Septic Tank Pumping

For millions of people living in rural settings septic tank pumping is a fact of life. With the closest municipal sewage hookup miles away a properly maintained and working septic system is vitally important and getting it pumped out at regular intervals is a part of that maintenance. In this article we will look at why getting it pumped out regularly is so important, how it is done and about how much you can expect to pay for this service.

But before we get into all that let’s take a quick look at what a septic system is and how it works. In simplest terms a septic system is an underground sewage treatment system for homes that do not have access to municipal sewer services. It typically is comprised of four parts; the waste pipe from the house, the septic tank, the drain field and the soil. All these parts need to in working order but the tank itself is the most important part.

Getting the tank pumped out at regular intervals keeps it working properly and prevents clogs that can cause sewage to back up into the house and create disgusting odors. The primary contributor to septic tank clogs are things that very biodegradable. This includes cooking grease and oils that get dumped down the drain and paper products other then toilet paper; paper towels, sanitary napkins and tampons, cigarette butts and cotton balls will all eventually degrade but they tend to get stuck in the inner working of the tank and create clogs that worsen over time.

Another reason to get a septic tank pumped regularly is to check it for damage that can compromise its ability to work in an efficient manner. Once it’s pumped out it can be visually inspected for cracks and other damage. If any damage is detected it needs to be repaired to prevent future problems.

The pumping process itself is pretty straight forward. A large truck, sometimes referred to as a “Honey Wagon”, with a big tank, suction pump, and a large hoses will come to the property and park in the general vicinity of the septic tank. The operator will remove the manhole cover from the tank, lower the suction hoses into it and fire up the pumps, sucking the accumulated waste into the holding tank on the truck.

A good pumping service will also provide a thorough inspection of the septic tank once it is pumped clean. They will inspect the tank, valves and inlet and outlet ports for damage such as cracks or clogs. They will also inspect the ground around the tank for signs of leaks as well. Any problems should be brought to the homeowner so that they can be dealt with to ensure the proper operation of the entire septic system.

The cost to get a septic tank pumped out varies and will depend on where you live along with a few other factors. Normally it will cost between $125 to $250 or more. The easier the job the less it will cost but there are some circumstances that can cause the price to increase.

The first problem many homeowners run into is knowing exactly where there septic tank is buried. This is particularly true for people who have purchased a home with an existing system. If it is buried and its location isn’t readily apparent then your septic pumping service can use a plumbing snake with a radio emitter attached to the end. The snake is fed through one of the cleanouts in the house and out into the tank. A radio receiver is then used to find the end of the snake which gives the location of the tank.

Another problem is a lack of a septic riser over the lid covering the opening into the tank. If the pumping contractor has to dig down to find the lid this can add to the cost of the service. This is also the perfect opportunity to install a riser to avoid this issue for future pump outs.

The thing to remember when it comes the cost of pumping a septic tank out; The easier it is to for the pumper truck driver to find and access the tank the lower the overall cost will be. It can be well worth it to address any of these issues the first time you get your tank pumped out as it will keep costs down in the future.

Septic tank pumping is the most important part of maintaining a septic system. A clogged or overfull tank is the primary cause of many septic system problems that can be prevented through regularly scheduled visits by the “Honey Wagon”.

How Long Do You Grill Pork Loin Per Pound?

Introduction

Whether you are grilling outside on the grill or in the broiler oven, there’s nothing quite as tasty as a grilled pork loin. But if you are inexperienced with cooking this particular cut of pork you may have some questions: How long do you grill pork loin per pound? What grilling techniques should I know about? With what shall I flavor the pork? We will address each of these questions and provide you with insightful tips that will help you make the perfect pork loin dinner for your family.

Cooking Time — The Short Answer

The complete answer to the cooking time is a little more involved than simply telling you an amount of time per pound and a temperature to cook this cut of pork and expect it to be done perfectly when the time is up. However, if you were to be given a fairly accurate short answer concerning the cooking time of a pork loin, it would be this: About 22 minutes per pound at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Please understand that there is more to cooking a pork loin than simply pre-heating a grill or an oven to a certain temperature, set the timer, and expect excellent results. Please allow an explanation that will give a little more information before you run off and set the meat on the grill.

The Complete Grilling Procedure

The first thing to do, whether you are cooking on the outdoor grill or in the broiler oven, is to sear each side of the pork loin with high heat. Searing it will help keep in the moisture so you end up with a very tender and juicy cut of pork. Cook the pork loin on direct high heat for about two (2) or three (3) minutes on each side of the pork loin. Sear the lean side first, then the fat side. When turning any meat, do not use a fork as it will puncture the seared surfaces of the meat and allow moisture to escape easily. To preserve the moisture always use a pair of tongs to turn meat.

— On the Grill:

I am among many Americans who love the taste of foods cooked on the outdoor grill. And what better meat to cook on the grill than a pork loin? Most people don’t think of cooking a “pork roast” on the grill, and technically a pork loin is a pork roast. But because of its narrow thickness, it is the ideal “pork roast” to cook on the grill.

When grilling, there are common processes to follow regardless of which kind of grill you have.

1. Pre-heat the grill for searing.

2. When grilling on an outdoor grill, turn the meat often to simulate a rotisserie. A pork loin should be turned every few minutes to cook evenly and retain its moisture.

3. In order to preserve the moisture, always use tongs instead of a fork to turn meat.

4. Searing meat requires that it is exposed to direct high heat for two (2) or three (3) minutes on each side.

5. Pieces of meat, such as a pork loin, that are larger than chops or steaks should be cooked on low, indirect heat at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If your grill has vents in the lid, cook the pork with the vents open.

6. A meat thermometer should be used to ensure that the pork loin is between 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit on each end and in the middle. For pork 160 degrees Fahrenheit is medium well and 170 degrees Fahrenheit is well done. Below 160 degrees Fahrenheit you risk food poisoning or worm infection. It is best to check the temperature about 10-15 minutes prior to the completion time so you can make adjustments to the cooking time.

Once the pork has been seared on each side, follow these instructions for various types of grills…

• Charcoal Grill: Separate the charcoal into two (2) piles on either side of the grill to allow the pork loin to be laid between them.

• Gas Grill – Two Elements: Lay a piece of aluminum foil across the middle between the two elements and lay the pork loin on the aluminum foil. Cook on low heat.

• Gas Grill – Three or More Elements: Turn off the inner elements and allow only the outer two elements to cook on low heat. Lay the pork loin half way between the operating elements.

— In the Broiler Oven:

In the cold weather of winter you may not want to do any outdoor grilling. When using a broiler oven you should follow similar procedures as grilling on an outdoor grill. Always use tongs instead of a fork to turn meat. And a meat thermometer should be used to be sure that the pork loin is between 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit on each end and in the middle. For pork 160 degrees Fahrenheit is medium well and 170 degrees Fahrenheit is well done. Below 160 degrees Fahrenheit you risk food poisoning or worm infection. It is best to check the temperature about 10-15 minutes prior to the completion time so you can make adjustments to the cooking time.

1. Pre-heat the broiler and broiling pan for 15 minutes. If your broiler has multiple heat setting, then set to high broil.

2. Set the pork loin on the broiling pan fat side up to sear for three (3) minutes.

3. Turn the pork to fat side down to sear for another three (3) minutes.

4. Turn off the broiler and turn on the oven. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on the broiling pan, fat side down, for the remainder of the time.

5. Make sure to check the inner temperature with the meat thermometer at both ends and in the middle about 15 minutes prior to completion of cooking time in order to avoid over cooking.

