The Great Boomerang?

The guy who coined the term The Great Resignation expects former employees to start asking for their jobs back.

Good morning!

Here are today’s highlights:

  • Spotlight on Chillibreeze: PowerPoint will not be around forever.

  • Gene Marks says Facebook has been very good for small businesses.

  • There’s a new guest judge on Shark Tank.

  • Retail sales jumped in September.

HUMAN RESOURCES

Where’d everybody go? “Many economists expected school reopenings, expiring unemployment benefits and the fading Delta variant to help boost labor-force participation this fall. But evidence suggests labor shortages might be deepening: Labor supply declined in September and workers quit at record rates in August. Some economists are concerned that worsening worker shortages reflect longer-term shifts, such as the pandemic-driven acceleration of retirements, that won’t reverse. Many expect the labor shortage to last at least several more years, and some say it’s permanent.” READ MORE

But boomerang employees may start asking for their jobs back: “That's according to Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Texas A&M who studies how people quit their jobs. Klotz predicted the surge of quitters back in May, before it had shown up in any of the macroeconomic data, and coined the now ubiquitous term ‘the Great Resignation.’ So I was interested to hear what he's expecting to see next. But when I called him up after the new job numbers came out on Tuesday, we ended up talking about another prediction he made last spring: that many people who quit their jobs will wind up returning to their old employers.”

THE 21 HATS SPOTLIGHT: CHILLIBREEZE

We recently asked Morning Report subscribers to introduce themselves by sending in a photo and answering a few questions. Today, we meet Joanna Budelman, co-founder of Chillibreeze. Are you ready for your Spotlight? CLICK HERE

Location of business: Shillong, Meghalaya, India

Website: www.chillibreeze.com

Nature of business: Chillibreeze is a 15-year-old graphic design company that specializes in overnight graphic support for PowerPoint presentations. We provide this service to large companies and consulting businesses predominantly located in the USA and Europe. For the last six years we have been taking our profits and investing in local start-up businesses. Zizira sells hard-to-find potent spices and herbs. Muezart sells Eri silk yarn, an indigenous fiber that comes from the locally farmed silkworm.

Number of employees: 196.

One key decision that helped you get where you are: Initially, we sold one-off graphic design services direct-to-consumer. This is a difficult business because our team needed to understand each new customer and their design preferences for every project. It was hard to get it right the first time, especially with the cultural differences. One day, a consulting firm that needed graphic support for PowerPoint presentations contacted us. They had a specific style and approach. But more importantly, they needed this same type of graphic support over and over again. The key to our newly discovered niche: repeat business.

If you had it to do over: Be more faithful to our beliefs. Early on, we kept skilled people over people who were a bit slower but had the right values. This slowed down building our culture of service and care.

One aspect of running a business you have yet to master: Content marketing in this new era. In 1999 we were king and queen of marketing. Today it is another world, and we have not been able to master organic marketing.

Most successful form of marketing: Word of mouth from our customers. These large companies and firms need fast iterative work. We can do this super fast because we work while our customers sleep! Consultants tell their clients about the “Chillibreeze Magic” because their customers often ask, “How did you make this look good overnight?”

Problem you would most like to solve now: We don’t have a succession plan. My husband Ralph and I are the founders, and we need a more robust business leadership team to take the company forward into the future. Also, PowerPoint will not be around forever. READ MORE

MARKETING

Yes, says Gene Marks, there are a lot of bad things about Facebook, but the company has been very good for small businesses: “We rely on the platform to sell our products, communicate with our customers, market to our communities, research our industries and connect with potential prospects. The company provides a livelihood for millions of software developers, real estate agents, online training companies, content providers, and small businesses in the travel, automotive, financial services, and gaming industries. That’s because Facebook’s community provides a massive opportunity for small business owners like me looking to sell our products or make our content available to new prospects. There are almost three billion monthly active users on Facebook. Three billion!”

  • “Facebook ads ... have one of the lowest industry costs-per-clicks and provide the highest return on investment amongst all paid advertising channels.”

  • “There are 40 million monthly active businesses using Facebook Messenger. The social media’s communication service has 10 to 80 times better engagement than email, and Messenger Ads can reduce the cost per lead by 30 to 50 times.” READ MORE

SOCIAL MEDIA

Restaurants are getting “review bombed” on Yelp: “The food and service industry doesn't need any other hurdles to overcome following almost two years of constant COVID-related setbacks. An influx of negative reviews from people who are angry about vaccination or mask policies can do real damage to businesses struggling to climb back from pandemic-induced financial problems. Review bombing or bombarding a restaurant with inauthentic reviews after it gains media attention or implements a new policy has become increasingly common for restaurants with vaccine requirements, Yelp says.”

