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.