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HotBreath would like to apologize for a
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In the DFO Flamework Demo article, we
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Seth True”. The top right image should
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CORRECTIONS FROM VOL. 9
mislabeled 2 images on page 33. The top left image should have been credited as “The Godfather of Glass Demo with
Cameron Tower, Bob Snodgrass, and
The views and opinions expressed in HotBreath Magazine are solely and respectively those of the individual contributors. HB Publishing and our staff will not be held responsible or liable for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience arising from the content of any authors' materials featured in HotBreath Magazine, related publications, or communications, nor for any error or inaccuracy contained in any such information.
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Letter FROM THE PUBLISHER
MARCO VOLO ADVERTISING
As we head to Colorado in October for the first industry trade show in a “fully legal” state, I want to ruminate on the inextricably intertwined nature of heady pipe art and the best products this industry has to offer. This was nowhere more prominently displayed than on September 3, when the Wall Street Journal ran both a written and video story on the highly inspired pipe art available at Las Vegas CHAMPS, the industry’s largest and most inclusive trade show. For better or worse, The Journal story openly linked marijuana use and pipe art. One subtitle read “Handcrafted Pipes Gain Respect as States Legalise Marijuana”. Seemingly in the blink of an eye, our industry has gone from “tobacco use only” marketing to a barrage of new “industry” magazines that blaze their marijuana market right in their titles, which might make sense for a niche retail magazine. But at the industry level, what does it all mean for the “for tobacco and other legal herbs” marketing model? Is the layer of protection from multi-use marketing no longer necessary?
If you, like myself, found your start in this industry before the dark days of 2003, you witnessed the repercussions that can come down when the Feds get a bug up their ass to make an example of someone. Jason Harris, Tommy Chong, Chris Hill, Music City. These are people we saw grow their businesses with a special zeal, as many are doing today. Add to this the hundreds of stores nationwide that have had inventory seized and ongoing efforts made to shut them down by local and federal authorities. To some veterans of the smokeshop scene, the openness that we see in some corners is something that we still view with cautious skepticism. Are we really now beyond Federal scrutiny? At the basic citizen voter level, where free speech keeps the end user well protected, have no fear. But to date, NO federal laws have changed for either mj or accessories explicitly intended for use with mj. The stubborn fact remains that the majority of states aren’t even medicinally tolerant, and a whopping 96% (48 out of 50) aren’t fully legal at the state level. We might surely be careful to mind the shifting winds of our modern government, lest we paint ourselves in a corner.
At the end of the day, smoke shops aren’t in the pot business. They’re in the smoking accessories business, where tobacco and other legal herbs remain relevant. Our goal with HotBreath is to make a beautiful and informative magazine that can be read, enjoyed, shared and sold without fear in smoke shops across North America. We want shop owners to have a magazine that allows them to refer to your art or your products openly to their patrons that are eager to learn more. That’s why we hope you LOVE what HotBreath is and appreciate what it’s not.
