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21 Hats Podcast
41 minutes | a day ago
Episode 58: How the Sausage Is Made
In this week’s conversation with Karen Clark Cole, Jay Goltz, and Stephanie Stuckey, we once again unearth more questions than answers—mostly because there are rarely one-size-fits-all answers to the questions we discuss. This week, those questions include: Can you be friends with your employees? Can you work with your family? How are you coping with price increases in your supply chain? How do you handle shipping—especially given the example set by Amazon? Are refrigerated trucks really called “reefer” trucks? And what happens when employees question whether you should be doing business with a particular person or company? Plus: Jay turns 65 without a succession plan.
42 minutes | 8 days ago
Episode 57: Dana White Decides to Franchise Paralee Boyd
This week, Dana White informs Jay Goltz and Stephanie Stuckey that she has begun the process of franchising her hair salons across the country, and perhaps the world. Why did she choose to franchise? As she explains, she does have concerns about controlling the culture in franchised locations, but she believes this is her best opportunity to grow. Interestingly, when Stephanie took over Stuckey’s in 2019, she bought a franchise business that she says had lost control of its franchisees, which is why she’s now moving in the opposite direction. Plus: Stephanie shares a debate that is raging within her company: Should she price her pecan log rolls for the convenience stores she’s selling them to now or for the more upscale outlets she hopes to attract? And Jay gives us an update on that idea for a new business he told us about just two weeks ago. (Spoiler alert: This is Jay Goltz we’re talking about.)
40 minutes | 15 days ago
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.)
44 minutes | 22 days ago
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.
43 minutes | a month ago
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.
50 minutes | a month ago
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.”
41 minutes | a month ago
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.
48 minutes | 2 months ago
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?
43 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 50: So You Bet the House?
This week, Stephanie Stuckey tells Paul Downs and Jay Goltz, both of whom have manufacturing operations, about her decision to buy a manufacturing plant and bring production of Stuckey’s snacks in-house. We talk about her conflicted concerns about a minimum wage hike, what it takes to build a strong culture in a repetitive-task environment, why she paid above book value for the company she bought, and how she managed to finance the purchase of a business that is four times the size of Stuckey’s. She’s very happy with the SBA loan she got, but it was not an easy process: “I had to take out an additional life insurance policy and list the bank. I was just waiting for them to call me and tell me my firstborn son has to be collateral as well.”
47 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 49: How Do We Get Out of This Cage?
This week, Karen, William, and Laura cover a lot of ground: For one thing, what do you do when the to-do list seems endless, you’re already working 24/7, and you just can’t get ahead? For another, what do you do when employees decide they want to work remotely from random parts of the country? Does that work? Is it a bureaucratic nightmare? Meanwhile, Laura is confronting several big, interrelated issues. Her co-founder and husband, Doug, is ready to step back from the business. That’s a little tricky because the company operates off a 19-year-old platform that Doug built, and only he knows how to make it work. They’ve been trying to hire tech people for Doug to train, but they’ve been through 15 people in 10 years—and they know they’re doing something wrong. Do they need to hire a recruiter? Is it time to junk Doug’s platform and go with Shopify? If they do that, will they forfeit 19 years of SEO value? All of which has left Laura feeling trapped. “That’s this cage that we’re in,” she tells us. “What the hell do you do?”
44 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 48: I Want Clean Hands
This week, Paul, Jay, and Dana give quick PPP updates—and then dive into a discussion of what a $15 federal minimum wage would mean for smaller businesses. Will it lift people out of poverty? Will it put businesses out of business? Will it hurt entry-level employees? “I'm listening to you, Jay,” Dana tells us, “and I'm thinking about the coffee shop owners I know who have to close.” To which Jay responds, “They say they have to close, but did they try raising their prices 5 percent first?” We also tackle a listener-submitted question about the best way to avoid unemployment claims, which can require forceful management. “There's no way around it,” Paul tells us. “You gotta be hard at some moments, as a boss. You just have to be.”
