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.
The Early Warning Signs
“I see it, and I feel it,” Liz Picarazzi tells Shawn Busse and Jay Goltz this week, in episode 109, a conversation about the looming recession many are predicting. But Liz is not hunkering down. In fact, she has launched an ambitious marketing campaign that relies not on Google AdWords but on Google Alerts. She’s also taking some advice from Carey Smith, the founder of Big Ass Fans, that she didn’t want to hear when it was first offered. Plus: How some owners trap themselves in miserable businesses. And Shawn, Jay, and Liz suggest regulations that need to die—with Jay going off on the way businesses are compelled to pay for unemployment insurance.
Dashboard: It’s Still About Hiring
This week, Lou Mosca, COO of American Management Services, which works with small businesses all around the country, talks about why hiring—and not recession or inflation—remains his clients’ biggest concern and what he and his clients are still learning about recruiting. Plus: Lou sees banks overreacting and warns about the dangers of online lending.
Have You Looked at Your Employee Handbook Lately?
This week, in episode 108, Jay Goltz and Dana White talk about their employee handbooks. Do they take them seriously? Or is it just boilerplate? Has anything changed since the pandemic? Is the handbook the place to remind employees that they are hired at will and can be fired at any time with or without a reason? Are there issues that should not be addressed in the handbook? When was the last time they updated it? When was the last time they read it? “Me, personally?” responded Jay. “Actually picked it up and read it?” Yes, Jay, that’s the question. “Years.”
Dashboard: The Marketing Crapshoot
This week, Gene Marks tells Loren Feldman why he thinks investing in small business marketing is a lot like going to Vegas or Atlantic City—especially if you don’t have good data. But, he says, there are things you can do to improve your odds. Gene and Loren also discuss why Gene is rethinking the CRM systems he recommends, why business travel is coming back stronger than many expected, and why we’re experiencing both a labor shortage and a wave of layoffs at the same time.
Does Firing People Ever Get Easier?
This week, in episode 107, Shawn Busse, Jay Goltz, and William Vanderbloemen discuss whether the old line about hiring slow and firing fast makes sense during a labor shortage. As William puts it, “What if you do have to hire fast? How do you do that? What if you do want to keep people even if you might have wanted to get rid of them before? How do you do that without ruining your culture?” Plus: How do you know it’s really time for someone to go? And what happens when employees share their salaries with each other? Anything good? And as we all binge watch the real life dramas about WeWork and Theranos, the question inevitably arises: Is it still okay to fake it until you make it? And if so, where do you draw the line?
Dashboard: Gene Marks Went Remote Years Ago. He Hates It
This week, Loren Feldman and Gene Marks resume their weekly conversations about the most important stories affecting business owners, starting with why Gene was ahead of his time in taking his business remote and why he thinks it’s left his company dysfunctional. Plus: what should owners take from the latest strong jobs report? And how will businesses be affected if the Supreme Court does indeed overturn Roe v. Wade?
A must listen for small business owners
Owning a small business can be lonely, so listening to other owners talk about their day-to-day is a pleasure. Loren expertly moderates a group of diverse (lots of women’s voices - thank you!) owners who are candid, approachable, and entertaining.
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...