Suffering in Silence
In a survey, more than 80 percent of entrepreneurs say the stigma around mental health remains a factor.
Here are today’s highlights:
Do your job candidates really need a college degree?
It’s not getting any easier to hire tech workers.
Here’s how a Detroit bakery’s pivot helped it crack $1 million in revenue.
“Does this mean we’re on a sinking ship?” asked one newly minted Metamate.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL LIFE
For entrepreneurs, the stigma around mental health still prevails: “In The Hustle’s survey of more than 300 entrepreneurs, 63 percent of business owners reported that they’ve dealt with or are currently dealing with burnout. And burnout can be especially problematic for founders, who often wear many hats and are responsible for their company’s growth and success. The survey showed that a variety of emotional factors negatively impact entrepreneurs and accelerate burnout, including financial concerns (22 percent), work-life balance (15 percent), and day-to-day stress (15 percent). Plus, the pandemic hasn’t helped — everyday stressors are magnified by a public health crisis that is running into its third year.”
“Burnout, which the World Health Organization officially recognized in its 2019 International Classification of Diseases, is a syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress and requires its own unique attention and treatment.”
“Adding to the hardships: 84 percent of business owners say there is stigma around mental health in the community (though 61 percent of that group agree it’s getting better). Mental health stigma can make finding help more difficult, and cause many to suffer in silence.”
“Since burnout can cause a physical change as a result of workplace stress, the ultimate treatment would be to take time away from the workplace that is causing distress.” READ MORE
The labor shortage has prompted employers to think twice about requiring a college degree: “Will employers' newfound open-mindedness towards workers without degrees last? It's hard to say, but there are reasons to be hopeful. ‘The shift may reflect only a temporary accommodation in the face of an emergency ... but nonetheless, given its scale, it's likely to teach us a lot about whether workers who have degrees actually perform better than newly hired workers who do not,’ the researchers note. They stress previous studies show performance differences between those with and without degrees ‘are often marginal outside specific fields such as professional services and finance.’”
“Academics will no doubt be keeping a close eye on job requirements as the virus fades, but for entrepreneurs and hiring managers the message is already clear.”
“It's time to take a hard look at how you hire. If you're still clinging to the reassurance of a college degree when it's not strictly necessary, competing for talent is just going to get harder.” READ MORE
It’s not getting any easier to hire tech workers: “In late January, [Tiffany] Dyba, working on contract with a tech company on the West Coast, sent out a mass blast on LinkedIn, tailored to reach data analysts, which is to say free of the kind of friendly, conversational fillips she might otherwise include (‘Your LinkedIn profile looks amazing’ and ‘I hope this finds you well!’). Data analysts — really, they just want the data. ‘Hi [name],’ Dyba wrote in the message. ‘We’re looking for a talented Data Analyst to analyze huge data sets, build predictive models, and help us drive growth. I thought you could be a great fit.’”
“The job she posted listed its selling points — the business had 400 percent growth a year, the backing of a legendary venture capitalist, no limit to personal vacation days, full coverage of employee health-care premiums and the option to work remote or locally.”
“Dyba estimates that she sent the listing to about 75 prospective hires and received back maybe five responses, three of which were either a brief ‘no thanks’ or the simple declination of her InMail message.”
“A declination — that’s LinkedIn language for ‘Please, stop throwing all these jobs at me with employer-paid health-insurance premiums and unlimited vacation time.’” READ MORE
Belgium is giving employees the right to request a four-day work week: “The option for employees to work longer days in order to earn a three-day weekend was among a package of economic reforms agreed within the governing coalition on Tuesday. Companies can turn down a request by an employee for a condensed working week – under which they will work the same total hours – but employers will need to justify their response in writing.”
“Four-day working weeks were trialed in Iceland between 2015 and 2019, and it has since become the choice of 85 percent of the country’s working population.”
“A six-month trial of a four-day week is due to start in 2023 in Scotland with a £10 million fund made available to participating companies by the government.” READ MORE
FOOD & BEVERAGE
In Detroit, April Anderson’s Good Cakes and Bakes found a new business model during the pandemic: “After realizing many customers had been asking about shipping the bakery’s cakes nationwide, Anderson decided to pivot and lean more into delivery in the face of the pandemic. ‘We realized we needed to move at a faster pace,’ Anderson said. She reached out to Goldbelly, which ships regional and artisanal foods across the U.S. Connecting with the platform allowed Anderson to grow her cake delivery from 20 cakes a day to up to 100 cakes a day.”
