Invest Southwest Deadline Sept 19th


Invest Southwest − the Southwest’s Premier Capital Conference


Invest Southwest is searching for the Best of the Southwest — the region’s most promising emerging growth companies.  Companies wishing to be considered to present at the December 2008 Invest Southwest Conference must submit the registration payment and application form no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 19, 2008.


For more information and to apply visit


For over 15 years, Invest Southwest has been the best way for investors to connect with the Southwest’s

most promising ventures. The forum takes place on December 10th and 11th, 2008 at the

Four Seasons Resort in North Scottsdale


Selected companies will present their business plans to qualified investors from across the

country, including representatives of venture capital and private equity firms, as well as angel investors.

Applicants must be seeking a minimum of $250,000 to $5 million in equity capital.


 SCF Arizona, one of the conference sponsors, will select a “Best Company,” which will include an investment of $200,000.



Note: If you are selected as a presenter at the conference, an additional $350 presenter fee will be due.


General inquiries about the conference should be directed to ASU Technopolis at 480-884-1804.


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Other Links to Growth Nation and AZIGG

Please feel free to visit these other sites for information on Growth Nation and AZIGG.

All the best, Doug



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Gilbert Gottfried Is a Tough Act to Follow

Yes, the John Adam Show ( has moved to financial news radio 1510 on KFNN in Phoenix.


Yes, John is amazing!  The show starts at 9am every Friday and then continues on Saturday at 8am.


Yes, the Growth Nation ( segment runs at 9:24am on Friday’s!  Check us out every week for our humble ideas on marketing for business, sponsored by Affordable Image (


So on Friday the Growth Nation segment followed the guest – – – comedian Gilbert Gottfried  Oh my.  How’s that for an impossible task?


John and I ended up talking about how Gilbert has created a memorable character through his wit and unique voice.  What a voice!  We can’t forget it!


The lesson for business and each of us is to BE UNIQUE in some way.  Yes, be memorable!!!  Gilbert has his voice. 


Jack Eberenz here in town has the label ‘franchise’ – and he has been so effective in setting himself to be ‘the’ person to call there.  John of the John Adam Show is positive, enthusiastic and smart – and it comes through on every show.


One of my favorite clients is Synergy Homecare of the East Valley, owned by Mike Endredy.  Mike loves serving people – and he has hired a team of caregivers around him that care just as much – and his business if flourishing.  Caring about people is more than OK – it’s great.


Take the best part of you and your business, and let it sing.  Yes, yes, yes!


All the best, Doug


Doug Bruhnke
Growth Nation
Scottsdale, AZ USA


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Thank you to COLD STONE (and KAHALA CORP)



The Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG) had another excellent crowd – 135 – at the headquarters of Cold Stone Creamery last Friday the 15th.  Thank you to Lee Knowlton – President of International for Kahala Corporation – for hosting us.


And was that international sales panel great, or what?  Many, many thanks also to the amazing Gunnar Light (Melbourne IT), Oystein Konsmo (The York Group) and Joe Gold (PCFR).


Our goal at AZIGG is to bring out the international business crowd of Phoenix once per month to share ideas, stories and experiences – for the benefit of the Valley and Valley businesses.  Thanks to everyone for your support.


AZIGG is skipping September (the first Monday is Labor Day) and so our next AZIGG meeting is the first Monday in October – October 6th.  That meeting will feature Rod Miller of GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council).  Rod will be presenting his ‘International State of the State’ that is now an annual event at AZIGG. We’ll be at – near 22nd and Camelback.  Start time is 7:30am.


If you’re interested in international, also check out the Governor’s Int’l State of the State in September – more info here:


The AZIGG November meeting is also a special one – on the night before the Election.  On that Monday evening November 3rd we’ll be at Thunderbird School of Global Management and we’ll be treated to presentations by successful alumni of Thunderbird. This is a joint meeting with the Thunderbird alumni association.

More info here:


Doug Bruhnke

Founder of AZIGG

CEO of Growth Nation

Scottsdale, AZ USA

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Local Networking for Sales Prospects

Finding good prospects for your business is a simple thing.  Sometimes we overcomplicate it. 

First you need to 1) target your audience, 2) have a strong grasp of your offering (in terms of the value your firm adds), 3) know how you’re different (in a good way) and 4) have a message that encapsulates all this for the key target. 

