Once again this week, in episode 65, our business owners discuss things business owners don’t often talk about in public. Laura Zander says she feels guilty about taking vacations, about making more money than her employees, and about knowing that her husband is closer to their son than she is. Paul Downs says he recently reviewed 29 years of P&Ls and was reminded that he lost money in 18 of those years. He also explains why he routinely tells his employees (and us) precisely how much money he takes out of his business. Jay Goltz, meanwhile, says he’s now embarrassed to be called a CEO and acknowledges that he’s thought maybe he should have worked 20 percent less while building his business, but isn’t sure if that would have resulted in 20 percent less revenue or perhaps 100 percent less revenue.
This week, in episode 64, Stephanie Stuckey tells Jay Goltz and Dana White about moving closer to the candy factory she recently bought to get a better feel for the people, the operation, and the challenges. Right now, those challenges include recruiting enough employees, absorbing increased supplier prices, and figuring out how much she should raise her own prices: “We can only give up so much of our margin, right?” she tells us. To which Jay responds, “Why give up any?” Plus: we talk about competing for labor with Amazon, whether to require employees to get vaccinated, how to manage legal fees, and whether Dana’s feelings of FUD have eased.
This week, in episode 63, Paul Downs, Jay Goltz, and Dana White talk about confronting inflation, raising their prices, what businesses owe their employees, and the venture-backed competitor who’s opening a store in Jay’s backyard. Among the questions we discuss are: Would you take back a rebound employee? Are unemployment payments the main reason owners are struggling to fill jobs? Is there anything wrong with taking business from another business? How many companies are truly disruptive? And do owners take all of the risk? Or are there risks for employees, too?
This week, in episode 62, Paul Downs, Jay Goltz, and Dana White talk about confronting inflation, raising their prices, what businesses owe their employees, and the venture-backed competitor who’s opening a store in Jay’s backyard. Among the questions we discuss are: Would you take back a rebound employee? Are unemployment payments the main reason owners are struggling to fill jobs? Is there anything wrong with taking business from another business? How many companies are truly disruptive? And do owners take all of the risk? Or are there risks for employees, too?
Is your office open? Is everyone coming back? Or are you going hybrid? Is everyone getting vaccinated? Are you offering them incentives to get vaccinated? When do the masks come off? Are you having a problem filling jobs? Have you had to increase what you pay? Paul Downs tells us, “The people who really seem to want the job and are enthusiastic about it don't have the skill-set. And the people with the skill-set don't seem to actually care about completing the process. So we did hire one guy who started a week ago Monday, and he quit three hours later.” This week, in episode 61, Paul, Stephanie Stuckey, and William Vanderbloemen compare notes on what they’re experiencing as we all search for that new normal.
This week, in episode 60, Jay Goltz, William Vanderbloemen, and Dana White discuss whether Jason Fried, the embattled co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, has displayed courageous leadership or lost his you-know-what. Widely admired for building a tech company that didn’t take venture capital and didn’t pursue growth for growth’s sake, Fried is co-author of a book called It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. All of which made it somewhat disorienting last week when things did indeed get crazy at Basecamp. It started when Fried published a blog post decreeing there would be no further discussion of political issues at the company, but it soon became clear that this was not just about coworkers arguing Trump vs. Biden. And by Friday, at least a third of the company’s 57 employees had resigned. In this episode, we go searching for lessons.
This week, episode 59, with Paul Downs, Jay Goltz, and William Vanderbloemen was supposed to be about how the pandemic has affected sales strategies—and for a while it was. But it seemed Paul, Jay, and William really wanted to discuss public relations. They talked about how to get PR and how to assess the results. They compared the merits of public relations to those of advertising. And they discussed whether you need to hire a firm or whether you can do it yourself. One concern all three shared is the cost of hiring a public relations person. As Jay pointed out, “You hire an accountant, you're going to get some accounting. You hire a lawyer, they’ll do some legal work. PR's one of the few things you can pay money for and get absolutely nothing.”
In this week’s conversation, episode 58, 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.
This week, in episode 57, 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.)
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.)