  • “In one recent instance, restaurant Reliable Tavern tweeted about a spam user seemingly targeting local restaurants with the same negative Yelp review; the spammer was later banned.”

  • “Josh Saltzman, co-owner of Ivy & Coney, says websites such as Yelp just allow annoyed patrons, who often don't reflect the rest of an establishment's clientele, to air out their complaints.”

  • "’There's no way that this guy went to 90 restaurants and ... writes the exact same review,’ Saltzman says of the spam. ‘That should automatically be caught by a filter.’” READ MORE

PROFILE

There’s a new guest judge on Shark Tank: “She's the first Black female entrepreneur to appear on the show, where she is scheduled to make additional appearances throughout season 13. The CEO and co-founder of Good American, a U.S.-based apparel brand, and a founding partner of SKIMS, a loungewear, underwear and shapewear company, likely has much to offer the intrepid entrepreneurs—beyond a refreshing perspective on inclusivity.”

  • “Before forging partnerships with celebrities like Khloé and Kim Kardashian to launch brands like Good American and SKIMS, respectively, Grede worked in entertainment marketing, and at 24, launched ITB Worldwide, a talent and influencer marketing agency, where she currently serves as chair.”

  • “In March of this year, alongside Chrissy Teigen and Kris Jenner, Grede launched Safely, a plant-powered cleaning brand.”

  • “As chairwoman of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, an initiative that urges retailers to dedicate at least 15 percent of their shelf space to a Black-owned business, Grede has seen firsthand how even a small lift can mean all the difference.” READ MORE

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THE COVID ECONOMY

Retail sales jumped in September: “September retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent from the previous month, the Commerce Department said Friday, as households shrugged off supply constraints, the Delta variant and the end of enhanced unemployment benefits. The rise in sales also partly reflects higher consumer prices, which advanced 0.4 percent in September from August and 5.4 percent from a year earlier. The retail sales, which aren’t adjusted for inflation, rose 13.9 percent in September from a year earlier.”

  • “‘We’ve learned to live a bit with the virus,’ said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist at Oxford Economics. ‘People still went out to eat at restaurants but they found outdoor seating.’”

  • “Excluding auto sales, a sector that has been particularly hard hit by a global shortage of computer chips, retail sales were up 0.8 percent.” READ MORE

Forty percent of U.S. households say they have faced financial difficulties in recent months: “Nearly 60 percent of households earning less than $50,000 a year reported facing serious financial challenges in recent months. Of those, 30 percent lost all of their savings, according to the poll. The survey questioned about 3,600 adults in August and early September about a variety of potential problems during the pandemic and how the effects have continued in more recent months. In addition to financial concerns, respondents were asked about healthcare, education, child care and personal safety.” READ MORE

OBITUARY

Anne Saxelby, who put artisanal American cheeses on the map: “In 2006, when Ms. Saxelby opened Saxelby Cheesemongers, the American cheese industry was largely just that: industrial and mass market. Her shop was a daring enterprise that carried only American-made cheeses from small producers. The space was hardly more than a nook with a refrigerator in the original Essex Market on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Almost immediately, Ms. Saxelby attracted attention among cheese lovers, and especially among chefs in the growing farm-to-table movement.”

  • “The cause was a heart condition, said her husband, Patrick Martins, an owner of Heritage Foods USA, a purveyor of meat and poultry from independent American farmers.”

  • “Steven Jenkins, a former cheesemonger at Fairway Market, said in a statement: ‘Anne Saxelby was the U.S. ambassador for American cheese makers and their handmade cheeses. Her yearslong, tireless effort to promote them and make them mainstream will forever have its effect, and will long be remembered.’” READ MORE

THE 21 HATS PODCAST

A skeptical look at open book management: 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 (Jay Goltz, William Vanderbloemen, Dana White) and three true-believing practitioners (Michael Kiolbassa, Chris McKee, Bob Schwartz) 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 from the conversation is an intimate look at how six smart business owners run their businesses—a look that even those who have no interest in open-book management will find fascinating.

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