The 21 Hats Podcast is a weekly conversation with entrepreneurs who share their challenges and compare notes on how they’re coping with the pandemic, whether their businesses are as profitable as they should be, how big a price they are willing to pay for growth, and why they hired their brother-in-law. Every week, host Loren Feldman has a conversation with three of the show’s six regulars: Karen Clark Cole, CEO of Blink UX; Paul Downs, CEO of Paul Downs Cabinetmakers; Jay Goltz, CEO of The Goltz Group; William Vanderbloemen, CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group; Dana White, CEO of Paralee Boyd; and Laura Zander, CEO of Jimmy Beans Wool. Every week, the owners talk about news stories that matter to business owners, and track what’s working and what’s not working on their own entrepreneurial journeys. Visit 21hats.com to read episode transcripts and learn more. The show is produced by Jess Thoubboron of Blank Word Productions.
Episode 56: God, Loren, You Are Such a Jerk
This week with Paul Downs, William Vanderbloemen, and Laura Zander, the talk leaps from one plague to another—floods, power outages, cyber crime, employee churn, supplier price hikes, and vanished shipping containers—not to mention the actual plague. For Laura, whose wholesale yarn business keeps falling further behind on its orders, these events have necessitated a series of difficult conversations with customers: “They can't get mad about the pandemic,” she tells us. “And they're not going to get mad about the fact that we're moving. And they're not going to get mad about the fact that there's a deep freeze. But at some point, they're going to get tired, whether it's consciously or subconsciously. It's exhausting.” To which she adds, “but if the locusts hit, I don't know how much more of this people can take.” Plus, a friendly discussion about whether raising your prices makes you a jerk. (Spoiler alert: It does not.)
Episode 55: My Name Is Jay Goltz, and I’m an Entrepreneuraholic
This week, Jay Goltz tells Dana White and Laura Zander why he can’t stop starting businesses. In recent years, for example, he’s considered buying other picture -frame shops, he’s bought a firehouse that he thought he might turn into an event space (or a dog kennel), and he’s fantasized about opening an ice cream shop. “I have a whole list of businesses I'm not starting,” says Jay, who has been down this road so many times he’s developed a five-point test for whether he should proceed. And now he’s got a new idea—an online art gallery—that he believes passes the test. “I think I’m going to do it,” he says. Plus: Dana has a new business, too. And Laura assesses the damage done to the yarn industry by two venture-backed rivals.
Episode 54: Should Small Businesses Have Boards?
This week, Stephanie Stuckey tells Paul Downs and Jay Goltz about seeking the guidance and perspective that a board of directors could bring to Stuckey’s. But does a business have to be a certain size to warrant having a board? How do you recruit board members? How should they be compensated? And is a peer group, like Vistage, a better alternative? Plus: Uncovering a $140,000 cyber crime. Coping with the nightmare of shipping furniture. And Jay tells us why, if you listen to either the artists or the accountants in your business, you’re likely to go broke.
Episode 53: I Hope You’re Not Torturing Yourself
Should Stephanie Stuckey sell pecans on Amazon? Should Laura Zander wholesale yarn to discounters? Should Jay Goltz’s businesses be active on Pinterest? (Assuming Jay knows what Pinterest is.) This week we cover those issues, plus whether the owners are ready for an economic boom and how Laura made the painful decision to fire several employees she inherited when she bought her wholesale yarn business in Texas. “You have to do it,” says Jay. “And it doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you a bad boss if you don't do it.”
Episode 52: I Need a Vacation
This week, we talk about what we were thinking a year ago as the contours of this crisis began to emerge. It was this week that the W.H.O. declared a pandemic, the NBA suspended its season, and toilet paper started to disappear. It has all taken a toll. “This is where it gets tricky,” Jay Goltz tells us. “Just because everybody shows up every day and looks like they're happy-go-lucky, they're not. People have stresses in their life, whether it's their kids, whether it's their aging parents, whether it's their financial situation, whether it's their physical well-being—any of the above. This is just layered on top of whatever was going on in their life before.” Plus: Karen Clark Cole’s company goes to Mars, Dana White gets a smart question about expansion from a retailer in Canada, and Jay discovers that ESOP companies don’t have to pay federal income tax.
Episode 51: Chicago, New York, or Atlanta?
A year ago, Dana White was questioning whether her business could survive the pandemic. This week, she says she’s looking seriously at expanding to another city: “I'd like to make a decision by the end of March, and I'd like to be opening or in the process of opening by this fall. I'm waiting to see how the vaccine does.” Dana also talks about her experience with venture capitalists who seem to be telling her, “We’ll be happy to give you money—as soon as you don’t really need it.” Plus: Stephanie Stuckey explains her team’s recent three-hour debate: Should Stuckey’s be selling the road trip or the pecan? And Dana, Stephanie, and Jay Goltz discuss Clubhouse, the new social media platform. Is it just a time suck, or does it offer real value to business owners?
Customer ReviewsSee All
Informative and Empowering
This specific podcast gets me through housework. What I respect the most is the panel's willingness to take on hard issues and difficult questions. They do so with mutual respect, so differences of opinions are helpful rather than negative. They have fun too, so it's entertaining and the time passes quickly. I have some of the quotes from the podcast hanging on my fridge and they help me be a better leader.
Loren and his fab five are just what I needed. Perfect for what I’m going through! Kind of like “The View” for entrepreneurs...
Listen to this!
This is a great podcast. You should listen regularly to get the full effect.