— Rotisserie Oven:

Interestingly enough the pork loin will come out more tender and juicy when cooked in a rotisserie than either the outdoor grill or broiler oven. A meat thermometer should still be used to be sure that the pork loin is between 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit on each end and in the middle. For pork 160 degrees Fahrenheit is medium well and 170 degrees Fahrenheit is well done. Below 160 degrees Fahrenheit you risk food poisoning or worm infection. It is best to check the temperature about 10-15 minutes prior to the completion time so you can make adjustments to the cooking time.

Because the rotisserie cooks meat faster than either the outdoor grill or the broiler oven, you may need to reduce the cooking time to about 18 or 20 minutes per pound. It is still recommended to use a meat thermometer. However, because the rotisserie automatically sears all sides of the meat there is no need to sear the pork.

Let It Stand

For juicier, tenderer pork loin, when the pork loin has finished cooking let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Flavor/Seasoning

A pork loin can be marinated in your favorite flavor marinade in the refrigerator overnight. You will likely find marinades at any supermarket. If you marinate in the refrigerator overnight, you’ll need to puncture the meat several times to allow the marinade to soak into the meat. Follow the instructions on the package of marinade.

Many cooks prefer to use a dry seasoning rub. Seasoning your pork loin is as easy as liberally coating with season salt, garlic powder, and pepper, then rubbing the seasoning into the meat. You can also place the seasoned meat into a plastic bag and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.

There are also injection methods of marinating that would NOT require overnight marinating. In addition to injection marinating, there are also methods of injecting solid objects such as chopped garlic, chopped onions, or chopped pineapple.

If you prefer sweeter pork, apple sauce or apple butter (or even pineapple puree) can be injected into the meat of the pork loin. Or a slit can be made down the middle of the pork meat and the apple sauce or apple butter (or pineapple) can be inserted and the pork tied with string every one (1) or two (2) inches according to how you will cut the pork loin when it is done cooking.

Summery

In this article we have discussed the answers to questions such as: How long do you grill pork loin per pound? What grilling techniques should I know about? How shall I flavor the meat? If grilled properly a pork loin with all the trimmings will make a wonderful and delicious meal that your family will absolutely love.

I Love Singapore

A whole lot can happen in a single day… As the journey was a day in Singapore on the way to India, I had printed a list from the internet of attractions that I wanted to see while there. Arriving in the middle of the night at the Singapore International Changi Airport was what I would call a top rated airport experience. Tired from a long flight of sixteen hours, I made my way to the Ambassador Transit Hotel within the airport. Many international airports have lounges, day hotels and shower facilities, but Singapore really does it right. Since it was 2:00 a.m., I needed a place to shower and sleep for a few hours. The shower facility is beautifully done in Asian style, simplistic, modern and pleasant with bamboo and flowers. A simple bed for a nap was perfect, quiet and private. What better way to start a day in Singapore- clean, rested and ready to visit the City.

Simply checking my bag for the day at the airport, I took my light shoulder bag that I like to use for trekking around town and I was ready to go. About 7:00 a.m. I caught the bus into downtown Singapore. As I gazed through the large clean windows, I saw beautifully lined streets of exotic palms and blue sky, with buildings that were two and three stories high with unique designs and colors. The beauty of Singapore was starting to unfold before me. After a very brief twenty-minute ride to downtown and a short walk, I was at my first stop, the truly majestic and famous Raffles Hotel, now a national monument. In the balmy tropical air and early morning sunshine, this colonial style building sparkled white. I stood there taking it all in.

Raffles Hotel was the place in Singapore I wanted to visit the most, for its architecture and its incredible history. It is named after Singapore’s founder Sir Stamford Raffles. Just being there you can start to sense the connection to the past- tremendous history, mystery, romance, times gone by, stories of war and political take-over, of English gentlemen in white jackets smoking skinny cigars, of summer nights and a flavored drink called the Singapore Sling.

Entering the majestic front hall and parlor with carpeted stairs leading up to a second level, I felt like I was stepping back in time. The hotel was frequented by well-known writers such as Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway and James Michener; celebrities such as Jean Harlow and Elizabeth Taylor; royalty including Queen Elizabeth II. Many have graced its grounds spanning over a century of time since it was built in 1899.

The hotel was under Japanese occupation during World War II and it was even used as a transit camp for prisoners at the end of the war. In the 1990’s the hotel was renovated and it has changed owners a few times along the way, but it is still the same. Service is impeccable and I’m escorted into the dining hall to a breakfast bar with exotic fruits and foods many of which I am unfamiliar. There is a large choice of eastern and western foods, cappuccino and teas, delicious Indian hot dishes, Asian delicacies and all served in beautiful sterling service. Breakfast in itself is something to see and the dining hall a pleasant place to eat, relax and read the morning paper. Honestly, the place was “smashing.” I walked the spacious grounds and visited the stores, entirely enjoying the whole experience. If I had done nothing else in Singapore, this would have been enough.

However, the day awaited me so off I went to Chinatown. My first impression, this is by far the cleanest, most organized Chinatown I’ve ever seen. Actually, some have criticized Singapore for its super clean demeanor and lack of bohemian style environments that often make things more interesting. But honestly, having trekked the planet, I found the cleanliness of Singapore to be quite refreshing. Chinatown had restored many of its shop houses preserving the history of Chinese in Singapore. Making my way to the Buddhist Tooth Relic Temple, I was able to see the fifteen-foot Maitreya Buddha on the first level floor and also visit the Buddhist Cultural Museum. Approximately 40% of Singaporeans practice Buddhism. Interestingly, the Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple is also located in the Chinatown area. It was founded in 1827 eight years after the British East India Company established a trading settlement in Singapore. Both temples are architecturally unique and they are active with devotees spending time to pray. I decided to do the same, appreciative to be in Singapore.

From there I made way to the Singapore River to take a “Bumboat Ride.” A bumboat tour on the river is stunning and it is a very pleasant, relaxing three-hour ride. The Singapore River flows under twelve bridges with close up views of Singapore’s majestic business district and numerous historical buildings along its shore. The river snakes in, around and through the city and it is truly fantastic. You can see so much and learn about the city in a very short time. Singapore is a city-state and is the smallest country in SE Asia. It is located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula and has a diverse population of close to 5 million people made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians, Asians of various descents, and Caucasians. Almost half of the population is foreigners who work and study in Singapore. English is spoken on the bumboat ride and it is very easy to communicate with the locals as English is learned in the schools along with the Malay language.

The ride returns back to Boat Quay, which is Singapore’s picturesque and famous row of shops and international restaurants. You can literally walk down the row, shop after shop and pick and choose cuisine from multiple cultures of the world. I decided to go Northern India Punjab style. The restaurant was two stories and I could sit outside on the balcony with a view over the river and admire the city of Singapore enjoying some spicy sag paneer, raita and garlic naan bread. The food was excellent with delicious Indian Chai tea.

I also visited the City Hall building where a history of Singapore and its political rule were provided. Singapore has a unitary system of government. It no longer has a mayor or a city council, but instead has five Community Development Councils established in 1997. The City Hall along with the neighboring Old Supreme Court Building, will be converted into the National Art Gallery of Singapore by 2013.

Singapore presents itself well, and everywhere I went it was interesting and pleasant. Honestly I had no complaints about this amazing city, well-known as a major international port and financial center. With only a little time left in my day, I stopped in at the large Suntec City Mall sporting 350 retail outlets. Its Fountain of Wealth is the largest fountain in the world. It was huge, beautifully designed and the mall had all the well-known designer department stores with busy shoppers. There are also many beautiful boutique hotels within the City. With great places to stay and to shop, Singapore is an entertaining and pleasant destination.

