Richard Hanks and John Sperry weren't going to let another business go down the tubes because of nervous investors.

Soon after founding Salt Lake-based Mindshare Technologies Inc., a provider of Web-based customer feedback and insights, Hanks and Sperry simply ran out of money.

They could have brought in outside investors — after all, they knew they had a promising product. But the two veteran entrepreneurs had been burned when nervous post-9/11 investors pulled out of their previous firm.

Instead, they took the harder, more old-fashioned road. When the financing crisis arose, Sperry sat down with Mindshare's 10 employees and asked them to go without pay until the company could get on more solid footing. The employees agreed and saw Mindshare sign deals with several key new clients and form relationships with several short-term angel investors.

Soon, Mindshare was able to pay back both those investors and, most important, the employees who had stuck by the company because they believed in its innovative approach to intelligence-gathering of customer opinions.

Mindshare's software is client-neutral, so it can be used to serve everything from a small restaurant chain to a 7,000-seat call center. It also is completely Web-based and automated, so business clients can begin using customer feedback almost immediately, at a fraction of the cost of more traditional services.