Welcome to our new blog suitably titled Made in Minnesota where we will explore different Minnesota-based businesses and learn some helpful tips along the way! The blog format will be a Q&A, conversational style that allows you as the listener to lean in and get to know some great Minnesota business owners on a personal level. You will hear stories of big dreams turned reality, obstacles encountered and how they were overcome, things business owners would love to go back in time and change and fun little tidbits you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to! Sound like fun? Pull up a chair and get ready to meet Liz!
Our first Minnesota business owner that we’re going to introduce you to is Liz Zurek Beaudry, owner of Envision. Envision is a Minneapolis-based marketing company that specializes in brand strategy, digital marketing and culture.
Q. Hey Liz! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A. Hi there! I’m Liz. I’m a wife to a commercial airline pilot and a mom of two boys. My husband and I knew we wanted to raise a family and both had health issues which led us to the adoption of our boys, now ages 7 & 9, from South Korea. The first couple years as a mom weren’t without their challenges as I had to learn how to shift back-and-forth between my new role as a mom and that of a business owner. To de-stress and help me refocus I love to run and do yoga. I also love spending time on my parents’ hobby farm and connecting to the wilderness.
Q. When did you purchase Envision?
A. I purchased Envision in 2007 – just before the economy tanked.
Q. You recently acquired a software platform called MDNA Cloud. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
A. MDNA helps companies identify their culture in order to help them build their brand and increase profit. It measures six dimensions of culture and five dimensions of employee engagement. Each employee learns how to integrate their purpose, passions and potential into the workplace. I have been using the software in my work since 2008 and purchased the software platform in March of this year. It’s a tremendous asset to each of our clients.
Q. What is the biggest obstacle you’ve encountered in your business and how did you tackle it?
A. I purchased Envision at the peak of the economic boom for a premium. When the economy tanked I had to learn how to cut costs. I lost my entire team. I became hyper-focused in my efforts to save Envision and really learned how to structure and operate a team. During that time we didn’t lose a single client and have been profitable every year!
Q. What do you love about running your business?
A. I love relationship-building and hearing stories from other people’s journeys. I also love when my clients are satisfied with the work we do. It’s always rewarding to hear that we “nailed” the project.
Q. If you could start your business all over again what is the number one thing you would do differently?
A. I wouldn’t go into debt to make it happen. I don’t like the burden of debt. It feels like a chain around my neck.
Q. Technology is revolutionizing how we all do business. What are some of your favorite apps or software tools you utilize within your business?
A. First of all let me start of by saying that I’m not techy so I’m always seeking out apps to help make this part of running a business easier. One of my favorite apps is Hubdoc. It syncs my receipts, pulls bills and statements into one place and requires no data entry. I’m also thankful for YNAB – fantastic budgeting software for both business and personal finances and MileIQ for tracking mileage.
Q. If you had only $500 to spend on your growing business where would you spend your money?
A. I would direct that money towards generating referral and repeat business. I would consider holding an event for current customers to promote customer retention.
Q. Alright, our last question is outside of the box. If you could start any business today what business would you open?
A. I would love to open an interior design business that specializes in SOHO spaces. Space has a tremendous impact on productivity. Another business that I think would be fun to start is a dog walking business. Dogs are always happy to go on a walk and you can give them back at the end of the day!