Catching my bus back to the airport for a night flight to India, I watched the buildings and palms go by. Although there is no place without problems in the world, I felt like I had experienced a little bit of what utopia might be. I will always think of my day in Singapore as a perfect day and I felt a huge satisfaction with this glimpse of such a beautiful and successful global city.

The Power of Niche Sales

Many successful organizations have survived turbulent economic conditions and fiercely competitive environments by consistently nurturing a niche, and the loyal consumers in the niche community. It is possible to expand and grow business in addition to the niche. Unfortunately, several other organizations have lost their identities in an effort to copy the competition, rebrand themselves, or casually jettison a loyal constitutionue due to change in focus. Let's compare and contrast a few recognized examples.

You've got questions, we used to have the answers

There was a time when car audio enthusiasts would flock to Radio Shack for speakers, wires, radios, antennas, and a variety of other electronic components to install, replace, or upgrade the audio in old cars. This helped many transition from eight track tapes to cassette tapes, and cassettes to CDs. It also helped many to upgrade the basic systems that were originally installed in the automobile. Gradually the new models of automobiles that roled off the assembly line had much improved audio systems. Demand for car audio upgrades declined significantly, and the stores stopped carrying the components for do-it-yourself audio enthusiasts. However, the demand will remain as long as there are aging vehicles on the roads, and cycle as frequently as new technology is introduced. Broadcasting the availability of such components at Radio Shack could have been a way to retain this niche of automotive audio enthusiasts, and the ongoing sales, if Radio Shack had retained compliance to this commitment.

The car audio components are only one small part of a sweeping change that occurred at Radio Shack. The devoted tribe of Ham Radio Operators were suddenly without a resource, as Radio Shack virtuously abandoned the product. In an effort to rebrand the company and become more like Best Buy or Circuit City, Radio Shack dropped many products and brands. Once known for wires, fuses, transistors, resistors, and all of the ingredients for electronic home cooking, Radio Shack stores replaced many of the component shelves with commodity consumer electronics like cell phones, televisions, and DVD players. The lesser known, and lower cost brand name products that once adorned the shelves, were replaced by the same brands that could have been found in Best Buy or Circuit City. The once loyal customers of Radio Shack realized that the lesser known brands had actually been manufactured by the same factories that produced the famous brands, and did not mind paying a little less for a different label. After all, the loyal fans of Radio Shack were audio, video, and electronic enthusiasts, who proudly distinguished themselves from the flocks that followed brand names in retail stores. How bitter it must have been to bring questions, only to be betrayed as the Mecca of answers was turned to the dark side of commodity consumerism, brand names, and retail aisles.

Radio Shack enjoyed a period of rebirth and renewed revenue growth as a primary distribution mechanism for cell phones, and cell phone accessories. Indeed, for a period of time, it appeared that the rebranding and consumer retail strategy was working. The stores enjoyed significant profitability as demand for cell phones exploded. And then came the sweeping and devastating change, as cell phone companies began to open their own stores. Suddenly Radio Shack was competing with the cell phone companies, and competing with cell phone stores that could give away phones, accessories, or cherished free minutes. The Golden Age of cell phone dominance diminished, and the revenue disappeared with it.

Unfortunately, as the wave of cell phone dominance subsided, it revealed a very weak underlying commodity strategy that could not replace the revenue. Having introduced similar brands and products as Best Buy and Circuit City, the difference was gone. Why shop at Radio Shack for the same products, and less selection? That was a consumer question for which Radio Shack did not have any answers. Many of the devoted following of audio enthusiasts, Ham Radio Operators, and do-it-yourself home electronics experts had already been forced to find other resources. The niches had been lost, and as a result of not having anything to go back on, many stores were lost too.

The good news for Radio Shack is that it may not be too late to return to the Golden Age of Gadgets. The economy is cyclical, and we are in a period that many consumers would eagerly consider a lower cost, lesser known brand. As each generation continues to live longer, there is a growing appetite for niche products designed for different age groups. It is much easier for local stores to supply these niche products, if the local stores leakage a well executed supply chain solution to minimize inventory and maximize access.

Thinking differently

Let's contrast the Radio Shack strategy to the Apply way. Apple computer company has long been surrounded by fierce competition. The battle for market dominance has taken many forms, and used many allies. Operating systems, software solutions, accessories, microprocessors, and a host of other tactics have been used to wage this ongoing war of technology and formats. Despite overwhelming dominance of market for personal computers, the competitors have been unable to eliminate Apple. In spite of the competition, Apple has not only survived the bitter struggle, but is enjoying a magnificent period of renewed growth.

How is it that Apple could not be eradicated from the computer landscape? The most commonly recognized understanding is the fanatical loyalty of Apple enthusiasts. Graphic artists, musicians, and several paradoxically-challenged IT administrators retained devoted to the imperishable brand. Some of the deleted claimed loyalty for the stability of the operating system, and some for the utilities. With the introduction of the flavor-colored iMac computers, the loyal following surged with new masses who simply appreciated the ability to choose a color. The combined design and marketing campaign may have been as transparent as the colorful casings, but it was at least equally as effective.

Expanding on the foundation of success, Apple introduced the iPod. Once again, a tremendous flood of new and loyal believers converted to Apple. Even the traditionually proud Personal Computer devotees could have been spotted with bright wires connecting them to their favorite iTunes. Apply quickly became the dominant force in personal portable audio entertainment. Even as new consumers contemplated converting to Apple, the company has never lost focus on the devoted and loyal followers that helped it survive and thrive. Even going so far as to partner with the perceived enemy of Intel, Apple has expanded technology, without sacrificing the operating system or any of the niche staples embraced by loyalists.

Not satisfied with returning to glory, or controlling the niche of personal portable audio entertainment, Apple used the newfound experience to aggressively attack another area of ​​technology. Just as cell phones contributed to the second Golden Age of Radio Shack, the iPhone is a strong foray into the area of ​​personal portable communication for Apple. Fortunately for Apple, the iPod niche remains strong, and the niche of devoted Apple computer users continues to grow stronger by the day. The iPhone may be a flash in the pan, or a long term strategic success, but in either case, Apple continues to expand niche support and a foundation for continuous success.

Question your niche, and think differently

You have a niche too, sometimes several of them. Your product, brand, or services have a following. It may be based on loyal consumers who appreciate specific features that you provide. It may be a niche following based on geographic region, age group, or some other demographics. The niche may be a result of association with a brand, as with Nike, Mercedes, or Polo. The niche may be the result of unparallel services, as with the Automobile Association of America, or the National Service Alliance. In any case, identify and nurture your niche of loyal clients, because those customers are your foundation.

The necessity to support your niche is not limited to the consumer environment. On a much more personal level, you may be in a very competitive environment in your place of employment, in government, or in an association. Be aware of the niche of loyal constituents, friends, supporters, and followers who have a personal interest in your success. You should be equally interested and invested in the success of your supporters. This mutual awareness and continuous effort can result in a sense of loyalty and commitment that survives challenge, and is the future for your success.

