GGOB + 21 Hats-1

 

About Our Podcasts

Podcasts for entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders. These messages are brought to you directly from CEOs and business thinkers to help build healthier companies, better businesses, and better lives for both you and your employees.
 

Loren Feldman

Loren Feldman
Loren is chief content officer of 21 Hats, a community of business owners that's coming soon. He co-hosts a call-in show for business owners, Mind Your Business, on Sirius XM 132 and edits a daily newsletter for entrepreneurs: getthemorningreport.com. In his previous job, he was a senior editor at Forbes, where he created the Forbes Small Giants franchise and was responsible for entrepreneurial coverage in print and online. Before that, he was small-business editor of The New York Times, where he started the You’re the Boss small-business blog. He has also been editor of the Web sites at both Inc. and FastCompany. Before going digital, he was a top editor and writer for print magazines such as Inc., Philadelphia, Manhattan,inc., the American Lawyer, Money, and George. He has also written for GQ, The New York Times magazine and The New York Times Sunday Business section. And he has spoken and moderated discussions at numerous conferences and seminars on entrepreneurship.

Recent Posts

The Worker Co-Op Solution

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

In this week’s bonus episode, Cameron Madill takes us on his succession journey, which began years ago when he started having conversations with older business owners, many of whom seemed to feel trapped. They’d had a lot of success, they were proud of the business they’d built, but they weren’t sure what to do with it or how to leave it. None of the usual options seemed terribly appealing. Hoping to write a different ending, Madill, now in his 40s, started looking for better options much earlier than most owners, and the one he landed on was an unusual choice: a worker cooperative. Now, there are aspects of this model that are likely to give some owners pause. For one, a co-op probably isn’t going to produce the biggest payday for a selling owner. And if the owner wants to stick around as CEO, he or she will have to report to a board, and that board can challenge any and all of the owner’s decisions. But Madill, as he explains in a conversation we recorded late last year, before he stepped down from his role as CEO, decided to sell to his employees anyway. Not only is he glad he did, he thinks co-ops are an option far more owners, especially those struggling to find a buyer, should consider.

— Loren Feldman

 

New Year’s Resolution? Make. Some. Money.

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Shawn Busse, Paul Downs, and Laura Zander talk about why 2023 was so challenging for them and what they plan to do differently in 2024. “Last year was a year when I knew I was going to be making a bunch of investments and didn’t expect to show much or any of a profit,” says Paul. “And I absolutely nailed that goal.” Shawn, meanwhile, thinks his new marketing scheme is working, and Laura is addressing her issues by going shopping — shopping, that is,  for businesses. She’s now bought a total of six, and she offers a step-by-step guide to how even a relatively small business can grow through acquisition, including what she’s looking for (mostly companies in distress), how she sets a price (she aims to recoup her cash outlay pretty quickly), how she finances the deals (not with a bank!), and how she integrates her old and new operations (that can be a bear).

— Loren Feldman

 

This Is What It Takes to Build a Business, Vol. 2

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, we take a look back at the conversations we had last year about the many rewards and responsibilities of business ownership, highlighting some of our happiest, smartest, funniest, and most difficult exchanges from the past year. Along the way, we discuss topics such as escalating salary demands, how much profit a business should make, a new way to sell a business, the problems with ESOPs, how to sell cookies on LinkedIn, breaking a million dollars in annual revenue, escaping the valley of death, and the pain of having to fire a long-time employee. 

There aren’t many places where you can hear entrepreneurs talk about the real-life problems they are confronting right now, today, as they happen—with no guarantee of a happy ending. But those are the conversations I have every week with Paul Downs of Paul Downs Cabinetmakers, Shawn Busse of Kinesis, Jay Goltz of Artists Frame Service, Mel Gravely of Triversity Construction, Jennifer Kerhin of SB Expos & Events, Liz Picarazzi of Citibin, Jaci Russo of BrandRusso, Sarah Segal of Segal Communications, William Vanderbloemen of Vanderbloemen Search Group, Dana White of a soon-to-be-named successor to Paralee Boyd, and Laura Zander of Jimmy Beans Wool.

In this episode, we also highlight several appearances by special guests who stopped by in 2023 to discuss their journeys, including Muhammad Abdul-Hadi of Down North Pizza, Jeff Braverman of Nuts.com, Michael Brown of Teamshares, Brad Herrmann of Text-Em-All, Grayson Hogard of Grove Cookie Company, Lance Tyson of the Tyson Group, and Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s. If listening to one of these highlights makes you want to go back and listen to the full episode, that can be done most easily by going to 21hats.com. There you’ll find a transcript of this episode with links to all of the episodes we sample.

— Loren Feldman

 

The Unlikely Plan That Launched Down North Pizza

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

So here was Muhammad Abdul-Hadi’s idea for a pizza joint: First, buy a building in one of the most troubled neighborhoods in one of the poorest big cities in the country. Open a restaurant despite having no experience in the food industry and do it during the pandemic when many restaurants are failing. And hire only people who, like Abdul-Hadi, are convicted felons. If that business plan sounds a little dicey to you, rest assured you would not be the first to suggest that to Abdul-Hadi. But he did it anyway. He built out the restaurant, and it opened in 2020 to lines that required people to wait as long as three hours for their pizza—thanks in part to a marketing plan that created excitement and scarcity by “dropping” pizzas the way some people “drop” special-edition sneakers. And now, Down North Pizza, which has been featured on best-of lists in national publications like Bon Appetit and The New York Times, is looking to expand. A special, year-end bonus episode.

