What Is 21 Hats?
21 Hats is a brand new online community for business owners. As the name suggests, we at 21 Hats understand that you have to wear a lot of hats to build a business but some hats fit better fits than others, right? This site is here to help.
I’m Loren Feldman, chief content officer, and let me back up for a moment and tell you why I’m so excited about launching this site. For more than 15 years, I’ve been part of the senior editorial staff covering entrepreneurship at Inc., The New York Times, and Forbes. One early lesson has stuck with me. It happened when I was conducting a focus group of business owners, and we asked one of them what he hoped to get out of the business magazines he read. “I’ll tell you what I don’t want,” the owner responded. “I don’t want to be told how to run my business by a 23-year-old journalist working for a money-losing publication.”
Good point. And put that way, it suddenly seemed clear to me that the most valuable things we can offer owners are the insights, lessons, and stories that come from the people who live them. In other words, at 21 Hats we’re not going to tell you how to run your business. But we are going to share news and analysis through forums that let you can connect with other owners and through news articles, Q&As, webinars, and podcasts that feature a range of voices speaking honestly about what it takes to build a successful business—and what to do when success is elusive.
Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with some very smart journalists and entrepreneurs, many of whom will be joining me at 21 Hats. At Inc, I edited Norm Brodsky’s column, when it was nominated for two National Magazine awards, including one for an amazingly raw and transparent series on his efforts to sell his business. I also worked with author Bo Burlingham, editing pieces like his cover story about a business owner, Jay Goltz, who learned the hard way that there is a price to be paid for getting caught up in the hype that often surrounds business growth. At the Times, where I introduced the You’re the Boss blog, Goltz became one of our regular contributors and may have been the first person to do the math and show what a terrible deal Groupon could be for business owners. Another contributor, Paul Downs, started blogging when he thought his company was headed for bankruptcy and then took us along for the ride as he turned his business around (and then almost lost it again when he made a big mistake on his pay-per-click campaign).
At Forbes, Bo Burlingham and I created the annual list of Forbes Small Giants, businesses that are more focused on being great than being big. Unlike most company lists, the companies we picked had to be closely held, leaders in their industry, and profitable. For example, we picked Zulu Alpha Kilo, which figured out that it could build a business without playing the typical advertising industry game of giving away its best work trying to win accounts; Missouri Star, which was started by a family that went from food stamps to a $40 million-a-year quilting business that turned a one-stoplight Missouri town into a tourist destination; and SRC Holdings, which pioneered open-book management, adopted employee ownership and eventually managed to turn factory workers into millionaires while topping $600 million in annual revenue.
Debuting in 2020, 21 Hats will be the best of all the above. Want to get a taste right now? You can start by subscribing for free to the 21 Hats Morning Report, the only email newsletter that searches the Web every day specifically for the news, insights, and analysis that entrepreneurs need. You can also subscribe for free to the 21 Hats Podcast, a weekly conversation among remarkably candid business owners who share their own challenges and engage in conversations on topics you rarely hear discussed in public, like whether their businesses are as profitable as they should be and what’s the right time and process to fire someone. Can’t wait for more? Sign up here to get an alert when the full 21 Hats site goes live.
Got a question, suggestion, or concern? You can always email me: email@example.com. Until then, hats off to you, my friends.
-- Loren Feldman, 21 Hats
What Else Can You Expect On 21 Hats?
Our forum will allow members to start targeted conversations with the community and receive specific advice.
Discover everything from the latest policy news to advice on creating a business plan – and everything in between.
View other 21 Hats members, connect with them on social media, read their contributions and more.