PS – Good luck Radio Shack, and best wishes in the search to rediscover your niche. Your loyal consumers look forward to your next Golden Age of Gadgets

Words of Wisdom

"The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence."
– Robert J. Shiller, Irrational Exuberance

"The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning."
– Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine, September 2002

"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people do not know what they want until you show it to them."
– Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek May 25, 1998

Rules, Tools and Jewels

It has been said before: the main objective of most businesses is to increase their owners’ wealth. This is true of large corporations as it is true for small businesses. But, small businesses are often owned and operated by people with a specific passion and skill, people who are self-directed, courageous and motivated by more than just profit margins. Small business owners are often people accustomed to shouldering the majority of tasks related to running their businesses. And many owners are not experts in business management; they are experts in their crafts. So accomplishing all the various elements related to running a business can be quite difficult – even overwhelming. For these hard-working individuals, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and still have time to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Proposed here are standard business practices that can be employed by small business owners to create as much efficiency and solidity in their businesses as possible, while alleviating some of the management burden. As stated in a previous article, “The Business Side of Healing”, it takes more than one element to ensure the success of a business. What is fundamental to success is the right combination of elements. I call it: the “Rules, Tools and Jewels” approach to business.

RULES

1. Schedule

Most small businesses are service businesses; and most services are based on scheduled appointments. You probably understand the necessity of scheduling clients. Well, what about all the other tasks of your business? Scheduling is as powerful a management tool for filing, ordering supplies and posting ads as it is for managing clients. As with everything else, don’t wait until the paper stacks are blocking the door or the call-back list is cold or the inventory is depleted before you take action. Create a schedule that includes all of your tasks – including time for yourself to rest and enjoy your life.

2. Organize

Organization is order; order is control; control is safety. The opposite of this is chaos – dangerous to mind, bodies, and businesses. Being organized as a business owner is extremely helpful; it is also rather demanding. Even if a great system is instituted, organization demands constant commitment and effort.

Effective organization means ensuring that everything is in the correct place where it can be retrieved quickly with minimal effort. It is the “bird’s eye” point of view that promotes the idea that investment of effort at the beginning saves twice the effort at the end. Which would you rather do: take 5 minutes to label a folder, organize its contents and file it correctly in the drawer so it can be retrieved within 30 seconds; or spend 20 minutes looking for it in paper piles 6 months later when you urgently need the information? Hmmmm…

3. Prioritize

This has been discussed by every motivational speaker ad nauseum, so it probably requires little explanation. But, it does bear repeating. If you are providing a service to people, then the quality of that service is your top priority. If you are a business owner, then the profit margin is your priority. And if you are both?

There is no denying the possibility of conflicting priorities in the management of your business. And no one can tell you what your priorities must be; only you can decide. What my advice to you is: consciously re-evaluate your priorities in relation to your professional and personal goals. Document them at least twice a year. Be willing to change your routines and processes in order to support your current priorities. And scrutinize everything in your business under the bright light of these priorities. If you see something wilting under that light, it is time to make a change. When in doubt or when you are overwhelmed, take a second look at your priorities. They are the signposts that you need sometimes to face the crossroads of your journey..

4. Mark Your Boundaries

Establishing boundaries is the progression of scheduling, organization and prioritizing combined. You draw the map from where you are to where you want to be. You add the roadblocks and traffic signals. You design the rest stops and speed limits. And you decide who belongs on your territory and where they can go. As a business owner, you are responsible for this map – for marking the boundaries so that everyone, from family members to office staff to clients, know where they can and cannot go. What do you expect from them? What are you willing or available to do or not do?

It pays to be strategic and map out your boundaries. Communicate them too, before someone crosses over a line you don’t want crossed. If you know when (schedule), what (organize), and why (prioritize) things are supposed to happen, the map will practically draw itself..

TOOLS

Ask a carpenter if tools are important; ask a mechanic. Ask a surgeon. Of course tools are important! They can make all the difference. Well, small business owners need the right tools to manage their companies like a plumber needs his wrench. Some things like “space” and “time” are too obvious to discuss. Some of what is listed here is also quite obvious; but some items may surprise you. Just to hammer in the point…

1. Office Systems and Protocols

This is mostly about organization, setting the processes in place that determine who does what, when, where and how. It isn’t the most popular of tasks, developing the operational procedures for a business. But it is quite helpful if you want to run the business efficiently and smoothly. All businesses should document their systems and protocols, even if they are very simple and brief. These documents, at least, should be on hand:

a. Business Plan – includes mission, goals, strategies, and financial projections

b. Organization Chart – depicts levels of responsibility

c. Operations Manual – procedures for managing and administrating the business

d. Accounting/Bookkeeping System

e. Employee Reference Manual – employee tasks, responsibilities and reporting

f. Marketing Plan – scheduled strategies for promoting business

2. Financial Management Tools

Accurate accounting records, wise purchasing decisions, and strategic planning and investing make a great foundation for managing the financial strength of a business. Invest in a good bookkeeping system (discussed in “6. Software” below), and maintain rigorous control of your businesses purchasing and investing. If finance is not your strong suit, employ the services of someone who understands this element. You may not need a full-time accountant; you may not want the expense of a financial manager. Even if you hire accountants and financial advisors on an hourly basis during periodic intervals (such as the start-up of a business, tax season, and for end-of-the-year compilations), their expertise can be vital to protecting your business.

3. People Management

Not all businesses have staff, some are a one-person operation. But, even if the business does not have support staff, it will interact with others – clients, vendors, marketers, referrals, associations. Knowing how to manage people is an invaluable skill, and it is not as intuitive as one might hope. People management is driven by communication; some people are skilled communicators and some are not. It is highly recommended to all business owners that they become educated on the subjects of business communication and people management. There are many good books on these topics and there are lectures and classes offered constantly at colleges and community centers. Being a good communicator can make the difference between being a good manager that knows how to build loyalty in support staff and get the most out of their abilities, or being a lousy manager that drives staff away and loses potential business (often without understanding why).

4. Security

Security addresses several things: physical safety for you and your employees, protection of property and materials, insurance and/or bonding for loss recovery, and security of information and finances. These are usual considerations for business, and don’t require in-depth explanation. But, the security of information has become a more complex element in recent times when there is greater access to anyone’s information via networking systems and the internet. All business owners must invest in protection from hackers, computer viruses and other internet related threats. There are independent computer consultants that specialize in offering services onsite to their clients. They can be instrumental in evaluating the security of your systems and protecting your information from unscrupulous individuals.

5. Documentation

Yes, this is the boring part. Paperwork is not the most exciting part of running a business. But it is important. Documentation is like the tracks that the train runs on – the train may still move without them, but it won’t get very far. Documenting every aspect of the business is key to its basic organization. The system for creating, using and storing documents does not need to be complicated; it just needs to be utilized. Business owners are often good at documenting receivables and payables, cash flow, and sales volume. But they are not always as diligent when it comes to recording client feedback, employee performance, or effectiveness of promotional activities. My advice to business owners is: if you are not a top notch administrator, hire someone who is to either manage your office (which includes documentation), or set-up your office and documentation in a way that will continue to be efficient throughout the life of the business. Office administration is a skill. If you want to find out the best way to document what is happening with the business, don’t ask the boss. Ask the assistant.