— Loren Feldman

 

What Are Your Goals for 2024?

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Shawn Busse, Liz Picarazzi, and Jaci Russo discuss what they learned in 2023 and what they expect from 2024. After a tough year, Shawn is optimistic that his clients, having survived the turbulence of the past few years, are ready to spend money and try something different. Liz explains why she’s been willing to discount her products as much as 40 percent on Cyber Mondays and tells us about some new products she has in the works. Early in the year, Jaci, thinking she was going to have to staff up to handle two big new clients, dove into remodeling her offices—but those big clients have yet to sign on. “I might have jumped the gun a little bit,” says Jaci. Plus: Liz talks about her Midwestern mom, who can’t understand how Liz can charge so much for her trash enclosures. And Shawn raises the issue of how much money business owners should spend on marketing.

— Loren Feldman

 

We Need to Go Back to Marketing for Humans

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Paul Downs tells Jay Goltz and Jaci Russo about the latest developments in his year-long campaign to stop relying so heavily on Google AdWords. At a specially arranged, two-day marketing event, Paul got to sit down with a series of architects and designers who had already been vetted and who he hopes will become repeat customers. So far, Paul says, the results look promising. Plus, we also discuss: Do you write your website copy to please Google or to please people? Is there any way around skyrocketing property insurance rates? Why has Jay decided he no longer needs a chief financial officer? How big a disadvantage to owners are the new laws forbidding employers from asking job candidates about their salary histories? And would you reject a candidate simply for trying to negotiate a starting salary? I know someone who would.

— Loren Feldman

 

Are Salespeople Built or Born?

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

It used to be that best practices in sales were pretty standard across the board. But since the pandemic and with the advent of artificial intelligence, says Lance Tyson, founder of the Tyson Group sales consultancy, it’s like the Wild West out there. Suddenly, everyone’s playing by different rules, and the best sales approach can vary, depending on the seller, the target, the industry, the region of the country. The keys, Tyson says in this week’s bonus episode, are to pay attention and stay flexible. Along the way, he also addresses a host of hot topics: How important is it to see a prospect face-to-face? Is cold-calling dead? Will A.I. replace sales trainers? What’s the right balance between base and commission? How do you handle the salesperson who can’t or won’t be a team player? How do you get salespeople to take maintaining their CRM seriously?

— Loren Feldman

 

Clients and Taxes and Bears, Oh My!

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Jaci Russo explains how she put an end to her eight-month drought of new clients. Jennifer Kerhin takes us through the bureaucratic nightmare of managing remote workers based out of state (“That is a headache that I don’t wish on my worst enemy,” says Jaci, who has found a way to sidestep the problem). And Liz Picarazzi brings us up to date on her ongoing struggle to get her trash enclosures certified as bear-resistant. The common thread to these challenges may lie in these two questions: When is continuing to fight the good fight the definition of entrepreneurship? And when is it the definition of insanity? Plus: Why does it cost so much to exhibit at a trade show? And did you know that as recently as 35 years ago, there were still laws on the books requiring women to have a male relative cosign on a business loan? Those laws are now gone, thankfully, but Jaci, Jennifer, and Liz can all attest that that kind of paternalism is very much alive and well.

— Loren Feldman

 

Start Up, Throw Up, and Grow Up

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Dana White drops a few surprises. When we began this podcast in 2020, Dana had two promising hair salons in Detroit that she’d named after her grandmother, Paralee Boyd. She had an innovative business model designed specifically for women with thick and curly hair. And she was on her way to winning a prestigious business plan competition. All of which presented her with a wide array of opportunities to consider. Would she continue to bootstrap? Would she franchise? Would she take on an investor? Would she open salons on military bases? But the pandemic hit her hard. Struggling to find both employees and customers, she eventually decided to close her Detroit locations and open a new one in Dallas, Texas, where she hoped the greater population density would help her make a fresh start. But in this episode, Dana tells Jay Goltz and Laura Zander that she’s come to a painful realization: “Paralee Boyd is not working.”

— Loren Feldman

 

The I-Hate-Marketing Approach to Marketing

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Shawn Busse tells Jay Goltz and Mel Gravely why he doesn’t want his firm, Kinesis, to be known as a marketing agency. Part of it is his sense that people just don’t trust marketers. But Shawn also believes that what Kinesis offers its clients is much more than just marketing. Hearing that prompts Mel to take us through his recent decision to spend a lot of money rebranding his construction business, which he says created alignment throughout the business and would have been worth twice what he paid. Plus: Mel explains how he manages to generate new business without employing salespeople. Jay asks if it’s still possible in this tight labor market to enforce attendance policies. And, for the first time in the almost four-year history of this podcast, Jay goes extremely quiet in this episode. What exactly was that about?

— Loren Feldman

 

About The Podcast

GGOB + 21 Hats-1

The Great Game of Business has partnered with 21 Hats to bring the 21 Hats Podcast to all entrepreneurs in The Great Game of Business community! Hosted by Loren Feldman, this podcast offers real-world business insight. Tune in to stay up to date on today's business issues, hear real stories about organizational challenges leaders are facing, and take away strategies CEOs are using in the business world today. When you subscribe, you'll receive a weekly email notification of this podcast. Plus, receive a message any time a new podcast episode is published on The Great Game of Business "Change the Game Podcast."

 

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