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.
 

Why Do You Pay What You Pay?

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, Paul Downs, Jay Goltz, and Sarah Segal talk about where the dust has settled after years of turmoil in the labor market. As you know all too well, we’ve been through COVID, supply-chain issues, inflation, labor shortages, the Great Resignation, minimum-wage hikes, new pay-transparency regulations, and countless rumors of recessions that have yet to come—all of which has had an impact on wages. And that’s why I decided to ask Paul, Jay, and Sarah where their thinking has landed. The consensus here is that leverage is shifting back to employers, but Paul, for one, remains committed to paying his people more than they can find elsewhere. “It’s worth it to me to have the team I want,” he says. “And sure, it affects profitability, but turnover affects profitability, too. And I’d rather not have that.” Plus: We also talk about whether Lululemon was right to fire two retail employees who tried to stop a robbery, and we answer the following listener question: If something’s not working, how do you know when it’s time to walk away?

— Loren Feldman

Embrace It. Leverage It. Or Die

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, Liz Picarazzi, Sarah Segal, and Laura Zander wind up talking about artificial intelligence. They conclude that the time has come for business owners to take AI seriously. Laura says she’s already experimented with using ChatGPT to create lists, to write product descriptions, and to write a marketing plan for a new product. She even used ChatGPT to prepare a presentation for her staff about how to use ChatGPT. She did this in part to reassure them that they don’t have to fear losing their jobs. “What I told the team is, ‘It’s a nail gun,’” says Laura. “‘Sometimes you need to use a hammer, because it needs to be perfect, and it needs to be exact. Sometimes you just need a damn nail gun, and you just want to pop it through. And that becomes the skill. The skill becomes: When do I use the hammer and when do I use the nail gun?’” On their way to the conversation about ChatGPT, Liz, Sarah, and Laura consider the various ways business owners can tap expertise, including through advisory boards, through business groups, and with strategic weekly lunches. Plus: Laura explains why she likes to hire people even when she doesn’t have an opening.

— Loren Feldman

Twelve Hours a Day, Six Days a Week

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, we meet Jennifer Kerhin, the newest addition to the 21 Hats Podcast team. Jennifer’s business, SB Expos and Events, is an event-management business that survived the shut down in 2020 and has grown to more than $3 million a year in revenue. When COVID first hit, Jennifer tells Jay Goltz she really thought it would put her out of business; in the end, she says, it made her stronger. Even so, she is very much stuck working in her business, while looking for ways to extract herself from day-to-day tasks someone else could handle. But how do you free yourself up enough so that you have the time to put the people and systems in place that you know you need? And how long should that take? “I hate to tell you,” says Jay, “it took me 10 years. But I’m going to help you here, so it’s going to take you 10 months.”

— Loren Feldman

‘Being Isolated Is Just a Bad Idea’

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, Hans Schrei and Shawn Busse talk about why they put their businesses through accelerators, and Paul Downs explains why he might have done the same thing if accelerators had existed back when he started his business—”although,” he says, “I was probably too dumb to realize the value of it.” Hans, who just completed a 13-week accelerator program with his partner, Luis, also tells us how Wunderkeks fared while he and Luis were in the program, what they got out of it, and why they felt it was worth giving up the equity that was the price of admission. Plus: why Shawn went to an employee’s college graduation and how Paul managed to take a vacation. Oh, and Paul also talks about what surprised him about the recent 21 Hats event in Chicago.

— Loren Feldman

'What Doesn't Keep Me Up at Night?'

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, we did something different. We recorded this session in Chicago at our very first 21 Hats in-person event. In May, some 20 impressive entrepreneurs from around the country, from different industries, with businesses of different sizes and stages, gathered to talk shop for three days. The last thing we did was to record this episode in which we gave the participants the opportunity to ask the podcast regulars anything they wanted. Those regulars included Jay Goltz, Sarah Segal, and Dana White, and the questions addressed everything from hiring to motivating to delegating to pricing to coping with stress to what they wished they’d figured out sooner and to what still keeps them up at night. And when there were no more questions, I asked those who attended the Chicago event what I could have done to make it better. That I would invite criticism in a conversation being recorded for a podcast audience, took some of the participants by surprise. But, as you’ll hear, it worked out pretty much the way I hoped.