6. Software

No matter what type of business you are in, chances are that you use a computer to manage your records. Most business documentation and communication is accomplished using computers; so software, the part that makes using computers accessible to everyone, is as crucial a consideration as office location and equipment. Software programs are designed for specific purposes and to answer specific needs. There are programs for managing the day-to-day financial transactions of a business. Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Sage Peachtree Accounting, and Quicken are some of the most popular for small businesses. There are programs for creating documents that consist mostly of text, such as letters, memos, and manuals: MS Word, WordPerfect, Mac iWork; and desktop publishing programs for creating documents that feature both text and graphics and/or photographs such as: Adobe InDesign, QuarkXpress and Apple Pages ’09. There are spreadsheet programs: Microsoft Excel, Lotus, and Office Mac. And there are drawing, graphic design, photo manipulation and other artistic programs such as: CAD, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, GIMP and Inkspace. Finally, there are website design and optimization programs: Dreamweaver, Sharepoint Designer, Web Studio, CoffeeCup, and Mac RapidWeaver.

7. Marketing and Strategic Planning

The most effective part of promoting your business is planning before you promote. Marketing is the activities that you or others do in order to increase awareness and interest in your business. The returns on marketing efforts are sometimes slow to appear, but they accumulate over time and prove to be worth the investment. But, before doing any marketing it is very helpful to look ahead with the company goals in mind, to six months, one year, and five years into the future. Deciding what are the long-term goals of the company as well as what, and who, are the focus of the business, and on what aspect of your business you want to build the company’s reputation are all a part of strategic planning. Marketing efforts are wasted if they are done sporadically, randomly and capriciously.

A small business owner tends to have an intimate relationship with his or her business. What this means is that he or she feels an expanded sense of ownership and, perhaps, pride in the business. It may feel like a part of his or her identity. Sometimes, as with other relationships, this intimacy may be blinding. It can be difficult to objectively evaluate a business when one is “intimately” involved. Employing a marketing consultant, a business coach, or a planning advisor can be very helpful in accomplishing the necessary strategic and promotional efforts for a business. Whether you go it alone or you wisely seek assistance, the strategic planning and marketing of your small business can be what ensures the future of your business.

8. Expert Advice

Getting advice from others who are experts in their field can save a business owner time, money and energy. More importantly, it can save them the repercussions of making devastating mistakes. Typically, at some point during the life of the business, owners will need the counsel of CPAs, lawyers, financial advisors, marketing professionals, and perhaps business advisors or coaches. An investment is necessary to obtain this expert advisement, but it is almost always worth twice the price. Whenever possible, try to obtain referrals for these resources from other business owners who have used their services.

9. Community Support

Building a relationship with the local community can be instrumental to ensuring success, particularly for small businesses. Look for opportunities to get involved with the causes and events of your community. Joining chambers of commerce and professional associations is another way of becoming more visible to your community. You may also wish to join a professional networking group, such as PowerCore or BNI. This is a good way for small business owners and independents to support each other. The point of the matter is, give back in some way to your community and it will give back to you.

10. Reminders

There are many ways to generate reminders to stay on track. Business owners are typically very busy people who struggle with where to focus their time and energy. It is easy to miss out on opportunities to promote your business or increase your proficiency because of the day-to-day demands of running your business. Using reminders is one way to overcome the constant distraction of everyday demands.

Keeping written lists in a single notepad or an organizer is one way to manage task lists as well as creative and strategic ideas for future efforts. You may opt to record tasks and ideas on a digital source, such as a PC, laptop, Blackberry, Palm Pilot, iPhone or other digital device. For maximum efficiency, employ printed or digital calendars along with task lists and make sure that referring to them both is a part of your daily routine.There are benefits to using software that includes alarms and reminders when managing business processes and workflow. Many of the accounting, CRM, document management and other related software packages include calendar management functions with built-in reminders. Commonly used software like Outlook and Quickbooks includes reminder options. There are many powerful packages on the market now that incorporate accounting, planning, document control, scheduling, payroll and CRM capabilities into one management program, which simplifies the use of calendars and reminders because all of the company’s data is managed with a relational, single-source method. Whatever technique you choose to manage daily tasks and record strategic ideas and planning, the use of reminders is a valuable tool for optimizing your resources.

JEWELS

The “jewels” of any business are the professionals who prove themselves to be dedicated to supporting the goals, mission and success of the business. These professionals usually do not have a share in the ownership of the business. But their commitment, work ethic and integrity motivate them to give their best efforts to their employer, regardless of whether or not the compensation they receive is generous. These professionals may be full-time technical employees who provide the skilled labor that is the backbone of the business. They may be office support personnel, such as: office managers, administrative assistants, human resource staff, bookkeepers and IT staff. Or, these valuable individuals may be hire-when-needed independents such as attorneys, CPAs, marketing consultants, business coaches, and financial advisors. There is another category of “jewels” as well that includes personal assistants, life or wellness coaches, errand services and family members who are willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in when necessary.

The point to remember is that “jewels” are precious and rare. Business owners would be wise to seek out, retain, and then treasure these individuals – let them know how valued and appreciated they are. The type of person that exhibits a willingness to “go the extra mile” is one that isn’t usually motivated by monetary reward alone. He or she is probably someone who values relationships more than profits; and the dedication and hard work that he or she provides to the business owner originates in respect for that professional relationship. Many people have a philosophy of “no one is irreplaceable”. That may be true. But when you, as a business owner, lose one of your jewels, you will notice that loss. You may not find another one as brilliant to take her place; and you will miss that shine.

Hopefully, within the practices suggested here, small business owners will find their perfect combination of these elements in a way that will decrease their burdens, and increase their revenues as well as their downtime. Employing the “Rules, Tools and Jewels” approach to business will alleviate some stress for business owners because it provides a roadmap for navigating the rough waters of running a small business in an economy driven by competition. The good news is that the success of small businesses in America contributes to the success of us all.

FTC Franchise Rule Making Sound and Fury in the Sand Box of Free Markets

Today we have a new franchise report from the Federal Trade Commission to further inhibit the franchise model through more redundant paper work and over regulation, which will only serve the lawyers and give job security to the bureaucrats. However, it serves no free man in this present period. If you look at all the comments in the FTC’s franchise report and rule making session; you see dickering from both sides over phrases, disclosure topics, wording in the UFOCs from lawyers, franchise rights groups and industry associations.

If you want children to stop fighting over a toy, take the toy away and they will not be fighting over it anymore. Then maybe the children or adolescents will get along; franchisees, franchisors, Lawyers and consumer groups. The toy in this case is of course all the rules created by the FTC to provide a point of sound a fury to each side. If you remove the rules and allow the free market to justify itself you will see very quickly that the children will learn to get along better. Yet instead now we have the FTC playing parent and each child is trying to get the parent to render a decision? Why not remove the toys and the parents and make the kids work it out.

Why is the FTC being the judge over plastic shovels in the sand box? We should be letting entrepreneurs build more sand boxes, industries and business models to accomplish and satisfy the needs and desires of the consumers, rather than forcing everyone into the same box. We also need to allow for more shovels so all players can have room to move and play in the free market sand box. If the FTC, teacher, is controlling who gets the shovel for how long and what they are allowed to do with the shovel then the kids can only use their imagination so long, before they are cut short in what could have been an excellent sand castle. A castle providing jobs, points of trade and satisfied kingdom where it pays for everyone to get along is best for all concerned and it sure makes the teacher much more appreciated and useful.

If we will back off of all the incessant rules and regulations we will have kids learning to share, get along and become better citizens, not running to the teacher every time they did not get their way and forgetting why they are all there in the first place. To learn and grow, to build and create, to innovate and experiment, to serve the common good and create a win-win situation for all concerned in that period of their endeavors.

In watching the attacks in the this rule making process sand box and clarification from the teacher as to who gets to use the shovel to hit the other kids and who gets to throw sand back at who; I see a trend from outside this sand box looking in. That observation tells me that it is unworthy of my time to join in and tells entrepreneurs not to invest time or money into the franchising model at all.

