Check out Big Tobacco’s possible savior

It’s a fact, smoking is on the decline in the United States. I mean, when the cats of the Internet become anti-smoking advocates, it’s a manner of time. However, Big Tobacco remains powerful.
But for Big Tobacco, the writing does look to be on the wall, and that’s the subject of the above video from Bloomberg.
The video explains that low gas prices free up money for a pack of smokes at the gas station, and mergers have kept revenue high. So, think about it, if you are Big Tobacco: you’re banking on low, stable gas prices? Plus, there’s almost literally no one left to buy. What to do?
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Well, you might take a look at something that you may have first looked at in the 1970s: Getting into the marijuana game.
As laws start to soften on marijuana use, this might be a time for Big Tobacco to get into, ahem, a growth market.
So, is this what the companies are doing? To find out, check out the video.

11 top small-business owners give tips for success

Relationships are essential to making a small business thrive. That’s according to 11 Small Business Administration honorees who shared their best advice about how to run a successful company.

Whether referring to employees, customers or bankers, our panelists speak of their relationships in terms of “team,” “network,” and even “family.” Excellent relationships can lead to your employees becoming your best recruiters, your clients becoming your best salespeople.

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More common themes emerged from our discussions with these small-business luminaries.

When it comes to financing, for example, be frugal. Sprinkled throughout our conversations, we heard things like, “Don’t borrow money until you don’t need it,” “Once your business is established, the banks will come knocking on yourdoor,” and “Debt is a four-letter word.”

Also, your company is going to grow, of course. So when you’re looking for a location, make sure it’s one where you can expand.

Here is more from the 11 SBA honorees:

Paula Klein, owner and project champion, Smartt Interior Construction LLC, North Dakota 2015 Small Business Person of the Year

Paula Klein would probably rather be made fun of for her Fargo accent – “We kind of carry it as a badge of honor now,” she says – than be labeled a “manager.” Klein’s company, Smartt Interior Construction, partners with Dirtt (the branding with the double-t is not a coincidence), implementing the Canadian company’s prefabricated construction materials in offices, health-care facilities and other environments

“The word ‘managing’ employees – I don’t know if you can do that. I think you can engage, inspire, excite,” advises Klein. “Especially in a small business, we all need to be just so excited to come to work, and then you don’t really have to manage them because they’re looking for the same outcome you’re looking for. … If you get that kind of buy-in, there’s not a lot of management you really need to do.”

Before asking for a loan, Klein first made sure she had a client and that she delivered an outstanding result. This approach made the bank want Smartt as much as Smartt wanted the bank.

Entrepreneurs can’t fall in love with this idea if they want to succeed

Jessica Richman says entrepreneurs can’t allow themselves to become “schmoozepreneurs” — people who think it’s cool to be an entrepreneur but never do the hard work necessary to make their companies successful.

“Having a bias toward action is so important,” says Richman, co-founder of uBiome, a San Francisco-based biotech company that gives consumers information about how their behavior impacts their microbiome. (Your microbiome is the collection of all the microbes that are in your body and on your skin).

“I would say to new entrepreneurs, not to fall in love too much with the idea of entrepreneurship and how cool that is,” Richman says in the video above. “Instead, fall in love more with the thing you’re doing and do that thing well — and figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to be with the shortest distance between two points.”

Read more at the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/1WVIiMi

How Colorado’s 4 largest metros stack up for salaries, jobs for STEM grads

The need to find more workers in Colorado’s growing science, technology, engineering and math fields continues as a top worry for business and government leaders in the state.

Multiple organizations have gotten into the issue, such as the the Denver Broncos through its “Tackle STEM” initiative, Mile High Montessori Early Learning Centers and its push to use STEM with babies and toddlers and multiple school systems beginnng to building tomorrow’s workforce as early as possible.

But how does the city do when it comes to having a prime work environment for grads in those fields?

Read more at the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/1VEbwj8

How to stand out when you speak at a meeting

Success over the long term depends as much as how you present yourself as how exemplary your work is. This is the time of everything visual. How you look, how you sit or stand, and how you create sentences using visual cues will make a world of difference.

When the radio was the main means of public communication, it was fine to have a smooth and soothing voice to get points across. It didn’t really matter as much what you looked like to speak out. Then television demanded something more.

And now with social media at the helm, it’s the whole package of look, say, feel that gets you at the front of the line.

Read more from the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/1TyKG8C.

How to make work more meaningful

When an organization moves through periods of incredible opportunity or tough challenge, teams become overwhelmed and can begin to unravel. Left unaddressed, we see a breakdown in processes or people — high-turnover, lack of accountability, and ultimately, a loss, financial or otherwise.

  • Are your teams lacking enthusiasm?
  • Do your employees seem disengaged from leadership and each other?
  • And why are people not living the mission or values of the organization?

How do we bolster our people to prevent a breakdown within our organization?

First, a reality check, and then a bit of good humor.

Read more from the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/1rCv2R9.

