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What If I Get the Contract?
In the latest 21 Hats Podcast episode, Liz Picarazzi talks about the sales opportunities she's pursuing—and what happens if she’s successful.
Here are today’s highlights:
Business travel seems to be recovering.
Gene Marks says it’s okay to be on Facebook.
Is your business designed to handle a real crisis?
The Department of Justice doesn’t think the big tech platforms should be allowed to favor their own offerings over yours.
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
What If I Get the Contract? This week, Liz Picarazzi tells Jay Goltz that she’s pursuing multiple sales opportunities—and ponders what would happen if those opportunities actually came to fruition. Would her company, Citibin, be able to handle the additional volume? “In my fantasy world, where I am a lot,” Liz says, “I look at where this could go. And just like you, Jay, I go to, ‘How in the world would I produce all of these?’” Liz and Jay also talk about the pros and cons of pricing transparency: Do you volunteer your premium price up front? On your website even? Or do you wait until you’ve made your sales pitch and gotten your customer excited? Plus: we indulge a little further discussion on the merits of the 21 Hats brand.
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Business travel is coming back—and costing more—with smaller businesses driving the growth: “Workers are returning to offices, restrictions are dropping domestically and internationally, and clients who once steered away from in-person meetings are once again comfortable with face-to-face get-togethers. The return is a boon for conference centers, airlines and hotels, which have reported a jump in bookings related to business travelers. In one example of the shift, travel and expense-management company Campbell Travel said that 67 percent of its business in March was related to corporate travel, up from 51 percent in January. For workers, returning to the road is a chance to close deals that are best done in person and reconnect with colleagues and clients.”
“Conferences that haven’t taken place with in-person attendees for two years are back on, like the World Economic Forum in Davos, which was moved to May, and South by Southwest, which took place earlier this month.”
“Among small businesses surveyed regularly by the Census Bureau, the share saying they expected to spend on business travel over the next six months rose to 36.3 percent in mid-March from 33.7 percent in late December. About 32 percent of businesses surveyed say they don’t have business travel expenses.”
“Jeff Fishman, founder of JSF Financial, an investment advisory firm for high net-worth individuals, went to Phoenix last month to visit clients and stayed at his usual hotel there. The hotel was hosting a big conference for a medical association, pushing room rates to $1,100 a night, compared with previous rates of $300 to $400. ‘All the other hotels were sold out, and I didn’t have a choice,’ Mr. Fishman says.”
“When planning for 2022, he forecast a travel budget similar to the pre-Covid budgets he had set for his firm of about 30 people. But he plans to increase the budget this year, probably by 30 percent, he estimated, not because his team will take more trips but because every trip costs more than in the past.” READ MORE
But don’t expect business travel to recover fully: “McKinsey is the latest company to confirm a permanent cut in business travel, the DealBook newsletter reports. The global consulting firm recently decided to reduce its travel by 25 percent from its prepandemic level, according to a company representative. Right now, its workers are not traveling as much as they did before, but as conditions return to normal, the firm has told employees, including senior management consultants and firm leaders, to spend less time on the road.”
“Before the pandemic, McKinsey had the ninth-biggest travel budget in corporate America, spending an estimated $265 million on U.S.-booked airfares in 2019, according to Business Travel News.”
“Climate pledges are another factor that could permanently reduce corporate travel, according to a report released Tuesday by IdeaWorks, a corporate travel consulting firm.”
“The report said because corporate travel represented a large portion of professional service firms’ carbon footprints, many will not be able to meet their climate goals without a significant reduction in travel.” READ MORE
Gene Marks says his clients are still using Facebook: “Facebook has certainly been taking its lumps lately. Meta, its parent, announced recently that the social media powerhouse saw a drop in its active daily users for the first time in its history. The company continues to come under both congressional and public scrutiny for its actions following the damaging testimony of a whistleblower last fall. Its core app faces challenges from dozens of other social media competitors, such as TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat. My small-business clients who use Facebook are aware of these issues. But I’ve found that many are shrugging them off. Why? Because, despite its challenges, Facebook remains a significant resource for them.”
“The platform still boasts almost three billion monthly active users and a third of the world’s population uses it monthly. Its marketplace has more than a billion monthly active users.”