The teachers have forgotten why they are there and are making it hell on the kids. Why play? Entrepreneurs, real ones, build and create and when you force them into a box you do not get their best efforts, no one does. Not them, their sand castles, employees, the kingdom, the future of the next recess period of economic expansion. The only one who will win is the little cry baby, lawyers, who runs and tries to convince the teacher why they should be allowed to have the golden shovel and why it is not fair that Johnny is building a beautiful sand castle for all the others to play with.

The FTC is wrecking franchising and allowing crybaby attorneys to argue over words, when we need live and let live so we can all prosper again. Johnny gets the shovel unless Margaret cries or Mark hits Elizabeth and she tells the teacher. If Johnny builds a sand castle too good, it must be torn down because it will make little Billy feel insecure, even though he pushed Lisa off the slide four weeks ago who fell on David who told his Mom who mentioned it to the assistant principal.

So because there is sound an fury in this little world along with some restless natives we are not going to allow Johnny to use the shovel unless he promises not to build creative sand castles and when he does immediately destroy them or give them to the other kids as soon as he is nearly completed. What is wrong with you people at the FTC and what is wrong with this picture?

I find the world of franchise rule making similar to the Six Tour de France wins from Lance Armstrong. Now the French want to redesign the course to make it easier so some one else can win, by taking out some hills? Why? They had 20 stages times six years to win. Six years to beat the best. Now since they want everyone to be equal and the same we see they are going to change the rules so someone else can win, who? Little Billy? Is this promoting strength of character, dedication, perseverance or commitment? No it is promoting a sand box of weak, less serious, less intelligent, less opportunity, less cooperation, fewer choices, so everyone can be controlled. Others feel they should just stand and spit at Lance and other market winners as the drive by, perhaps slow him done, because the other riders or market competitors are weak and cannot compete with that level of commitment.

I can understand in a sort of cynical way why France might do this, being a socialist minded society and all that. But I cannot understand why some schools cannot keep score in soccer in lower grades anymore, why sand box controls are more important than free enterprise and why we in the United Sates of America are trying to micro manage Franchising with over regulation to appease a bunch of lawyers so they have something to squabble over. You cannot get lawyers to agree on anything, why would franchise law be any different and why are we even listening?

It is time for the FTC to step back from the sand box, allow the free markets to adjust them selves and reduce the rules and allow the sand box work it all out. We have way too many crybabies (attorneys) getting way too much attention from the teacher to get anything done in the franchising sector. Let the creative geniuses build their sand castles, let the market work this out, eliminate the rules and give back the freedoms to the entrepreneurs then you will have all the jobs you want, more kids attending the school, more playgrounds to oversee and more opportunity, prosperity and a brighter future for America. We need to make room for the next set of hard charging entrepreneurs to come along. God knows little Ray Kroc was probably building sand castles as a child, he was building and creating even at that early age. Is the FTC trying to destroy the next set of up and coming entrepreneurs? Yes, absolutely, whether they realize it or not. I call that pure evil, the kindergarten or first grade teacher from hell. There is nothing more evil in the world than destroying creativity or innovation so the forward progression of mankind can be attained. Likewise all the players in the sand box can graduate to the next grade. Think on this.

Lyrical Dance – an Expression Driven Style of Dance

There are several aspects to the field of dance that make it quite an appealing art form to many. From ballet to jazz to tap, there is just so much there is to learn about dancing. However, for people who are more interested in expressing emotion through movement as opposed to learning set traditional techniques, there is the wonderful art of lyrical dance. While some element of technique is essential in lyrical dancing, what is more important is whether or not you are able to express what needs to be portrayed on stage.

Lyrical dance is a style that actually combines elements of the most popular traditional techniques like ballet, tap and jazz. However, it really is not that concerned with the physique of the dancer. The primary goal of a lyrical dancer is to have the ability to portray or convey the emotion behind the lyrics of a song. In some cases, lyrical dance can be performed to an instrumental piece of music, which also has some amount of emotion that needs to be interpreted and expressed by the dancer.

Lyrical dancers have to develop a certain level of maturity so they are able to express emotions through facial expressions and body movement. In a real sense, they are required to tell the story without including any spoken word and just focus on movement and facial interpretation.

Although the physique of the dancer is not the primary focus for the lyrical dance style, dancers do need to have a high degree of strength and flexibility because there are usually lifts and spins that could be considered complicated but necessary for the lyrical dancing style.

What is great about this type of dance is that you really do not need to start out at a young age. In fact, it is preferred that lyrical dancers are a little older because it is much easier for them to express their emotions than it is for young kids and teenagers.

It is still unclear where or when lyrical dance originated. However, it continues to be popular in certain arenas, especially theater and Broadway presentations. Although there are elements of different dance techniques involved in lyrical dance, many of the movements do not resemble any type of traditional dance technique. The way the body is required to bend and turn for lyrical dancing cannot usually be attributable to one technique or the other.

Generally, the choreography for lyrical dance involves partners who interpret ballads or love songs about how a relationship makes them feel. Although there are types of interpretive songs that are used for lyrical dance pieces other than love songs, positive love songs as well as songs about lost love are the most common types because they are usually filled with emotion.

If you have always wanted to become involved in dancing but never thought you would get the chance, you can consider lyrical dance because it caters to a wider age range and also relies on your ability to express yourself through facial emotions as well as body language.

Flat Irons – Top Rated Favorites

Did you ever wonder how she does it? The girl with the fabulous hairstyle? I bet she used one of my all time favorite, must-have hair appliances, a straightening iron. With so many flat irons on the beauty market, how do you choose which one is right for you? I’ve got you covered. I have assembled expert and customer picks below, to give you the scoop on some of the most popular, best-selling, most raved about flat irons on the market so you can find the tool that’s right for you. Flat irons, straightening irons, styling irons…which one is best for you?

GHD 1″ Ceramic Hair Straightener MK3

Alias: The International Fave

Already a best-seller in the UK and Australia, the GHD MK3 flat iron is quickly developing a loyal fan base here in the US. Even heat conduction allows for quicker heating time than a conventional flat iron, and the long lasting temperature leads to optimal hair straightening in minutes. Just brilliant!

Plus: GHD has expertly formulated a line of hair care and thermal protectors to accompany your heat styling endeavors for maximum hair happiness.

Chi Original Ceramic 1″ Flat Iron

Alias: The Original

Great hairstyles are simple with the right tool; CHI proves that time and time again. With an extensive product line and many different irons to choose from, I have to agree with their loyal customers, you can’t go wrong with CHI, but the original model is one of my faves, and surely to be one of yours! Well known in the industry for continually creating new limited edition irons in trendy colors, CHI is great for you fashionistas out there.

Bonus: CHI has a killer line of hair care to keep your hair smooth with pure silk!

Maxiglide

Alias: The Cult Favorite

Soft, shiny, straight and snag free! That’s what I keep hearing from Maxiglide users. Unique steamburst technology and ceramic detangling pins make this iron unlike all the others – in a good way. Not only does this iron get consistently high reviews on beauty sites, Maxiglide customers are very passionate about this straightener; they keep raving about it again and again. There is a reason it’s a best seller. Need I say more?

Plus: The Maxiglide also has a slimmer, smaller version – the Miniglide. It’s the perfect traveling companion for touch ups on the go.

