Limited access to capital is the No. 1 complaint among small and growing businesses. Yet it also can be a strength. Tight finances force business owners to set priorities, make smart decisions, and work harder than their rivals. The real trick, after all, is earning back an investment--not spending the money in the first place. Frugality is a major theme of Ian Mount's cover story on Inc.'s Entrepreneurs of the Year. Employing what they describe as a "Peace Corps" model, Janie and Victor Tsao built Linksys into a dominant maker of wireless networking equipment in just 15 years. The Tsaos caught our attention twice last year--when they made a record seventh consecutive appearance on the Inc. 500 list and when Cisco Systems paid $500 million for their company. The Tsaos' inspiring story begins on page 64.
Nadine Heintz, who has a master's in magazine journalism from New York University, worked at two financial publications, Worth and Green, before joining Inc. as a staff writer in 2002. Interviewing executives for "Why Can't We Be Friends?" changed Nadine's mind about best practices in hiring: "I used to think more liberally," she says, "but when I heard of people having to fire their best friends, that gave me pause."
In his more than 30 years in journalism, Joseph Rosenbloom has won an Emmy and a George Peabody Award for investigative reporting and has been on the staffs of Inc., The Boston Globe, and PBS. Joe says he has always had an interest in the career of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. This month, he writes about the battle between a division of Murdoch's News Corp. and a small advertising agency in the feature "High Noon in Aisle Five."
Senior editor Susan Donovan came to Inc. in 1990, having worked previously at a division of Penguin Books, where she edited both fiction and nonfiction. Susan says she first noticed Burt's Bees products in natural food stores like Bread & Circus. For "How I Did It," Susan interviewed Roxanne Quimby, CEO of Burt's Bees, in Quimby's small (pop. 500) rural hometown near Acadia National Park in Maine.
Larry Olmsted is serious about cars. He's written about them for Men's Health, Playboy, and Elite Traveler, and has completed race coursework at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Colorado. His story for Inc. Life, "Wheeling and Dealing," introduced Larry to the thrills of go-karting. "Go-karts don't handle like Aston Martins," he says, "but you get to compete against other drivers."
Art Streiber's celebrity portraits have appeared in GQ, In Style, Vanity Fair, and Inc. (he took the photograph of Robert Redford that appeared on our September 2003 cover). This month, he captured Entrepreneurs of the Year Janie and Victor Tsao. Art lives in Los Angeles with daughters Siena and Kayla and their yellow Lab, Indie.