— Loren Feldman

Is PR Worth the Effort?

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, William Vanderbloemen says good public relations is absolutely worth the time and money. Paul Downs says PR hasn’t worked for him. At this point, he says, there are all kinds of ways he’d rather spend his time and money. Meanwhile, Sarah Segal, who owns a PR firm, offers some tips on how to approach and how to employ a firm effectively. Along the way, we discuss what’s expensive when it comes to PR and whether owners can just do it themselves. Plus: Paul explains how he dug himself out of a sales hole by not doing anything differently. And we find out how the owners feel about all of the new ways they’re being asked to leave tips.

— Loren Feldman

Not Sold on ESOPs? There's A New Alternative

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, two special guests who have built highly successful companies talk about what they ultimately plan to do with those companies. Ari Weinzweig is co-founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, a collection of mostly food-related companies that are an iconic part of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Brad Herrmann is co-founder of Text-Em-All, a software firm based near Dallas that helps organizations deliver personalized, informational, and emergency messages by text and by phone. Both Zingerman’s and Text-Em-All consider themselves purpose-driven. Both practice open-book management. And so, not surprisingly, the founders of both companies took a hard look at selling to an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, in the hope that the cultures they’ve created might live on. But both companies, independently, soured on the notion of creating an ESOP, one after spending more than $200,000 and coming within a week of closing the deal. And now, both have settled on a little known alternative, what’s called a perpetual purpose trust. So far, only a handful of companies have tried to create a purpose trust for this purpose, but Zingerman’s and Text-Em-All are taking the leap. As both Ari and Brad acknowledge, they’re kind of figuring it out as they go.

— Loren Feldman

Marketing Workshop - May 18, 2023

I Didn't Know It Was Going To Work

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, Shawn Busse and Loren Feldman talk to John Garrett about his contrarian approach to newspapers, marketing, and competition. Garrett has built a Texas-based chain of print newspapers that has managed to outcompete established news organizations and digital platforms for both community engagement and local advertising. Not surprisingly, when he first took out a $39,000 credit card loan in 2005 and started telling people that his business model would feature a monthly print publication that he would mail to everyone in his target communities for free, he didn’t get a lot of congratulations. And not everything he’s tried has worked. An expansion into Arizona, Tennessee, and Georgia, for example, failed early in the pandemic. But almost 20 years after its debut, a period during which most local publications have been in retreat, Community Impact is thriving. And from his seat as a publisher, Garrett offers a perspective on marketing that any business owner would be wise to consider.

— Loren Feldman

I'm Not A Real CEO

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, Jay Goltz, Liz Picarazzi, and Sarah Segal talk about the inherent conflicts between being an entrepreneur and being a CEO—and the different skill-sets each role requires. Does it make sense for the same person to do both jobs? Is being CEO even a full-time job? And when does it make sense to replace yourself as CEO? Liz says she’s thought about it. Jay, not so much: “Could I have found somebody 10, 15, 20 years ago who was a better manager? Sure. But it just wasn’t worth it.” Why not? “It’s gonna cost you $250,000 a year,” Jay says. “Is it worth paying that?” Plus: Liz and Sarah talk about positioning a company to be acquired. And Sarah proposes a PR campaign for Liz’s package bins right on the spot.

When CEOs Behave Badly

Loren Feldman


Introduction:

This week, our conversation starts with Shawn Busse and Jay Goltz trying to understand why CEOs keep going viral for their misguided attempts to rally the troops. Shawn suspects CEO screeds have always existed—they just haven’t been recorded. He also thinks they tend to come more from public company CEOs who are beholden to shareholders. Jay thinks they’re just morons. “I really don’t understand how someone could be smart enough to run a big company like that,” he says, “and be so completely ignorant. It’s shocking to me.” Of course, CEOs of both publicly owned companies and privately owned companies do have to do unpleasant things sometimes, but Shawn and Jay say they’ve learned from their own experiences handling layoffs and recessions. “Do we have to go out of our way to be callous about it?” Jay asks. “I don’t think so.” Plus: the very different ways Shawn and Jay manage their hiring processes. Oh, and, what would happen if Jay applied for a job at Shawn’s business?

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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