GHD Ceramic Hair Styler and Hair Straightener, Flat Iron MK4

Also known as: The Newbie

Already getting media buzz, the much anticipated launch of the newest arrival of the GHD family does not disappoint! Being one of the lucky few to get a sneak peek, I love, love, love this iron. Incorporating state-of-the-art styling technology, this heat styler curls as easily as it straightens, giving you the ultimate in versatility. Plus it auto adjust for international voltages, has a stronger cable, and a new sleep mode which turns itself off after 15 minutes. That’s one smart styler!

Plus: Just to make sure you’ve got the styling ‘know-how’, there’s a step-by-step DVD included in the box. Watch out competition, there’s a new player in town, the GHD MK4 has arrived.

CHI Wet to Dry Ceramic Flat Iron Auto-Digital Hair Straightener

Also known as: The Powerhouse

Specially designed for damp hair, the CHI wet-to-dry flat iron utilizes ceramic ionic technology to eliminate frizz while straightening and transforms hair into shiny, super-smooth locks directly out of the shower. State of the art digital technology allows you to set the precise temperature and it even has a timer with automatic shut off. Great for every hair type, the CHI wet-to-dry straightens the fullest, most unruly locks with ease.

Plus: The CHI works just as well on dry hair, making it perfect for every primping situation. Sometimes I run late you know…

HAI Twig Flat Iron 3/8″Ceramic Styling Iron

Alias: The Mini Sleeker

Tame even the thickest, frizziest short hair into smooth shiny locks with the HAI Twig. One use and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. The slim 3/8″ ceramic plates work wonders on bangs and those whisper-y wisps we love so much. For the best results and styling control, you should never use a plate width larger than necessary, and now you don’t have to. Now everyone can have the same results as the pros, Twig makes it so easy!

Plus: This sleek styler features the same rapid heating element and adjustable temperature settings as the larger HAI models, making it a great choice for anyone looking to style shorter sections in seconds.

FHI Heat Technique Ceramic Ionic Professional 1-3/4″ Flat Iron

Middle name: Big Daddy

If you have long, thick, coarse or unruly hair, the FHI Heat Technique Professional 1-3/4″ Ceramic ionic flat iron is your one way ticket to smooth. FHI’s Ceramic Tourmaline technology generates negative ions to neutralize the positive ions found on coarse, dry and damaged hair and the fixed temperature ensures even heat distribution every time you use it. If you’ve ever set aside a few hours to straighten your thick, massive mop, you’ll be amazed at how quickly this flat iron tames your tresses.

Plus: FHI makes an amazing heat protectant – FHI Heat Hot Sauce. It’s moisture-based, and when used with a flat iron it actually penetrates into the core of you hair to reconstruct and deeply condition from the inside out. Talk about protection.

CHI Nano Digital Ceramic Flat Iron 1-1/4″ Hair Straightener

Alias: The Mac Daddy of Techno

Love to take control? With the CHI Nano Digital flat iron, you get a precise fixed temperature ensuring perfect, even heat every time you style. No more overheating, over-drying, over-damaging your hair. What’s not to love? Plus it’s got advanced Nano Silver Technology that eliminates bacteria and creates a germ-free styling environment. It’s sterilized smoothing with every style.

Bonus: The CHI Nano Digital flat iron looks as great as it performs! I love its major counter appeal and never want to put it away. It looks great on any vanity (on top of a heatproof mat, of course!) Gotta love an appliance that has style.

Hot Tools 1″ Ceramic Far-Infrared Heat Flat Iron

Nickname: The Professional

A separate heating system for each heating plate ensures superior styling performance and puts the ‘hot’ in Hot Tools. Professional Soft Heat(TM) technology produces gentle, far infrared heat for more efficient heating, faster styling, and shinier hair, and the Ceramic and Titanium Technology provides snag-free styling as it glides smoothly down your strands. Any hair appliance that won’t snag or pull an overworked ‘do gets an A+ in my book. Thanks Hot Tools.

Plus: This flat iron proves you can get great technology at a great price point!

FHI Technique Professional Pink 1″ Hair Straightener

Middle Name: Versatility

One flat iron, with all the styling capabilities you will ever need. You can straighten, flip, and even curl your hair in seconds with this baby in our favorite shade, PINK. FHI utilizes Nano Technology to maximize the effects of negative ions during styling. Plus Nano Titanium Oxide and Nano Silver Technology helps remove any harmful chemicals as well as kill bacteria. This means shinier and healthier hair is yours with FHI, and who doesn’t love pink?

Plus: Smooth and sleek or sexy curls, change your style as often as a celeb with this FHI Pink flat iron. And you thought flat irons were just for straight styles!

HAI Convertable 1-1/4″Ceramic Flat Iron

Alias: The Multi-tasker

The HAI Convertable’s sapphire ceramic plates are unmatched for equal heat distribution and the ergonomic design makes it is easier to press, hold, mold, twirl and curl your hair. Talk about multi-tasking! People seriously love this iron, and you will too.

Plus: The HAI is just right for smoothing your hair, and for creating loose waves, perfect for those of you who like to mix it up! And who doesn’t love sapphire?

As you can see, there are plenty of great irons that are perfect for your individual hair type and styling needs. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to use a heat protectant. All of these Ceramic, ionic styling tools get super hot and can cause dryness or damage if you aren’t careful. Using a thermal protectant on your hair before styling should always be your first priority. It will keep your hair healthy and shiny and it will enhance the styling potential of any iron you choose.

Starting Your Business: 3 Tips for Bootstrapping Your Way to the Top

Bootstrapping a business startup does not necessarily mean that you are unable to find traditional sources of capital. It may mean that you are clever, or that you know a bargain when you see it, or that you are the type of person who derives a certain satisfaction from crafting something using your own hands and vision, from scratch. If this is the way you feel, a franchise is probably not for you. A venture capitalist, if you could even find a member of that rare species when you are just starting out, is also likely to want some or too much control, and your vision might be thrown out of the window in that scenario as well.

It’s kind of the same thing when you make your first homemade cheesecake using a recipe from a gourmet magazine, and then you realize how horrible those store bought cheesecakes in a box (that you used to eat) would taste in a side-by-side comparison. Just think, if you embrace the “entrepreneur as gourmet chef” metaphor that I have suggested above, you can tell people that you are an “Entrepreneurship Connoisseur” at social gatherings and when you are seated next to other first class passengers on your next flight to someplace exciting. Not going anyplace exciting, you say? Funny you should exhibit such a lack of enthusiasm, because that leads us to tip number one:

1) You may have thought that we’d start out with some high-powered “secret” bargaining strategy for bartering or negotiating with suppliers or landlords. Well, in a way you are right. The all time top tip, numero uno, has to do with your attitude. Do you think you are “having a bad day,” routinely? Maybe it’s not the kind of day or days that you are having; maybe it’s your contagious nasty attitude that infects everyone around you and holds you back.

Here’s a technique that you can use to thwart “nasty attitude syndrome”–a vicious, virulent disease: Use a mirror. If you don’t like the way that you look, imagine how other people feel. Put the biggest, nastiest snarl on your face that you can muster. Stare hard into that mirror and say, “I want the best price–now.” Does the person in the mirror look like he or she would be inclined to melt before your eyes and say, “For you, my friend, I’d give you the world on a silver patter, because you are my favorite kind of person”?

Perhaps I should explain the almost magical curative powers of the mirror that you should now be holding in your hand (yes, use a pocket-sized model that you can carry along, wherever you go–on all of those exciting trips). If you will stand on your head while you are frowning, you can “turn that frown upside down.” Other people will smile at you, and perhaps even chuckle, or roar out loud, rolling in laughter. Now you’re getting the hang of it. A positive attitude and a smile on your face will help you start your business, get out of trouble with your spouse, or get you a date if you are single. Practice being excited, (just about) everywhere you go.

