $300 million. This year there’s a higher level of interest by companies to participate, and the conference will include a company based outside the US for the first time.


“Submissions by early-stage firms increased this year by 20%,” says Dave Bittner, Chairman of Invest Southwest and CEO of Beanstalk CFO. “In addition to Arizona-based companies, the Invest Southwest selection committee chose companies from two other states and Mexico, indicating that word about funding opportunities in Arizona is getting out”.


Arizona companies looking to grow globally are well advised to seek out experts who have “been there, done that” with international operations, marketing and funding. One community asset that small and medium-sized businesses can turn to is SCORE, which in addition to being an alliance partner for Invest Southwest, offers business seminars and free counseling.


“Experienced volunteers at Greater Phoenix SCORE mentor and counsel small businesses in each aspect of global expansion”, says Chet Ross, Chairman of Greater Phoenix SCORE and District Director for SCORE in Arizona. “A large portion of our funding comes from the US Small Business Administration (SBA), making SCORE the ideal source for guidance on loans – including export loans – guaranteed on behalf of the US government by the SBA.”


Several options for export loans exist. The United States Export-Import Bank was established in 1934 to guarantee payment to American businesses on exports, handling the financial risk that commercial lenders will not assume. This reduces the overall risk for US firms selling globally. A variety of export credit insurance and loan guarantee tools exists to encourage US exports.


“International risk management tools for getting paid and for growing sales have high value and complexity”, says Carlos Emmerman, Trade Banking Director at Sonoran Bank. Carlos headed international banking offices for Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase before joining Sonoran Bank. “We sort through the complexity and help small and medium-sized businesses with decisions like when to approach the Export-Import Bank. We’re positioned as the premier community bank for the growing international business market in Arizona.”


The over-riding goal of the Export-Import Bank is to support the growth of US businesses by insuring against non-payment, offering open account payment terms and eliminating the need for expensive letters of credit or pre-payment requirements. The key for any business is selecting the right tool to support their needs.


“Exporting presents a unique set of challenges”, says Adam Keck, Vice President for Bibby Financial. Bibby is a provider of business cash flow solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises, including factoring, export receivables and purchase order financing. The company has been around for over 200 years.


“An exporter often must wait 90 days or more for payment from their international customers,” Keck continues. “In addition, foreign banking systems can be nearly impossible to navigate, with check clearance days and additional bank charges creating unwanted surprises. These issues are easier to recognize and mitigate with a knowledgeable and trustworthy export financing partner.”




When thinking about investing in your global growth, learn from the experts.


  1. Don’t take unnecessary risks.  Use tools like those at the Export-Import Bank to help you sleep better at night.


  1. Use experienced resources.  Don’t reinvent the wheel or get run over by global surprises. Experts are available here in Arizona.


  1. Ensure that your business is well capitalized.  Enter global trade knowing there will be the occasional surprise, and that the journey is well worth it when you’re prepared.


  1. Spend a dollar to make at least two.  The old adage “spend money to make money” is true for Arizona attracting Foreign Direct Investment, and for Arizona-based firms looking to grow internationally. Invest wisely.


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LeTip Int’l Announces New Home in Mesa; Celebration 10/22pm


LeTip is the world’s largest, privately owned, professional business leads organization. It employs 15 Regional Directors who oversee more than 525 chapters and over ten thousand members in the US and Canada.


President and CEO Kim Marie Branch-Pettid leads LeTip, which is celebrating 30 years of service to the business community. Kim Marie is dynamic and smart – and you can look for great things from her and LeTip here in Arizona.


In celebration of LeTip members’ effervescent spirit, the company’s 30 years in business and the relocation of headquarters from San Diego to Mesa, LeTip invites the Valley to a Grand Opening.  Come on out to this free event and meet Kim Marie and her team.  I’ll be there – because they’re doing a great service for our community.


LeTip International

Grand Opening of Mesa World Headquarters

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

5:30 – 7:30pm


LeTip International at Pierpont

4838 East Baseline Road, Suite 123

Mesa, Arizona   85206-4675



Kim Marie: “Our emphasis on creating warm leads through LeTip members works in good times and bad. It’s our way of putting ‘Dollars In Your Pocket’ and inspiring some hope among members to help stimulate the economy. Small business will bring us out of this economic mess, one new lead at a time.”


To RSVP for the Grand Opening Celebration this Wednesday evening, contact Abby Oates at, or  480-264-4600 .  More at


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This Week in Phoenix: ‘After 5’ on Tuesday

The event of the week is the ‘After 5’ event with the Arizona Technology Council at Global IT Solutions.  Don’t miss it!  Unfortunately I’ll miss it because of a customer commitment, so tell me how it goes 😉


More information here:


Also did you hear the great news about Rod Miller of GPEC?  He won the Power Bash 2008 award from the Phoenix Business Journal, and he’ll be speaking at the AZIGG 1st Anniversary event on Monday, October 6th.   For more information and to sign-up, visit here:, or here:  The event is at and starts at 7:30am on the 6th.


All the best, Doug


Doug Bruhnke, Growth Nation and AZIGG

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Paying Respects on 9/11

We took a break today from financial turmoil, lipsticked pigs and other distractions to remember September 11th 7 years ago.  All quiet: that’s good. 


I was working at a software company in Orem, Utah when it happened, and piecing it together at the time on the radio and internet was difficult.  It wasn’t until I got home later that day that the reality set in.  Well actually, the reality is still sinking in.


Dave Rice, CEO of True Cloud, told me today that he was in England at the time.  He remembers the tragedy – and the wonderful way the Brits became Americans that day.  All those he interacted with there were outraged and angry – and totally on our side.  He’ll never forget.


We must carefully pick our battles to selectively punish and destroy those who continue to plan and attack us. 

We still have friends all over the world.

All of us will remember.


God bless America.

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