Survey Says!

The Results of Our Subscriber Survey Are In. A Webinar Discussion on the Tax-Deductibility of PPP Loans. And Explaining What Made Ivy Garfield a Hiring Goddess


Many thanks to everyone who filled out our survey the last two days. The results have given me great perspective on the more than 5,500 of you who have subscribed to the 21 Hats Morning Report -- and also taught me a thing or two about using SurveyMonkey. More about that in a moment.

First, a few highlights: More than 88 percent of you own your own business. About half of you have between one and 10 employees, while about 30 percent of you have more than 20. About 23 percent of you have annual revenue between $1 and $5 million. About 17 percent have revenue of more than $5 million. Most important to me, almost 60 percent of you say you read the Morning Report every day, and another 30 percent of you say you read it at least three times a week. And 63 percent of you say you would be extremely likely to recommend the newsletter to a friend or colleague (By all means, please feel free to do so!).

This was the first time I’ve created my own survey, which I expected to be free (I passed up the opportunity to upgrade and include 21 Hats branding on the survey form). Because this was my first time, I did some reading and watched a few videos looking for pointers. I suspect it was in the fine print somewhere but I did not catch the fact that I would have to pay a subscription fee if I wanted to see results beyond the first 40 responses. So that was my first lesson. It took me about 24 hours after we blew past 40 responses to pull out a credit card, but I eventually ponied up -- and thereby learned my second lesson. Turns out the first 40 responses were extremely representative of the group as a whole. So I probably could have skipped the upgrade.

Why am I sharing the survey results publicly? Well, because I feel as though we’re all on this journey together. But also because, especially now that I’ve paid for the year, we’re going to be doing more surveys; our next one will be about your attitudes toward debt. With that in mind, I wanted you to know who else is participating. I wanted to establish that you will be comparing notes with fellow owners (almost 90 percent of you!). If any of you have thoughts on these results (or on SurveyMonkey), I’d love to hear them. Just click on the comment button right below. Thanks!

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Venture-backed Divvy Homes is trying to alter the reputation of rent-to-own deals: “Instead of offering clients a meager selection of rundown homes to pick from, Divvy allows them to select a property on the open market. The sale price is locked in at the start of the lease, and they can get a discount for buying early. And would-be homeowners are offered services to help them get the mortgage they’ll need, while Divvy holds on to the extra money they put aside each month for a down payment. Already, some once-wary clients are convinced.”

  • “‘We did some research on it because we were skeptical and worried we might get scammed,’ said Nash Alexander, who closed on his home earlier this year.”

  • “Now Divvy is entering a crucial year. Its first round of three-year leases will soon expire, and those clients must make buy or back-out decisions.” READ MORE


The holidays are here and the year is winding down, but Tom Gimbel, founder of the LaSalle Network staffing agency says this is NOT the time for sales people to relax:


Looking for guidance on whether expenses paid with PPP loans will be tax deductible and whether you should go ahead and apply for loan forgiveness? Here’s a webinar panel discussion that will be hosted next week by Atlanta-based accounting firm Aprio. LEARN MORE HERE


Despite much criticism, opportunity zones have attracted billions: “The opportunity zone program, which was part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, allows investors to defer capital gains taxes and receive other tax benefits for making equity investments in real estate and operating businesses in underinvested areas. The Economic Innovation Group, a public policy organization based in Washington, has identified 186 real estate and business investments in opportunity zones in the United States, but the ability to track all projects taking place is limited. The group notes that there is congressional support to create a method of collecting more comprehensive opportunity zone investment information at the federal level.”

  • “But as the number of projects has grown, so has skepticism about whether they are aligned with the interests of the low-income communities or just a tax dodge.”

  • “Some zones simply don’t require an incentive to attract developers, said Brett Theodos, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit policy and research organization based in Washington.” READ MORE


The Trump administration is rushing to make dozens of regulatory changes in its final days: “Even as Trump and his allies officially refuse to concede the Nov. 3 election, the White House and federal agencies are hurrying to finish dozens of regulatory changes before Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The rules range from long-simmering administration priorities to last-minute scrambles and affect everything from creature comforts like shower heads and clothes washers to life-or-death issues like federal executions and international refugees. They impact everyone from the most powerful, such as oil drillers, drugmakers and tech startups, to the most vulnerable, such as families on food stamps, transgender people in homeless shelters, migrant workers and endangered species.”

  • “Six days after President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified food safety groups that it was proposing a regulatory change to speed up chicken factory processing lines, a change that would allow companies to sell more birds.”

  • “An earlier USDA effort had broken down on concerns that it could lead to more worker injuries and make it harder to stop germs like salmonella.”

  • “Ordinarily, a change like this would take about two years to go through the cumbersome legal process of making new federal regulations.” READ MORE


Amazon’s third-party sellers are increasingly sold on its connected TV ads: “Amazon only launched its connected TV advertising offerings in 2019. But experts predict sales of Amazon’s connected TV (CTV) ad inventory – which comes mainly from content viewable via Amazon’s FireTV device and its IMDb TV platform rather than Prime Video – will continue to accelerate. They point to key factors only Amazon can boast: a ubiquitous shopping platform and an incomparable amount of identifiable data showing what specific people and households watch and buy. These factors are especially compelling to the built-in base of advertisers already selling on Amazon.” READ MORE


We can learn from Europe’s decision to reopen for summer travel: “Europe seemed to have Covid-19 under control this summer, enough so that authorities let residents travel more freely among the region’s countries again. Then tourists flew home from vacations with the pathogen, seeding fresh outbreaks. As Americans enter a period of peak travel among their states starting with Thanksgiving, new discoveries about how Europe’s second coronavirus wave spread provide an object lesson. Many European regions had made such gains against Covid-19 as to be cited as models. Those gains proved fragile: Unanticipated pockets of infection on the continent and a rush to relax rules allowed it to surge across Europe again.” READ MORE


Episode 41: She Was a Hiring Goddess: Back in 1996, Jay Goltz had no real hiring process — and the results to prove it. “My hiring success rate,” Jay tells us, “was probably, I don't know, 30 or 40 percent.” And then he asked Ivy Garfield to take over his hiring. As Jay explains, Ivy brought an instinct, an understanding of how to assess people. “She profoundly changed my business,” he tells us. “She was here six years. Most of my key people she hired. They’re with me 25 years later.” Jay talks about the secret to Ivy’s success and why entrepreneurs like him tend to be terrible at hiring.

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Most importantly, have a wonderful holiday. Be safe. See you soon.

-- Loren Feldman (