42 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 47: Optimism in D Minor
This week, William tells Karen and Dana that he’s cautiously optimistic about 2021 because his clients are cautiously optimistic and because he’s expecting lots of turnover as the pandemic recedes. William explains how he uses a “Frankenstein” customer relations system to track what his clients read on his website and to sense when those clients are getting ready to make a hire. The system then prompts the Vanderbloemen team to give the client a call. We also talk about why Karen is tired of being a best-kept secret and how Dana handles customers who have to be fired. Plus: there’s a new tax credit you should know about that William calls “pretty incredible” but that seems to be getting lost in the PPP shuffle.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 46: “A Fabulous Conversation About Marketing"
This week, we introduce Stephanie Stuckey, a new regular on the podcast who tells Dana White and Laura Zander about the iconic road stop business her grandfather founded: when it peaked, what went wrong, why she bought it back, and how she plans to rejuvenate it. Along the way, we discuss whether small businesses should outsource their marketing, how hard it is to find an agency that really listens, and what it should cost to hire a marketing firm. Plus: Stephanie offers a tutorial on how to engage followers—and get free consulting—on LinkedIn.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 45: I Will Be Here
This week, Paul Downs and Jay Goltz talk about their New Year’s resolutions. Here’s Paul’s: “My New Year's resolution is that we will be open on December 31st, 2021. And I don't know whether I'll have the same number of employees, but we will be open. I will be here.” And here’s Jay’s: “My New Year's resolution is: I'm not gonna do anything stupid this year. So far, so good.” Paul and Jay also talk about Paul’s disappearing backlog, each of their plans for PPP Round II, Jay’s efforts to lure one of his sons into his business, and—responding to a listener question—how they handle business and personal expenses. “I think we have to stop recording right here,” says Paul.
44 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 44: How Do I Manage My Managers?
This week, responding to a question from a listener, Jay, Dana, and Laura talk about managing people. Jay offers a four-step plan that starts with making sure you’ve hired the right manager: “Anytime you ever hear anyone complaining about their employees, it's a bad manager.” Laura talks about coming to the realization that her staff is not where she thought it was—and how that’s playing into her recent anxiety attacks: “So now, I’ve got anxiety about my anxiety.” Plus: Dana’s getting married! And Loren wants to know how you know if you have a real business.
39 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 43: All It Takes Is One Mistake
This week, in our final podcast taping of the year, Paul Downs, Jay Goltz, and William Vanderbloemen discussed the impact this year has had on their businesses and on themselves. William talked about the positive side of having to get back to a startup mentality: “It's definitely been a silver lining in the middle of a very dark cloud.” Paul talked about hoping he can offer his employees a good place to work for as long as possible: “I can give them probably another 10 years. And then beyond that, I don't know what will happen.” And Jay talked about the cash management mistake he made that could have been fatal: “If I wouldn't have gotten the PPP money, I don't know…”
48 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 42: The Great COVID Churn
This week, Paul Downs, William Vanderbloemen, and Laura Zander talk about William’s prediction that 2021 will be a year of employee turnover. His theory, which he says he’s already seeing evidence for, is that pent-up forces that were blocked by the pandemic this year will be unleashed in 2021—especially as vaccines arrive and the economy improves. His advice: Make sure your best people feel appreciated. Or, as he puts it: “Better to keep a good employee—even if it costs you more than you think it should—than to have to call me.” Plus: we establish that no one knows how to manage their PPP loan tax liability, and we discuss whether, when the time comes, businesses should require employees to get vaccinated.
42 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 41: She Was a Hiring Goddess
This episode is dedicated to Ivy Garfield. Back in 1996, Jay Goltz had no real hiring process and the results to prove it. “My hiring success rate,” Jay tells us, “was probably, I don't know, 30 or 40 percent, which isn't much better than whoever walks in you hire.” And then he asked Ivy Garfield to take over his hiring. As Jay explains, Ivy brought an instinct, an understanding of how to assess people. “She profoundly changed my business,” he tells us. “She was here six years. Most of my key people she hired. They’re with me 25 years later.” Jay talks about the secret to Ivy’s success and why entrepreneurs like him tend to be terrible at hiring. Plus: Dana White talks about being disappointed by a mentor. And Jay and Loren offer an apology.
42 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 40: We’ll Find Something for Them to Do
This week, starting with a conversation about crucial hires Dana White and Laura Zander have made recently—an operations manager for Dana, a salesperson for Laura—we found ourselves exploring some of the great unresolved debates of entrepreneurship. Which comes first when hiring: filling specific needs or finding places for good people? With sales people, do you motivate by paying commission or build a team by paying salary? And in finance, do you bootstrap to maintain control or raise capital to grow faster? Obviously, there’s no right answer for these questions, but Dana and Laura tell us what’s been working for them.
37 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 39: Are You Ready to Sell Your Business?
This week, Paul Downs, Jay Goltz, and William Vanderbloemen assess the damage of a stressful year. We started with the impact the year has had on the value of their businesses. Then we discussed whether they would be ready to sell their businesses if a generous offer were to come along. That prospect, Jay tells us, would likely cause him to do some soul-searching, but he would consider it skeptically. It seems to be a well accepted fact, he says, that most people who sell their business end up regretting it. Plus: as we head into budget season, we find out whether the three owners are planning to give raises. And in this week’s Morning Report News Quiz, we learn what happened to Inspiration, Imagination, and Fantasy.
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