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Please Go Away
That’s the name of a travel company—and an example of a trend toward multi-word names for businesses.
Here are today’s highlights:
With warehouse space tight, the supply-chain chaos isn’t easing.
Neither is the labor shortage: Home Depot wants to hire 100,000 workers.
The easy money for venture-backed startups may be drying up.
When naming a startup, misspellings continue to be the go-to option: “Creatively misspelled words, long popular for startup names, continue to rank among the top choices for nascent companies. Other top naming trends include short brands, ‘ly’ suffixes, puns and human first names, according Crunchbase’s latest deep-dive into startup brands. ‘A lot of what’s driving things is people saying: I really want to name it that but the domain is taken,’ said Athol Foden, president of Brighter Naming, a corporate naming consultancy.”
“Misspellings have become so popular that there are often multiple companies with the same spell check-triggering names. The Crunchbase dataset includes several companies named ‘Swapp,’ ‘Shyft,’ and ‘Flyp,’ for instance ...”
“Much of the enthusiasm for misspellings, Foden observes, comes from companies seeking to reach their audiences via their mobile phones. ‘There’s only so much real estate you can see on a small phone,’ he said, so leaving out vowels may actually help a bit.”
“Our name survey found several examples of companies picking catchy word combos that also illustrate what they do. ... Standouts include TeamOut, a platform for organizing team offsites; Starchive, a place where creators can archive their works; and Leasecake, a provider of tools to make managing leases easier.”
“The advantage to a multi-word name is that there are a lot more options to choose from, said Foden, noting that many of his favorite company monikers are plays on words. One of his top picks isn’t a venture-backed startup but rather a travel company that goes by the name Please Go Away.” READ MORE
Don’t expect a “normal” supply chain any time soon: “It will require investment, technology and a refashioning of the incentives at play across global business. It will take more ships, additional warehouses and an influx of truck drivers, none of which can be conjured quickly or cheaply. Many months, and perhaps years, are likely to transpire before the chaos subsides.”
“As warehouses have been swamped by goods, major retailers have added capacity at a breakneck pace. Amazon spent more than $164 million to construct new warehouse space last year ...”
“‘If you look at Southern California, you look at the greater New York-New Jersey area, there’s just no more land in the most sought-after locations.’”
“With limited room to stash goods offloaded from inbound vessels, containers have piled up on docks uncollected. That has prompted port overseers to force ships to float offshore for days and even weeks before they can unload.”
“‘A ship that’s queued up is not a ship that’s moving stuff back and forth across the ocean,’ Mr. Levy, the Flexport chief economist, said. ‘It’s a floating warehouse.’” READ MORE
Everyone’s looking for ways to stretch the warehouse space they do have: “Logistics firms are taking several steps to deal with the scarcity of storage space, like signing deals for new space long before ground is broken and expanding searches for sites farther from coastal ports, to such areas as Knoxville, Tenn.; the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania; and Reno, Nev. They are also reimagining the commercial warehouse space they already occupy. And in densely populated areas where land is scarce and zoning restrictive, they are vying to build taller warehouses or spread their goods to smaller spaces such as vacant storefronts that were shuttered during the pandemic.”
“Atlanta, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and the Lehigh Valley had the most industrial space under construction in the fourth quarter of 2021, and the national vacancy rate fell to 3.2 percent, according to a study from CBRE Group. Rents rose 11 percent in the quarter, setting a record, the study showed.”
“‘Companies are grabbing warehouses with 50 percent more space than they need,’ he said. ‘They are lowering operating margins just to increase infrastructure so they have it.’”
“Some small retailers are becoming more strategic by using space that opens up in neighboring businesses that have shut down, as well as freed-up space within their own shops because they have fewer in-person customers and more online orders.” READ MORE
Home Depot is looking to hire 100,000 people for the spring: “For the past two years, Home Depot has met its hiring goal of 80,000 in the run-up to its busy spring season, when warmer weather and an urge to tackle springtime projects tend to boost home improvement sales. This year, despite the tight labor market, the big box chain is increasing its latest hiring goal to a new high. ‘The consumer demand continues to spike and we want to ensure that we have associates to meet customers' needs in our aisles,’ vice president and head of global talent acquisition Eric Schelling told Insider.k” READ MORE
Goodfynd helps food-truck entrepreneurs manage their businesses: “Because food trucks take a fraction of what it costs to launch and run a brick-and-mortar restaurant, chefs are diverse, representing all races, genders, and social-economic levels. Entrepreneurs don't need a college degree or to speak English to operate a mobile food business. The subsector is outpacing the broader foodservice industry even during the pandemic and is expected to continue to grow at a faster rate.”
