Latest POST
Ami Kassar on SBA and fintechs.
Why Opening SBA Loans to Fintech Lenders Is a Mistake

The goal is to get more capital in the hands of under-represented entrepreneurs, but the results could be disastrous.

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About 21 Hats: What We Do. What People Say. How We Got Here

Have you read our testimonials? At 21 Hats, don't tell you how to run your business. But we do publish news articles, Q&As, webinars, podcasts about what it takes to build a business.

Jack Stack Explains What He Loves About Recessions

Early on, Stack learned to see recessions as opportunities, using each one since 1983 to buy assets, shift strategies, and transform the business. And now he's doing it again.

Why I’m Moving My Column from Inc to 21 Hats

Ami Kassar explains why he doesn't want to be associated with brands that promote alternative lenders.

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Latest PODCAST EPISODE
Episode 134: Should We Tell the Employees?
Should We Tell the Employees?

This week, Shawn Busse, Jay Goltz, and Laura Zander talk about the buying and selling of businesses. Laura thinks her recent purchase of a small distribution business could change the trajectory of her whole company, helping her finesse the challenge of selling wholesale products to her retail competitors. Jay, meanwhile, has been trying to help an aging business owner sell the kind of business that too often just fades away. Underlying both discussions is an intriguing question: While it’s common practice for owners trying to sell their business to keep the potential sale a secret, fearing employees might otherwise flee, is that really the best approach? Or is it actually a betrayal? Plus: We answer a listener's question about finding the right balance between being a kind boss and being a pushover. And we play a quick game of Who Said It: Elon Musk or Mr. Burns?

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Should You Be in a Business Group?
TIME TO LISTEN: 47:05

This week, Sarah Segal, Jay Goltz, and special guest Leo Bottary have a hype-free conversation about why peer-advisory groups like Vistage, YPO, and EO can be life-changing for business owners and why they’re not for everyone. Sarah has been wondering if they’re for her. Jay, who’s been in six different peer groups, says it can be worth the price of admission just to see how other owners run their businesses—but there are reasons he keeps leaving the groups he joins. And Leo is a former Vistage employee who has written multiple books on peer groups and has built a related consulting practice. Surprisingly few business owners belong to a peer group. Are they missing out? All three of my guests suggest questions to consider before deciding for yourself.

Successful Raise, Fast Growth, Mental Health Issues
TIME TO LISTEN: 40:09

This week, Hans Schrei tells Shawn Busse why this has been a difficult year at Wunderkeks—despite many outward signs of success. It has to do with buying into the need to raise money and shoot the moon. It has to do with accepting the accolades that come with entrepreneurial achievement and then questioning your own self-worth when those accolades stop coming. It’s what Hans calls, “the miracle worker complex.” Hans and Shawn also discuss what it means to rely upon a sales platform like Amazon. Do you own the customer or does Amazon? And Shawn explains the biggest takeaway from his most recent Vistage meeting.

Bonus Episode: Seth Goldman Brews Another Ice Tea
TIME TO LISTEN: 35:03

This week, in a special bonus episode recorded right before Labor Day, Seth Goldman talks about getting the disappointing news that Honest Tea, the brand he built and sold to Coca Cola, was being discontinued—and how it took him about two weeks to decide to create another tea business to fill the shelf space that Coke was vacating. Along the way, Goldman talks about why it made sense to sell a mission-driven business to a soda company, what he wishes he had done differently in the sale, what it was like being a Coke employee, what he’s been doing since leaving, how the beverage industry has evolved, and whether he’ll end up selling this business to Coke, too.

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Never miss a 21 Hats Podcast episode
Latest CONVERSATION
The Changing Face of the Yarn Industry

For many, knitting may still conjure an image of a grandmother in a rocking chair, her cats sleeping and her doilies taking shape. In recent years, however, the quiet industry of tiny neighborhood yarn shops scattered across the U.S. has become an unlikely cultural battleground. It’s been divided by charges of racism and cultural appropriation that have erupted in a series of social media firestorms, prompting some owners to close, sell, or rebrand their businesses. It may seem surprising that such a quiet pursuit could produce so much conflict, but it’s really not all that different from the fissures afflicting the country as a whole. In this conversation, we meet three women who were not content to stick to their knitting: Adella Colvin, whose business, LolaBean Yarn Co., is a prominent independent dyer based in Grovetown, Ga.; Gaye “GG” Glasspie, a leading yarn industry influencer whose signature color is orange and who is based in Clifton, N.J.; and Felicia Eve, who owns String Thing Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the few Black-owned yarn shops in the country. The video offers our entire conversation. You can also listen to a slightly edited 21 Hats Podcast version of the conversation wherever you get podcasts.

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What’s Wrong With Small Business Marketing?

It’s not always about marketing. Sometimes, the real issues go deeper. Sometimes, before you can figure out how to sell, you have to figure out who you are.

What’s in It for the Owner? A Skeptical Conversation about ESOPs

Both Jeff Taylor and Jim Kalb run companies with employee stock ownership plans. Jay Goltz is thinking about implementing one — but he’s got questions, such as: Where does the money to buy the company come from?

A Business Owner Dares to Start a Real Conversation About Race

White owners often ask Mel Gravely, CEO of TriVersity Construction, what they can do to help. He’s got an answer for them, which he offers in this interview and in his challenging new book, ‘Dear White Friend.’

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