The Resignation Letter Has Been Written
A survey of American workers found 59 percent have already written their resignation letter but have yet to send it.
Here are today’s highlights:
Does Shark Tank have a fundamental flaw?
A solopreneur lists the digital tools she can’t work without.
Despite the rise of hybrid work plans, businesses are not cutting back on office space.
Walmart decides to back a vertical farming startup.
Google is overhauling its cookie-replacement plan: “Google is overhauling its plans for targeted online advertising after pushback from privacy advocates, aiming to give marketers less-granular information about web users than under the tech giant’s initial proposal. The Alphabet unit said Tuesday that the new system it is proposing, Topics, would allow web advertisers to target broad categories of users—those interested in ‘fitness’ or ‘travel,’ for example—instead of grouping them into thousands of cohorts with similar browsing histories. The company’s Chrome browser will distill a shortlist of interests based on a user’s recent browsing history, the company said. Users will be able to see and delete interests the browser assigns to them, or turn the system off entirely.”
“The proposal is an outgrowth of Google’s plan to phase out a user-tracking technology called third-party cookies in 2023.”
“Millions of marketers currently rely on third-party cookies, unique snippets of code to identify individual browsers, to target online advertisements based on users’ specific browsing histories.” READ MORE
Ami Kassar has been binge-watching “Shark Tank” and he says the show has a fundamental flaw: “Where are the debt options?!!! When entrepreneurs are looking for money, there are choices between debt and equity in most instances. Each option has its pros and cons: debt has to be paid back and often comes with a personal guarantee. And when you take on the equity, you just got married or got married again. Millions of viewers are watching ‘Shark Tank,’ and the show teaches them that equity is the only option. This is a mistake.” READ MORE
In a survey of American employees, more than half said they have a resignation letter written and ready to file: “A survey of 2,000 employed Americans found 59 percent have contemplated quitting their jobs enough to have a letter of resignation written but haven’t followed through with sending it. One in three respondents (34 percent) reported quitting their jobs within the past two years, joining a growing list of Americans who’ve participated in ‘The Great Resignation’—a period seeing a record number of workers leaving their jobs. Nearly half of those who resigned were Gen-Z (47 percent)—a stark contrast to 13 percent of Baby Boomers who left their jobs.”
“The most common reasons for quitting included finding a different job that offers better pay (57 percent), better work/life balance (55 percent) and better working conditions (54 percent).”
“Nearly nine in 10 (88 percent) of respondents who quit their job said they would have stayed if they were offered better benefits, such as having more opportunities for growth (52 percent), better working conditions (52 percent) and having internal career development (49 percent).” READ MORE
A platform called Fringe helps businesses offer employees a wider range of benefits: ”Employees are given points ... and then can use those points to choose from more than 130 different types of fringe benefits offered on the platform ranging from gym reimbursements and lunch stipends to financial wellness apps and life and career coaching. ‘You can offer these benefits on your own, but it takes a lot of administrative time, which is why we enjoy the Fringe platform,’ [Fairmount Benefit’s Cheryl Kiley] said. ‘We also use it as a reward system instead of just a benefit platform and our people love it.’” READ MORE
SMALL BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY
Jen Glantz, a solopreneur, lists the digital tools that allow her to build her business: “As a solopreneur who's been running a business for more than eight years, I've learned that I can't do everything alone all of the time. Not only do I have a roster of freelancers that I turn to when I need specialized help with a campaign or project, but I also have a list of tools for when I need support with important items on my to-do list.” For example:
“Copy.Ai: I use the free plan on Copy.Ai, which allows me to use the tool to generate around 10 different pieces of copy (for a subject line, Instagram ad, blog post, newsletter, and more). When I'm doing A/B testing of marketing language or want to give my own brain a break, this tool has come in handy to save me time and produce a framework of copy to edit and work with.”
“FloDesk: I've been doing email marketing and sending out newsletters to my audience for the past eight years. When I first started doing this, I used services that charged you based on how many subscribers you had. When I reached 30,000 subscribers, this became costly at around $200 a month. Two years ago, I switched to FloDesk, which charges a flat fee (I pay $19 a month) no matter how many subscribers you have.”
