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Inc. Magazine

Inc. Magazine October 2019

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures LLC, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.

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United States
Mansueto Ventures LLC
$7.32(Incl. tax)
$29.28(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min
getting the word out

When the recession decimated the corporate-gift-market accounts of the Goulet Pen Company, founder Brian Goulet sought out new ideas—and customers—at a fountain pen show near his Richmond, Virginia, home. “It was a revelation, seeing all these fanatical people in fishing vests with pockets stuffed with fountain pens,” says Goulet, who quickly realized that pen fans represented a community that he’d missed. He wrote a new business plan, going from pen maker to online fountain-pen retailer. He began to participate in online message boards and forums, and also created a large social media presence, a newsletter, a blog, and more than 1,800 how-to videos, along with interactive, live-stream ones, generating hundreds of comments daily. With revenue in the low eight figures after growing 25 percent in 2018—his wife, Rachel, is co-owner…

19 min
pioneer woman

The founders who are changing the way we eat. “It’s the hallway of death!” Ariane Daguin is cheerfully leading a strange parade through a barn’s dim back corridor. Normally, this passage conveys fattened ducks from their feeding pens to the slaughterhouse; today, it marks the end of a sales tour. This duck farm, nestled in the foothills of New York’s Catskill Mountains, is where it all began for Daguin, a blunt and unfussy Frenchwoman who keeps geese and chickens as pets, and who has spent a lifetime selling slaughtered poultry. D’Artagnan, the gourmet meat distributor she co-founded in 1985, took in more than $130 million last year from organic chicken, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised lamb, and other, more exotic animal proteins. But her business started here, with the ducks of Hudson Valley Foie…

3 min
what to say when they don’t pay

Eleni Gianopulos spent more than 15 years selling her handmade sugar cookies to a famous gourmet grocery chain. Then Dean & DeLuca stopped paying its bills. By January 2018, Gianopulos, founder and owner of New York City–based bakery Eleni’s Cookies, realized that she might never be paid for $86,000 worth of 2017 custom holiday orders. “No one in the accounting department was answering phone calls,” she recalls. “They were not returning emails, there was no correspondence.” Gianopulos would learn that Dean & DeLuca was in financial trouble, and the company made headlines this year by closing stores and reportedly stiffing other vendors. But she had already sued the chain, and ultimately settled for half the debt in 2018. (Dean & DeLuca declined to comment.) An unpaid $86,000 purchase order might sound…

3 min
don’t solve the wrong problem

Not long ago, I was presented with a routine, even boring, workplace problem. We redesigned a part of our website, and altered some basic functionality. Some colleagues learned of the change only when they went online, and were baffled by the new flow. And so began a tempest: Why was this change made? Who had given the OK? And wasn’t the old way better, anyway? This was just one small huff in the long history of conflicting opinions. But as a company grows, and decisions get more distant from the people who have to execute them, a different kind of conflict emerges. These disputes may seem like they’re about a single decision with a specific adverse effect (the wrong redesign). But they’re actually disagreements about process (Why wasn’t I consulted?), not…

1 min
the jargonator

FLYGSKAM • noun Swedish term meaning “flight shame,” intended to stigmatize air travel. What we really need is the Swedish term to stigmatize seatreclining on short-haul flights. Source: Mother Nature Network QUANTUM WINTER • noun The current phase of quantum computing, when it doesn’t “live up to the hype”—and presumably why I still don’t have a jetpack. Source: Business Insider SLACKENFREUDE • noun “The joy in knowing that as a Slack group grows, the likelihood of a new member searching their name and finding they’ve been slagged in earlier conversations reaches 99.9 percent.” *Immediately logs on to Inc. Slack* Source: The New York Times FACTBOMB • noun A barrage of factual claims thrown by politicians to overwhelm rational debate. In business lingo: earnings calls! Source: Full Fact GETTY; COURTESY COMPANY; ILLUSTRATIONS: MICHAEL PARKIN (4)…

3 min
the state of women and entrepreneurship

THE BIG PICTURE Entrepreneurs are notoriously optimistic. The women in this survey are no exception. But their more pessimistic views about the economy may become important later: Ninety percent said the economy will be either “extremely” or “very” important in deciding their vote in 2020. OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS, YOUR BUSINESS WILL… 90% Improve 8% Remain the same 1% Worsen 1% Don’t know WHAT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR FINANCIAL GOAL FOR YOUR BUSINESS? 37% Become a fast-growth private company 35% Build a sustainable small business 22% Sell my company 7% Go public HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE ECONOMY TO PERFORM OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS? 49% About the same 37% Worse 9% Better 5% Don’t know 47% of respondents said they are more involved in politics than they were going into the 2016 election. (For more founders’ thoughts on politics, see the next page.) THE FOUNDER AT HOME (AND…