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.
 

How to Waste Money on Marketing

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Shawn Busse, Jaci Russo, and William Vanderbloemen talk about a whole slew of marketing challenges. From strategizing for trade shows, to whether your logo has to tell a story, to understanding what constitutes a brand, to whether that iPad ad that Apple pulled was terrible or brilliant, they discuss what makes marketing so difficult. It all starts, Jaci says, with the industry’s refusal to set standards: “I can’t find another industry that treats themselves so badly. Electrician, CPA, Realtor, hairdresser, nail salon tech, everybody else has some semblance of something to say, ‘I am a legit entity.’ Except our industry.” Which is part of the reason, Jaci says, that this is the constant refrain she hears from frustrated business owners who hire agencies: “We paid them all this money. And we got nothing for it.” Plus: how do owners get past that feeling that they need to be the hardest worker in the office, the first one in and the last one out?

— Loren Feldman


 

We’re Making Good Money. I’m Not Sure How.

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Jay Goltz, Jennifer Kerhin, and Liz Picarazzi discuss their efforts to get a better grasp of what drives their profits. They ask how much of their finances they should manage themselves. And how much should they rely on an accountant or a fractional CFO? When does delegation become abdication? Jennifer says she’s benefitted from hiring a fractional CFO who has taken an active leadership role, including setting up a database that helps Jennifer see in real time whether the fees she’s charging cover the labor she’s deploying. “Whatever she’s charging me,” says Jennifer of her CFO, “it’s absolutely worth it.” Liz, meanwhile, thinks she should be doing more herself. And Jay says he was paying big bucks for a full-time CFO until late last year. “And it was a complete waste of money,” he says, which is why he’s decided not to replace her. Plus: Liz reveals her secret strategy for marketing directly to municipal government officials, some of whom have started to use the term “Citibin” generically. And the owners respond to a question from the head of a cost-reduction service who wonders why she’s struggling so much to get business owners to try her risk-free service.

— 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

 

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

 

I Just Cut My Pay

Loren Feldman


 

Introduction:

This week, Paul Downs tells Shawn Busse and Jay Goltz that his year has not gotten off to a great start. This was supposed to be the year that Paul unleashed a bold, new marketing campaign that would put his business on an entirely new trajectory—and perhaps it still will be. But for the moment, his revenue has fallen considerably short of his expectations, which has presented him with an unwelcome choice: Should he hold-off on the marketing campaign? Or should he cut his own salary? Along with discussing Paul’s decision, we also talk about the process of rethinking a website, how best to make use of LinkedIn—it’s a gold mine for both business development and recruiting, says Shawn—and why Paul and Shawn continue to perform their own HR chores.

— 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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