“There are 250 million Facebook shops worldwide. More than 90 million small businesses across the globe use the platform.” READ MORE
Amazon is planning to roll out a fashion chain across the country: “Amazon is hiring for a ‘Sr. Pre-Construction Manager’ to work with Amazon Style, the brick-and-mortar clothing store format it first announced in January. Whoever is hired will ‘manage various construction projects across the country,’ according to the posting. ‘This position will work closely with internal real estate manager partners in negotiating leases and work letter agreements with landlords, ensuring Amazon's best interests are defined while closely managing delivery timelines,’ it says. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on the job postings.”
“The floor of the Style store will function as a showroom, Amazon previously announced. When customers find something they like, they will be able to use the Amazon app on their phones to get specific sizes or colors of a garment to try on.”
“The store will also feature ‘Amazon One’ technology that allows customers to check out with a scan of their palm.” READ MORE
The Department of Justice supports antitrust legislation targeting Amazon, Google, and Apple: “The Justice Department Monday endorsed legislation forbidding large digital platforms such as Amazon and Google from favoring their own products and services over competitors’, marking the Biden administration’s first full-throated support of the antitrust measure. ‘The Department views the rise of dominant platforms as presenting a threat to open markets and competition, with risks for consumers, businesses, innovation, resiliency, global competitiveness, and our democracy,’ says a letter to bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, signed by Peter Hyun, the Justice Department’s acting assistant attorney general for legislative affairs.”
“Amazon.com, Alphabet’s Google, Apple and others oppose the proposed legislation, saying it would make it harder to offer popular services. The bills’ opponents also say it is fair for e-marketplaces, search engines and app stores to profit off their creations’ popularity.” READ MORE
Is your company designed to handle a crisis? “Companies rarely have security personnel placed in permanent leadership roles. Few boards of directors for public companies have a single individual from the security or cybersecurity sector. This is not merely a symbolic challenge: It says to those professionals that their skills or expertise aren’t integral to the company’s leadership. It can impact the capacity to guide budget and staffing priorities, as executives divide up limited resources. It denies relevance: a seat at the table. And if an issue isn’t viewed by management as essential, it won’t be viewed by employees as essential either.” READ MORE
A dockworkers strike poses another threat to already snarled supply chains: “The potential conflict centers on negotiations over a new contract for more than 22,000 union workers employed at 29 ports along the West Coast of the United States. Nearly three-fourths work at the twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the primary gateway for goods shipped to the United States from Asia, and a locus of problems afflicting the global supply chain.”
“A labor impasse could worsen the floating traffic jams that have kept dozens of ships waiting in the Pacific before they can pull up to the docks. That could aggravate shortages and send already high prices for consumer goods soaring.”
“Major retailers that import products from Asia have been ordering extra goods as a hedge against a breakdown in contract talks, while stockpiling their wares at newly developed storage yards inside the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, said Sepehr Matinifar, vice president of commercial operations at Pacific Terminal Services, which operates the overflow yards.” READ MORE
The supply chain chaos has been a boon for project44, a logistics business: “The Chicago-based company provides real-time updates and tracking, along with predictive information such as estimated times of arrival, on billions of shipments across more than 170 countries. It has used the recent rounds of funding to acquire companies that help it develop a more complete picture of the global movement of goods, differentiating itself with the extent of its network. And the company is also targeting its tools at sustainability, launching a tool in 2021 that allows companies to better track greenhouse gas emissions and other impacts from their supply chains.”
“Supply-chain managers realized they need to be able to make decisions and adjustments faster in order to keep their operations running, and project44 from the start of the pandemic invested in growth and expansion. As more attention came to supply chains, and venture capital poured in during 2021, the company was able to greatly expedite its expansion into new modes of transportation and portions of the supply chain.”
“The new wave in supply-chain management provides new tools for companies to address and monitor environmental, social, and governance priorities, just as government regulations are placing more of the onus on businesses to ensure their supply chain is both sustainable and ethical.” READ MORE
The lockdown in China sent world oil prices falling: “China’s aggressive approach to containing Covid-19 is likely to dent the country’s demand for oil, analysts at Commerzbank wrote in a Monday note to clients, after rising cases sent half of Shanghai into lockdown. Public-transit lines were suspended and some manufacturers paused operations. Tesla said it would close production there for four days. ‘There was some hope that China this time around would not go through a lockdown, but the message from the country is that that’s out of the question,’ said Natasha Kaneva, J.P. Morgan’s head of global commodities research. ‘I think the market is definitely afraid of what is coming next.’” READ MORE
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