Weak Chinese demand hurts, says Ball, missing Q1 earnings estimates

Weakened demand and price erosion in China hurt in the first quarter, said Ball Corp., which announced earnings results that missed analysts’ expectations.

Broomfield-based Ball (NYSE: BLL) reported adjusted first-quarter earnings per diluted share of 59 cents, which was less than 69 cents a year earlier and less than analysts’ expectations of 68 cents per share.

“Strong operating performance in our U.S. and European metal beverage businesses was offset by difficult year-over-year comparisons in our China metal beverage and U.S. metal food businesses, as well as start-up costs for growth projects,” said John Hayes, chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.

Read more from the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/1VE3ire.

Colorado student to meet First Lady Michelle Obama at college signing event

A member of the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation is being honored in New York City on Tuesday.

Dulce Cabrera was chosen to attend Michelle Obama’s college signing event in the city. The Montbello High School senior has been accepted into the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Although she doesn’t know exactly what she wants to major in, she says she loves political science.

Cabrera says she owes it to the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation.

“They took us on tours of colleges and really helped us,” Cabrera said. “I wouldn’t have gotten these opportunities without them.”

Since 1988, the organization has been mentoring children in Denver’s metro area. Students from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods might not otherwise get the support they need to succeed in school. Cabrera not only has a 3.5 GPA but she’s an honor platoon commander for her schools ROTC program.

“I am a leader in the program because of how I do in school,” Cabrera said.

Being chosen to attend the First Lady’s college signing event came as a shock to Cabrera, who says she hasn’t even started packing yet.

“It’s just kind of surreal to be invited to New York City,” she said. “I didn’t think it would ever happen to me.”

This is the third year Michelle Obama is hosting the college signing event. It’s meant to celebrate those who want to further their education. Cabrera says she hopes she can do well and be a role model for future generations.

“Once I graduate hopefully I’ll be able to come back and teach the new dreamers,” she said.

University of Colorado earning money from online offerings

The University of Colorado is starting to earn money from the massive open online courses it offers on the website Coursera.

The Daily Camera reports that the courses, known as MOOCs, are free, but some students have begun to pay for certificates showing they’ve competed a course or a multi-course unit in a particular subject.

CU Associate Vice President Deborah Keyek-Franssen says the certificates have generated about $110,000 for CU since September. She expects that number to go up this spring, when new multi-course units will be launched.

Keyek-Franssen says CU didn’t necessarily expect to make money from the courses, which also have the potential to introduce millions of people to CU. But she estimates that the school could generate $250,000 a year from its offerings on Coursera.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Strong job outlook for college graduates

Good news for college students about to graduate: businesses plan to offer more jobs with bigger salaries to applicants with a four-year degree.

The national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder surveyed 2,186 hiring managers and human resource professionals. It shows the hiring outlook is the highest it’s been in nearly a decade.

Sixty-seven percent of employers said they plan to hire recent college graduates this year, up from 65 percent. Thirty-seven percent plan to offer higher pay.

Getting into the job market right after college is tough but the improving economy means more opportunity for new graduates.

“It makes me feel like when I graduate I’m going to be set up for a successful future,” said Ariana Nikmanesh, a college student at Metro State University Denver.

Businesses plan to boost hiring and pay over last year but in Colorado getting the job can be just as difficult as in years past.

“It’s still competitive. Even though there are more opportunities it’s still competitive because we have a lot of graduates in the state of Colorado and we have a lot of experienced folks who want to live in the state of Colorado that they often compete with for those jobs,” said Bridgette Coble, director of career services at MSU Denver.

Coble said although competitive, the job market is on an upswing. This year, MSU Denver had five job fairs with waiting lists for the employers looking to recruit students.

“I think it still depends on what field it is,” said returning student Jason Hodge. “You’ve got to get a degree that really means something.”

The businesses in the poll listed their top three majors for new employees. Leading the list are business, computer and information sciences, and engineering degrees.

Coble reminds students just because you’re in the top three majors that employers want, doesn’t automatically mean success.

“It’s more than just having the college degree. Students to need to have experience along the way to help them compete for those jobs,” she said.

In order to be competitive, graduates need internships, volunteer work and part-time jobs that show employers you’ll be a well-rounded employee ready for the real world.

“It makes me more excited to finish up my years in college. It helps me remember that what I’m doing in college is definitely going to impact my future,” said college freshman Brandon Murphy.

Most In-Demand College Majors According To Polled Employers:

Business – 35 percent
Computer and Information Sciences – 23 percent
Engineering – 18 percent
Math and Statistics – 15 percent
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences – 14 percent
Communications Technologies – 11 percent
Engineering Technologies – 11 percent
Communication and Journalism – 8 percent
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities – 7 percent
Science Technologies – 7 percent
Social Sciences – 6 percent
Biological and Biomedical Sciences – 6 percent
Architecture and Planning – 6 percent
Education – 5 percent

Information technology (27 percent) and customer service jobs (26 percent) top the list of position types for which employers hiring recent college grads are recruiting. Opportunities also abound in finance/accounting (19 percent), business development (19 percent) and sales (17 percent).