Once that’s done, you’re ready to bring in leads.  Here are 10 tips that I recently covered at a presentation to the Scottsdale Job Network (

  1. Attend selected local events.  Make your list of groups that are in your target, and then volunteer time and “go deep” on three of them.
  2. Arrive early to events, and stay late.  Ask questions. Be friendly and personal.
  3. Help others.  Don’t drone on about you and your business.  Find ways to be valuable, and others will have value for you and your products/services.
  4. Be receptive to input.  Ask, absorb and modify… your materials, approach, etc.  Good ideas sometimes from the most surprising of places.
  5. Set up lunches and morning coffees when you can.  Jump in!  Hopefully you’re meeting folks in person (and on the phone) for a good part of the day. One meeting turns into 3, turns into 9, turns into 27…
  6. Be courteous.  Say “Thank you” and have lots of patience with busy people.  Make it easy for them, such as putting a signature on your e-mails, following-up with ‘next steps’, etc.
  7. Manage your contacts.  Use a system. Regularly prioritize to your targets.
  8. Be persistent.  Prospect and “close” at the same time without selling.
  9. ALWAYS be positive.  In public, it’s ALL good.  Be professional at all times.
  10. Be memorable.  Refine your ‘Show’ with your pitch, your dress, your manner….BE OUTSTANDING!  Not everyone will ‘buy’, but give yourself the best chance to win with your target market.

At Growth Nation, our marketing process has 3 outcomes.

  1. Increases brand value
  2. Increases number of leads
  3. Increases the conversion of leads to sales

It’s not about marketing, or sales, or networking – – – it’s ALL about growth.

Doug Bruhnke, CEO of Growth Nation (Scottsdale, AZ USA)

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The Style, Grace and CLASS of Bobby Murcer

There are many talented people in the world, but far fewer have talent and a wonderful personal style like that of Bobby Murcer, who died yesterday in Kansas City, Missouri.  We can learn something about business in this great ballplayer.


Bobby Murcer was the primary star for the NY Yankees when I started following the team from 1969 through 1973.  Those were lean years for the Yankees, but Bobby Murcer played well with a consistency that for me was always impressive.  He won many games with either his hitting or excellent fielding.


Most impressive to me was that Bobby Murcer came up being compared to Mickey Mantle, and he handled that pressure so well.  Both Murcer and Mantle had been shortstops converted to the outfield, both were from Oklahoma, both were discovered by the same scout and both were NY Yankees.  


Bobby Murcer didn’t have the power of Mickey Mantle, but he didn’t let the comparisons bother him.  He was a good hitter and he had many great days – especially 1971 when he batted .331 and was second in the league in hitting.  Yet most importantly he always played with the highest level of professionalism befitting a great Yankee. 


As a kid watching on Channel 11 or listening on the radio to stations in NY, Cleveland, Boston or whereever I could pick it up in the evening, his actions made a profound impact on my life.


The core of the man was shown in 1979 when a plane crash took the life of Thurman Munson, star catcher for the Yankees, and Bobby Murcer was asked to give the eulogy.  He did, after staying up all night with Thurman Munson’s wife Diana.  He delivered a wonderful eulogy before the next ballgame.


“We all flew back to Yankee Stadium for a game against Baltimore,” Murcer told The New York Times. “None of us wanted to play, but we did, and I batted in all five runs and we won, 5-4. I never used that bat again. I sent it to Diana.”


He played over the objection of the manager who thought he’d be too tired.  Bobby Murcer had talent AND class, and he will continue to be an inspiration.


Listen to the Yankees:


“The way he handled himself,” Mariano Rivera said, “he was the best example we could have.”


“Bobby went out of his way to be nice,” Derek Jeter said, “He’s one of the most positive people you’d ever meet.  Ever since I first came up, you always looked forward to seeing him.”


“He had an aura about him,” said Jason Giambi.  “He was that type of guy that never seemed to have a bad day.”


“He was a gutty player with a lot of determination and strong will and a lot of love for his teammates,” said trainer Gene Monahan.  “He took time [with the young kids] and explained things to them, even things as simple as how to dress, how to act on road trips, how to treat clubhouse guys, how to be kind to the cab drivers and bus drivers, people who were there to serve you, what it meant to be a big leaguer.”


The lesson for business?  Let’s not forget to consider personal style in hiring decisions.


Recently I’ve been helping several clients find employees for different jobs.  We’ve found plenty of people with talent, but not all have the intangible factors of sincerity, humbleness and “class”.   Sometimes we just shake our head regarding the way some people behave.


Professionalism matters.  Business is a big league, too.  Why not ask for these qualities in the people we chose to work with?


Few people have the style and class of Bobby Murcer, or Tim Russert who also died recently.  But there is a happy middle ground, and I think we should look for it in the people we choose to hire and work with.  In the long run, it makes for better marketing and better business.

Thank you Bobby.




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A Good Time for Arizona-based Firms to Sell Overseas

This article by Doug Bruhnke of Growth Nation ( was published in the July 4th Phoenix Business Journal

That small company you’re driving past in Phoenix might have as many admirers on the other side of the world as they do in their own home town.  That’s because their product or service is special, is in high demand with global customers and they’ve found ways to connect and sell to the global marketplace. 


Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies® (PADT) – – is a Tempe-based engineering and new product commercialization firm that works with clients all over the world to bring new technologies to market – including high-efficiency automotive fuel cells for hydrogen cars.


By now you’ve heard about the new cars that emit only water from the tailpipe.  PADT has been working with Japanese, Korean and American car makers to bring the hydrogen car to market.  With gasoline prices skyrocketing, the economics are looking better and better every day.


“We’re proud of the engineering support we’ve accomplished with global clients in the area of alternative energy,” says Mark Johnson, Principal at PADT.  “We’re not allowed to talk about most of the work, but we can discuss some projects at Hyundai®.  They’ve come a long way and most recently they’ve developed a third generation, award-winning vehicle.”


Hyundai began working with PADT in 2004 on engineering designs for the Hyundai Tucson hydrogen SUV.  The Arizona connection with Hyundai goes well beyond the name of the vehicle.  Blower technology by PADT has been a key contributor to the overall program.


“We help emerging and established companies commercialize products that have challenging design requirements,” continued Mark Johnson.  “We work with them to conceive, innovate, design and even manufacture whatever is needed.  PADT goes the extra mile, and that’s particularly significant when the miles are between Tempe and Seoul, and the technology is as challenging as fuel cells.”


Delivering great engineering for energy, semiconductor and medical device ( developments continues to bring opportunities to PADT, and they’re happy to help put our state on the map.  That’s a formula for success in Arizona or anywhere in the world.


As the US dollar has weakened, it has become an increasingly excellent time for Arizona-based firms to sell overseas.  Other local companies are successfully selling beyond their relative small size and subsequently pumping international dollars into our local economy.


Advanced Motion Measurement™ (AMM) – – of Phoenix was founded by Olympic gymnast Phil Cheatham and his brother Stephen Cheatham to be the definitive science for understanding and improving human motion.  Thanks to years of tireless development, trainers can now use technology developed by Phil and Stephen to turn good athletic performances into great ones.


The AMM technology was recently chosen by Titleist® in the development of their Titleist Performance Institute™, which focuses on improving peoples’ golf swing.  The resulting product, TPI-3D®, has been an international hit with golfers and trainers.


“Sports medicine specialists and trainers working with golfers seek to improve physical performance,” says Donavon Ostrum, Chief Executive Officer of AMM.  “The AMM technology is the best at understanding and measuring motion, and so we’ve received interest from around the world.  Everyone wants to improve their swing and physical performance using this latest technology born in Arizona.”


AMM targets sports medicine professionals who demand to be the best at understanding human motion.  They use science to improve physical performance and to prevent injury.


“We offer the best science-based software and hardware to measure, analyze and deliver the information our customers need to excel in their profession,” says Ostrum.  “By the way, it also works for fitness and other sports besides golf, too.”


Lee Knowlton, President of International for Scottsdale-based Kahala Corp is another experienced internationalist and one of the top global executives in the Valley.  The companies he supports within Kahala Corp are for the most part no longer small, but he finds that the success formula is the still the same.  One of his brands, Coldstone Creamery® has grown to over $1 billion in revenue.


“The key is making people happy,” says Knowlton.  “Our concept of what we do for a living goes far beyond selling ice cream.” 


It is through passion, excellence and innovation that Arizona companies can be successful in the global marketplace.  Coldstone Creamery has set the bar high in ice cream, and Arizona business owners can grow globally through these principles, too.




Smaller companies in Arizona can be big players on the global stage.  Here are some suggestions for companies looking to grow globally.


  1. Develop a unique product, technology or service. Like PADT and AMM, be the best in the world for a specific capability in high demand, and customers will find you.  They each have found a way to be indispensible to their clients.  Coldstone Creamery also chose a niche and took a fresh, passionate approach that appeals to people worldwide.


  1. Use resources that you trust. For example, Greater Phoenix SCORE®, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, has highly-experienced volunteer consultants that work with Arizona businesses on growth including international expansion.  Succeed Corporation®, one of the Valley’s top few fastest growing global firms, is so impressed with their people that they’ve become a founding member of the SCORE Advisory Board in order to spread the word about them to entrepreneurs and small businesses.  That’s mutual trust, and a great resource to grow Arizona businesses.


  1. Take action. Don’t let the down economy take away your opportunity to grow.  Donald and Susan Sutherland opened their first Coldstone Creamery in Tempe exactly 20 years ago just before a stretch of hard economic times.  By the end of 2008, Coldstone Creamery will have over 130 international stores and by the end of 2009 they plan to have 260.  Act today and stick with it.  Global growth can be in your future.



By Doug Bruhnke, CEO/Founder of Growth Nation and President/Founder of the Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG) –




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