With that being said, HotBreath Magazine believes very strongly in the rights of Americans to make their own choices regarding marijuana, and will regularly feature serious discussion on the relevant and related legal matters of the day. These are times to pay attention and get involved. We can all get behind this effort in a way that allows us to both walk the line and keep the stores open - during this administration and the next one. Yes, the wall is crumbling, but it’s not down yet. Finally, after ten issues over more than two years, I’m proud of everyone who has contributed to the effort to make HB a truly unique magazine. I’d like to extend a special thank you to all our advertisers. We believe that the same people who are interested in contemporary pipe art are those that love the newest vaporizer, grinder or other quality smoking accessory. Thanks to them, it’s all right here in HotBreath, an industry magazine that ALL the nation’s smoke shops and enthusiasts can enjoy. As always, we welcome your feedback! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments you might have about HotBreath magazine. PUBLISHER
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Engage your market, connect with your customers and grow your business with Claudia Post Greetings! I am very excited about my new column in HotBreath and hope that you find it informative and thought provoking. My plan is to give you strategic business information that you can use right now—today. I will be covering various business related topics including sales, marketing and social media. And of course, the other side of your business— the administrative and financial elements which you have to get right from the beginning otherwise you will have lots and lots of problems down the road. But, let’s get back to this month’s column— SO YOU WANT TO BE IN BUSINESS! Whether you are already in business or are considering opening a business, I am sure you will find the information below valuable. Be Clear on Why You want to start a Business
While the idea of starting a business may be daunting, the fatigue of looking for a job may be even greater. Taking control of your working life by venturing out on your own may be scary, but doing nothing can be worse. That said: don’t start a business because you’ve run out of options. If you’re truly interested in doing your own thing and you’re ready to go for it with gusto, then small business ownership can be the most frustrating and the most freeing avenue—with the possibility of the greatest financial security. Determine Your Business Type
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The best idea for you may be the tried and true with your added personal twist. Competitors can co-exist quite successfully. You just have to execute your version really well. So nail your idea down and keep in mind that a service
business (a service you provide based on your expertise) is much less expensive to launch than a product business where it costs money to create a tangible good. If you are already in business, what’s your unique selling proposition? How do you differentiate yourself? Create a Simple Business Plan
Most new aspiring business owners think they’re supposed to sit down and write a detailed and lengthy business plan, making all sorts of wild assumptions about how much money you’ll make in five years, and so on. Some people worry so much about dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” until their plan is just perfect, they never start their business. For a basic business, I favor a one-page business plan that covers what you offer, who you’re targeting, how much you’ll charge and what you’ll do to make it happen. It’s a fluid process that will change once you dive in, so keep it simple at the start. A business plan is a road map— something to help you see where you are going but, as I said before, you can always take a detour. Nail Your Target Customer
Determine exactly who your customers are with great specificity. Your ingredients, process, packaging and pricing will all determine who you target. Be specific – A couple illustrative examples; “I’m going to provide bookkeeping services for restaurants”; “I’m going to create social media campaigns for selfpublished authors”. The better you can pinpoint your targeted client, the more focused your marketing efforts will be to reach them. Perfect Your Pricing
Your pricing shouldn’t just cover your costs; it must also generate a profit for your business. Don’t undervalue your time and talent, which is a classic mistake. One option is to work the numbers from the top down: What are you looking to make annually? How does that break down monthly and weekly? How many products must you sell or how many clients will you need to bring in to meet those numbers? What are all of the costs associated with delivering that product or service? None of this requires fancy charts or advanced accounting skills. Play around with the numbers so you know what’s realistic as you get going and revisit your numbers monthly.
How to Find Start-Up Money
Until you start bringing in sales, you must keep costs down. Think creatively. It would be great to rent a fancy commercial kitchen to bake those cupcakes, but use a cheap or free church or community kitchen in off-hours instead. Forget hiring a full staff; ask friends for help and train interns. Barter for key services. If tapping personal savings isn’t an option or if you need a more creative financing option, one of the fastest growing sources now is crowd funding, which allows your network of friends and family to contribute to your startup costs if they like you and want to support your small business idea. Go Out and Get Customers
This is where the magic happens. Nothing else matters if you don’t have customers. The majority of your time and effort must focus on sales. Having a smart marketing plan to attract interested people, and then converting them to customers is your number one priority. Don’t get overwhelmed about how to dive in; just start where you are. Create a list of 50 potential prospects that you’ll go after and begin making calls one by one. Build a serious social media presence for your business so you can engage directly with your target market. Good sales, marketing and social media plans are essential in business today. And remember; always carry your business cards with you. What did you say? You don’t have a business card! Ok, that’s rule #1. Get one now! Dreaming about how fabulous your business can be is good; but planning and doing what it takes to get it there is sensational. It’s all about the hustle: the decisions you make and the actions you take each and every day – that’ll get you where you want to go.
Claudia Post, founder and principal of SMOKIN HOT CONSULTANTS, is an award winning business owner and is noted for her sales and marketing expertise. Want to increase your visibility and create a profitable business? Please visit her website www.smokinhotconsultants.com for further information.
LOAD and SMOKE
TWIST to open
EJECT the ash
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