“Zapier: Since I don't have a full-time programmer or developer on my team, it can be challenging to integrate all of these different programs to work together smoothly. That's why I use a tool called Zapier, which connects my different platforms and helps with automation. For example, if someone purchases a product from my website, Zapier connects that action to my email-marketing platform to tell it to immediately send the customer a post-purchase email.” READ MORE
Despite the overwhelming spread of hybrid work plans, businesses are not cutting back on office space: “First, high density at the office is uncomfortable. Many workers dislike crowds around their desks, much more so now that infection risks are top of mind. Discomfort with density extends to lobbies, kitchens, canteens, and especially elevators. The only sure-fire way to reduce density is to cut person days on site without cutting square footage as much. Discomfort with density is here to stay according to our survey evidence. Second, most employees want to work from home on Mondays and Fridays. Faced with tight labor markets and the ever-present challenge of attracting and retaining talented workers, many employers have opted to meet this demand.”
“As a result, the shift to hybrid affords only meager opportunities to economize on office space.”
“Third, because employers are hard pressed to attract and retain talent — and to bring that talent onsite — the office of the future must be more inviting. Tightly packed cubicles are out. Spacious, lounge-style, open seating plans are in.” READ MORE
THE COVID ECONOMY
Consumers are starting to make bigger decisions to avoid paying higher prices: “The consumer-price index, which tracks what people pay for goods and services, hit 7 percent in December, marking its fastest pace since 1982. Initially, Americans met this increase by making simple changes at the grocery store or by cutting out some other, more common purchases. But those small cuts are proving not to be enough lately, say economists, financial planners and consumers. Now, many are making much larger changes, such as scaling back their weddings or learning a new skill to save money.”
“Two years ago, they were quoted roughly $20,000 from their preferred hotel. After getting engaged this past December they inquired about prices for an October wedding. The hotel price jumped to almost $54,000.”
“The couple is instead having their wedding this year at a vacation rental in Sedona, and the entire event will cost about $15,000.”
“Kermit Mulkins’s personal inflation hedge: quitting his soda habit. The 43-year old art director in Tulsa, Okla., said he used to spend about $700 a year on soft drinks and bottled ice teas. Now, he estimates he’ll spend about $35 by making carafes of unsweetened tea this year.” READ MORE
Yes, omicron infections are milder for most people, but deaths are surging: “Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. have reached the highest level since early last year, eclipsing daily averages from the recent Delta-fueled surge, after the newer Omicron variant spread wildly through the country and caused record-shattering case counts. The seven-day average for newly reported Covid-19 deaths reached 2,191 a day by Monday, up about 1,000 from daily death counts two months ago, before Omicron was first detected, data from Johns Hopkins University show. While emerging evidence shows Omicron is less likely to kill the people it infects, because the variant spreads with unmatched speed the avalanche of cases can overwhelm any mitigating factors, epidemiologists say.” READ MORE
The Commerce department warned the chip shortage could bring more disruptions: “Manufacturers’ median chip inventory levels have plummeted from about 40 days’ supply in 2019 to less than five days, according to a survey of 150 companies worldwide that the Commerce Department conducted in September. ‘This means a disruption overseas, which might shut down a semiconductor plant for two to three weeks, has the potential to disable a manufacturing facility and furlough workers in the United States if that facility only has three to five days of inventory,’ the Commerce Department concluded in a six-page summary of its findings. The lack of chip inventory leaves auto manufacturers and other chip users with ‘no room for error,’ Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Tuesday as she presented the findings.” READ MORE
Walmart is investing in Plenty, a vertical farming startup: “With the move, the country’s largest grocer is diving into a trendy area of food tech that brings farm produce closer to customers’ kitchen tables to boost freshness, limit waste and promote sustainability. Food and agriculture start-ups have become a hot area for venture capital during the pandemic, particularly as consumers eat at home more often and retailers face supply chain challenges. Indoor agriculture also has become a potential solution to unpredictable weather patterns and natural disasters, such as California wildfires, fueled by climate change.”
“Crops can grow faster and with a larger yield because they rely on synthetic light sources instead of sunlight and aren’t subject to sudden changes of weather.”
“The crops also can be grown without pesticides, which eliminates runoff that can damage wildlife and soil quality.”
“San Francisco-based Plenty is one of several start-ups involved with vertical farming. Its competitors include Bowery Farming, AeroFarms, PlantLab and BrightFarms.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
The Hardest Thing I’ve Done in Business: This week, Jay Goltz, Liz Picarazzi, and William Vanderbloemen talk about sales, specifically the transition most founders have to make from handling sales themselves to building a sales team. Jay, Liz, and William also discuss the value of going to trade shows, the pros and cons of compensating salespeople based on commission, and the differences between inside sales and outside sales. “The kind of person,” Jay says, “who can go out there and cold-call all day long and get the door slammed in their face—it's very hard to find, very hard to keep, very hard to train, very hard to control. And that’s been my biggest challenge in business, without any doubt.”
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