“The initial idea for Goodfynd was to solve the threesome's problem of keeping track of a food truck that they liked. The team started building an app but soon found that food truck entrepreneurs had other needs, too.”
“Before the pandemic, many food trucks were located on city streets—close to offices and retail businesses. With so many Americans working from home, mobile food vendors were no longer within proximity of consumers.”
“This challenge was an opportunity for food truck entrepreneurs to meet consumers where they were now located.” READ MORE
Venture-backed startups may have to start trying to make money: “Venture capitalists say a significant reset in investment behavior is beginning to take hold that is poised to reduce initial public offerings, leave some companies short of funding and crimp valuations. Investors say several large startup backers are cutting back their investments, curtailing a flow that sprayed at full blast for most of the pandemic, particularly for older, more mature startups. And venture firms say they are advising their companies to prepare to conserve cash in a tougher funding environment.”
“Dbt Labs Inc., a fast-expanding business-software company, recently scaled back its fundraising plans. It struck a deal with investors for a funding round that values the Philadelphia-based company around $4 billion, down from the more than $6 billion it initially negotiated, according to people familiar with the deal.”
“‘It’s harder to raise today than it was six months ago,’ said Peter Fishman, a longtime Silicon Valley tech professional and chief executive of data-automation startup Mozart Data Inc., which he founded during the pandemic. ‘It is a pop of irrational exuberance.’” READ MORE
THE COVID ECONOMY
A Goldman Sachs survey finds that small businesses overwhelmingly favor more government funding: “In our latest survey, 82 percent of small business owners support the federal government providing additional financial emergency assistance to small businesses given the rise of new Covid-19 strains. Consistent with our firm’s purpose of advancing sustainable economic growth and financial opportunity, Goldman Sachs is committed to supporting relief efforts, elevating the voices of our small business community to policymakers, and working across sectors on innovative sources of funding.”
Seventy-one percent say omicron has affected their businesses negatively.
Thirty-seven percent say they have had to close temporarily or scale back operations because of the recent rise in cases.
Ninety-seven percent of those hiring say difficulties in hiring are affecting their bottom lines. READ MORE
Consumers are shifting spending from goods to services: “After bingeing on goods earlier in the pandemic, consumers are taking a breather. What’s more, spending on goods has been hit by supply-chain constraints, rising prices and dwindling government stimulus funds. As warmer springtime weather comes to much of the country and falling infection rates help people feel more comfortable socializing in-person, pent-up demand for services such as travel and dining should recover, said Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union.”
‘If the Omicron wave continues to decline and there’s no follow-up strain, I do think we’re going to see a shift to a more normal breakdown in spending on goods and services,’ he said.”
“That could be important for the inflation outlook. Strong demand for goods coupled with disruptions to their supply have fueled inflation, sending it to a 39-year high of 7 percent in December.” READ MORE
Travel destinations are increasingly requiring boosters: “Whether it is getting on an airplane or trying to get into venues such as restaurants and museums, those traveling should expect the rules of entrance to continue to move for the foreseeable future, says Myron S. Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. ‘We’re building an airplane while we’re flying,’ Dr. Cohen says. ‘Different countries are going to do different things. If I felt I had to travel, I would do my very best to have as many doses of the vaccine as was permissible.’”
“Travelers should expect increased requirements to be the norm in 2022, says Marc Casto, a president of travel agency Flight Centre Travel Group. ‘Those that do not will likely be subject to quarantine along with more rigid and frequent testing,’ he says.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
The Game Has to End at Some Point: This week, Shawn Busse, Paul Downs, and Jay Goltz talk about their evolving succession plans. There are lots of options—selling the business, turning it over to a family member, selling it to an employee stock ownership plan, holding a going-out-of-business sale, just walking away—and they all come with advantages and disadvantages. Plus: Would any of them consider instituting a four-day work week? And we can report that this podcast now has its first B Corp. Who knows what a B Corp is?
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