“She grossed more than $1 million for the first time in 2021. Anderson is even preparing to open up a facility dedicated to the shipping business later this year.” READ MORE
If Texas connected to the federal grid, it could unleash a wave of investment and innovation: “I’ve calculated that clean energy flowing from parts of Texas could help retire coal and natural gas plants elsewhere in the state and in other states, reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by 100 million tons or more. And ERCOT’s total planned development, if realized, could unleash a wave of investment and innovation from entrepreneurs, project developers and venture firms like the one I work at that could result, by my calculations, in some $10 billion in new electricity sales annually. Much of that revenue would flow to rural communities, boosting local wages. Texans could sell clean renewable power for a profit while helping other states decarbonize and improving reliability for the next big storm.”
“Texas leaders have said they are afraid of the federal regulators. Rick Perry, a former Texas governor and federal energy secretary, claimed that Texans would rather endure multi-day blackouts than have federal regulators scrutinizing the state’s grid.”
“Texas already deals with federal regulators to export natural gas, gasoline, liquefied natural gas and crude oil. Why make an exception for electricity? This stubborn fear of federal regulators means the state will leave money on the table while risking another disaster.” READ MORE
Google says companies can continue marketing under existing privacy rules for at least two years: “Google said on Wednesday that it was working on privacy measures meant to limit the sharing of data on smartphones running its Android software. But the company promised those changes would not be as disruptive as a similar move by Apple last year. Apple’s changes to its iOS software on iPhones asked users for permission before allowing advertisers to track them. Apple’s permission controls — and, ultimately, the decision by users to block tracking — have had a profound impact on internet companies that built businesses on so-called targeted advertising.”
“Google did not provide an exact timeline for its changes, but said it would support existing technologies for at least two more years.”
“This month, Meta, the company founded as Facebook, said Apple’s privacy changes would cost it $10 billion this year in lost advertising revenue.”
“As part of the changes, Google said, it plans to phase out Advertising ID, a tracking feature within Android that helps advertisers know whether users clicked on an ad or bought a product as well as keep tabs on their interests and activities.” READ MORE
Henceforth, employees of Meta are to be known as Metamates: “Google’s employees are called Googlers. Amazon’s workers are known as Amazonians. Yahoo’s employees were Yahoos. So it was a conundrum for employees at Facebook, long known as Facebookers, when the company renamed itself Meta late last year. The terminology is now no longer in question. At a meeting on Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and Meta’s chief executive, announced a new name for his company’s employees: Metamates.”
“‘How is this going to change the company? I don’t understand the messaging,’ one [Meta] engineer wrote in a private chat viewed by The New York Times. ‘We keep changing the name of everything, and it is confusing.’”
“Another employee said being a Metamate reminded him of sailing. ‘Does this mean we are on a sinking ship?’ the worker wrote.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
Why Not Become the Strategic Buyer? This week, Shawn Busse, Karen Clark Cole, and Jay Goltz responded to a smart suggestion from a listener, Buzz Park, who is founder and CEO of Lightyear Management Group, which buys service and manufacturing companies. Here’s the suggestion:
“I want to encourage Paul that there is a much more efficient way to double his customer base than trying to grow organically 14 percent per year, for five years. May I suggest Paul seriously consider scaling through acquisition, buying other furniture companies. There are multiple benefits to this type of growth. And often these acquisitions can be made without a huge cash expenditure out of pocket. Not only could Paul instantly double his customer base, he would also be instantly gaining the talent and manufacturing capacity to handle the growth. Post-acquisition consolidation could reduce overhead and costs. Also, he could potentially cross-sell to a new customer base and vice versa. There's so many other potential benefits, too many to list. So if his exit strategy is to grow large enough to be attractive to a strategic buyer, why not become the strategic buyer with this strategy?”
You can subscribe to the 21 Hats Podcast wherever you get podcasts.
If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren