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Episode 81: Holy Crap! This Is All My Dreams Come True
Holy Crap! This Is All My Dreams Come True

This week, in episode 81, we have a celebration. As many of you will recall, when we started this podcast, Karen Clark Cole was coming off months of failed negotiations with a potential investor in Blink, the business she co-founded. Those months she spent focused on the investor took a toll on both Blink and on Karen, who subsequently took a mental health sabbatical. But, as Karen tells Jay Goltz and William Vanderbloemen, she came back, refocused, and has just sold Blink for $94 million in cash. As you might imagine, we had some questions for Karen, including: Will she stay? How many employees knew what was going on? Was there a bidding war? Is there an earnout? What was it like to wake up one morning knowing that she had taken all of her financial risk off the table? And is she ready to report to a boss?

I’m a Freak About the Numbers

This week, on episode 78, Jay Goltz, Diana Lee, and Dana White talk about how they manage their financials—what reports they get, what KPIs they track, and how they make sure the sales team isn’t going rogue. We also learn of a new wrinkle in Dana’s growth plan. She’s concluded that—along with rolling out franchises and installing hair salons on military bases from Texas to Germany to Okinawa—she also needs to create her own software platform to manage her salons. “Cha-ching,” responds Jay. Plus: Diana explains how the new digital marketing privacy rules hamstring small businesses—and what they can do about it.

'Pardon Me. I’m So Sorry. This Is My First Pandemic'

This week, in episode 79, we go one-on-one with William Vanderbloemen. We start off talking about how he saw The Great Resignation coming and what he thinks are the keys to coping with it. Then we step back, and—with the help of many questions suggested by listeners—we discuss his conversion from pastor to CEO, what happened to his company culture when everyone went remote, and why he still reads every single email he gets—even when he’s off on a seven-week sabbatical. Plus: how he hit upon his unconventional social media strategy and his suggestions if you’re looking for a VP of marketing. (Suggestion No. 1: Try not to lose the one you have.)

Should I Open My Books to My Employees?

This week, in episode 80, we talk about open-book management, which its proponents call the only sensible way to run a company. To test that theory, we bring together three skeptics and three believers to discuss what it really means for owners to open their books: Do employees know what the boss makes? Do they flee when the numbers turn red? Do they expect to have a say in big decisions? What emerges is an intimate look at how six smart business owners run their businesses.

Can an Entrepreneur Raise an Entrepreneur?

This week, in episode 77, Jay Goltz and Diana Lee discuss the dangers of mixing entrepreneurship and parenting. Years ago, when Chris Rock was asked in an interview about his relationship with his children, he responded, “My kids are rich. I have nothing in common with them.” Obviously, that’s an extreme example, played for laughs by a comedian, but you don’t have to be a celebrity to wonder about the differences between your upbringing and your kids’ upbringing. As it happens, Jay and Diana were both raised in family businesses, but they offer contrasting approaches to the challenges of raising a family and building a business at the same time. Plus: we also talk about what the upheaval in the auto industry means for Diana, how to think about the president’s vaccine mandate, and whether Jay has resolved his crazy double-billing problem with AT&T.

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Our Best New Accounts Are Coming Through LinkedIn

This week, in episode 76, Stephanie Stuckey talks about how she’s been winning her biggest retail accounts for Stuckey’s candies without a sales pitch. She also explains her latest manufacturing snafu, which she calls, “the case of the squishy pecan log rolls.” Laura Zander, meanwhile, tells us about the supply chain challenges she’s faced getting products from China, Vietnam, and South Africa. Plus, she talks us through how her latest price increases have resulted in a doubling of orders.

Dashboard: How Will the Vaccine Mandate Affect Smaller Businesses?

Every Monday, Loren Feldman and Gene Marks discuss the issues business owners should be monitoring. This week: the president’s vaccine mandate, the expanded EIDL, mitigating inflation, preventing ransomware attacks, and getting creativity from a remote workforce.

I Don’t Pay for Podcasts. Why Would I Pay for Yours?

This week, in episode 75, Karen Clark Cole, Paul Downs, and William Vanderbloemen start with a discussion of how 21 Hats might finally take the plunge into monetization. We also discuss Karen’s decision to forgo less-profitable revenue, William’s grand experiment of unplugging for seven weeks, and Paul’s attempt to balance personal and company responsibilities. Plus, we consider the impact of The Great Resignation, and we look for lessons to take from last week’s discussion about mental health.

'Every Day, I Have to Force Myself to Get Out of Bed'

Because our core group of business owners has been talking to each other pretty much every week since before the pandemic, we’ve gotten to know each other. We’ve come to trust each other. And as a result, our conversations sometimes take unexpected turns. This week, in episode 74, our conversation takes an unexpectedly dark turn. We start out talking about Laura Zander’s efforts to manage personnel conflicts and Dana White’s visits to potential salon sites on military bases and Jay Goltz’s bizarre battle with his phone company, and we think we know what we’re talking about. But we keep talking until we realize that some of the issues we are discussing are more complicated and more painful than we’d understood, as is often the case with matters of mental health. You should know this conversation contains frank discussion of depression and suicide. For listeners, this may be surprising—not because anyone would think that entrepreneurs are immune to the afflictions that plague us all, but because there aren’t many public forums where people confront those afflictions openly and genuinely and in real time. For us, this conversation was a strong reminder that we often don’t really know what others are experiencing, whether they be friends, colleagues, or family.

Get Rid of the Arsonists

This week, in episode 73, we have a very special episode. It’s the dog days of August, and the only regular available was Jay Goltz. So we reached out to a bunch of loyal listeners who we happen to know have listened to every episode of this podcast, and we asked them if there was more they wanted to know about Jay—or if they’d heard enough. It turned out, they had some great questions, including: What he thought of Dana’s “Jay” Impression? What exactly he does all day (turns out, he’s not sure either)? How he learned to delegate? How he knows when it’s time to fire someone? And which of the other 21 Hats Podcast businesses he’d be inclined to invest in?

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