2) For anyone who has forgotten kindergarten, let me remind you that you used to be creative–maybe you still are–and creativity is the heart and soul of bootstrapping. If you have lost touch with your creative side, or it has been pounded out of you as a result of other people’s efforts to turn you into a compliant drone, one who fits perfectly in a cubicle, then it’s high time you start acting like a kid again.

Yes, we’re talking crayons, paint, glue, cardboard, scissors, wood, and trips to a junk yard. We’re talking Animal House (the movie), and good old-fashioned food fights. We’re talking about imaginary worlds depicted in amusement park rides. We’re talking about science fairs, contraptions in your garage, and blue-green gooey stuff oozing out of boiling pots. We may even be talking about an illustration of the product idea that you have, or a three-dimensional model of a store layout–like the one that you will implement in real life when you start your business.

If all of the above seems too silly, you are just flat-out in desperate need of the intervention described under tip number 1. You must get out of the rut that you are in. Working in a cubicle for the rest of your life is the notion that’s really silly. When you leave your present workplace to go home, take a different route. You may find that by getting lost while you are on your journey, you rediscover your creative inner child, inside.

Creativity is an act, something one does, not a trait. You have to give your creative side the time and tools to act. Get yourself unstuck through lots of stimulation. Take the time to actually study innovation, invention, the future, the past, and specific creative techniques. On that last point, here’s an example of one technique: think about opposites. What’s the opposite of a high priced anything? An economy priced version. What’s the opposite of a big package? A small one. It’s chunky versus creamy. Light versus full-bodied.

There are books, Web sites, training programs, articles, and devotees of the study of creativity. It’s time for you to “start your creative engine,” buckle-up, and blast off to other worlds that can be reached only in your imagination.

3) Research, research, research. Study, study, study. Read, read, read. Do your homework. Remember that old adage about “location, location, location”? Well, now you can forget that one, at least for the moment. Your location, your customer base, your supply channels, your price, all of these things will become clear if you become a researcher. We are not talking about the stereotypical, wimpy, “beat me up in the schoolyard and take my lunch money” type of researcher. We’re talking about a new breed of formidable, respectable, “super researcher”: A guerrilla fighter who takes names, observes weaknesses, and kicks booty.

Quickly, the next time you visit your neighborhood video store, count the tapes (DVD’s, games, etc.) on one shelf. Then multiply the number of videos on that one shelf by the number of shelves in a display case. Next, how many cases are on one wall? Assuming four walls, how many new releases does the store have in inventory? Count the middle section, too. How many customers are in line? Do they look happy? How many employees are working? How many are loafing? What have you observed about the business? Does it look like the store’s making money? (No, we are NOT “casing out the joint” for a robbery.) How long has it been in business? How busy is the store, morning, noon, or night?

Collect competitors’ advertisements. Collect advertisements that you simply like (on the basis that they apparently gain attention, sell benefits, and stimulate action). Collect crummy ads, so that you won’t repeat the mistakes made by others.

Bootstrappers pay close attention to what other people and businesses do, so that they might emulate good business ideas, or deviate from the norm with better ideas. It’s amazing how many businesses are founded on the basis of so little research or planning. If you intend to start a restaurant, and you are willing to spend $10,000 or more on a stove or a commercial refrigerator, wouldn’t it make sense to test your idea first? Prepare a meal as though you were already in business. Invite some guests to try your cooking. Ask them questions. How much would someone pay? How often would they eat the type of food that you have prepared? Conduct a survey yourself, or work with marketing students or interns through a local college or university. Ask, ask, ask, lots of questions.

Buy every entrepreneurial startup guide book pertaining to the type of business (if it is a typical one) that you are planning to develop. Go to trade shows. Read trade periodicals. Talk to people. You are a “private eye,” and your client is your would-be business.

Create a “war room.” What’s a war room? It’s a place where you put a map on the wall, and use push-pins to depict an “enemy’s” location; also affix notes to catalog strengths and weaknesses that you have noticed as a visitor. It’s a place where you house all of the competitive intelligence that we’ve been discussing. It’s a place where you plot the rise of your business, from small, well conceived beginnings.

4) I know, the article title said “3 Tips.” This is a bonus tip. It’s a FREE BONUS tip, for those persons who are still with me in this discussion. If you can’t handle the first three tips, don’t try bootstrapping. You won’t make it. You need an inheritance, or you should resign yourself to staying in that cubicle. Try adding some color–a candy jar, or fresh flowers–so that you’ll be happier in your confinement. Hey, that would be a small step toward changing your life, after all!

Here’s the actual tip: Start small, and think differently (you may have supposed that I was going to say “think big,” instead–that wouldn’t be a bad idea, either). Give yourself time. Not days, weeks, or months, necessarily–we’re talking years, if that is what you require to develop a contagious, positive attitude; create a winning idea; and become fully prepared for your exciting journey, bootstrapping your way to the top.

Dust Without Scratching Delicate Surfaces

Dusting is necessary in order to keep your home clean and to reduce the amount of allergens within the home that can cause serious problems for allergy sufferers, like myself. According to the American Lung Association, dust mites are microscopic creatures that feed off the particles found in dust and these can trigger some serious allergy symptoms. However, when you dust, you need to take care not to scratch up the delicate surfaces within your home.

Some of the most delicate surfaces that need special care include electronics, glass, veneering, wooden shelves, floors and baseboards. Using the wrong tools to clean with or spreading dust around with a cloth can easily scratch up these surfaces making them appear old and worn out. To avoid this problem and to keep all of your delicate surfaces looking like new, there are 5 steps you can follow.

Step One:

Use the right tool for the job. When cleaning glass, use an ostrich feather duster and this will pick up the dust particles gently without spreading them around. When you need to actually clean the dust off the glass, use a soft cloth and glass cleaner.

Step Two:

When dusting the electronics in your home, use a dry microfiber cloth. These will clean without creating static and or grinding the dust into the unit. If you use a spray of any kind, spray the cloth and then wipe. Never use hash chemicals like ammonia on these items or it can cause lots of damage.

Step Three:

Wipe wood surfaces such as shelves, window trim, baseboards and furniture with a clean soft cloth. The cloth can be damp but it should never be wet and dripping.

Step Four:

Warm water and cider vinegar can be used on wood floors. This cleans very well without scratching. However, it’s vital that you choose a good mop that doesn’t have sharp edges that can dig into the floor causing damage.

Step Five: Treat all surfaces gently and with care to avoid causing unnecessary damage that can ruin the look of your décor.

When you choose the right products and dust regularly, you can protect your investments and keep all of the surfaces in your home looking like new for many years. You put a lot of time and effort into choosing your furniture, electronics and the other décor in your home. It only makes sense that you take steps to protect it, even when dusting.

The Differences Between SodaStream Models

Many people want to get a SodaStream but have no idea which model is best for them. It can be difficult to choose, especially when the SodaStream company has no information highlighting the differences between the models. Here is a brief overview explaining which features are unique to the models.

There are currently eight SodaStream models available. They are The Revolution, The Source, The Fizz, The Crystal, The Pure, The Fountain Jet, The Dynamo and The Genesis. First, let’s address the similarities of all eight types. All of the eight models can make soda or sparkling water in the convenience of your home. All come with “stay fizzy” bottle closures that keep the carbonation in longer. All are compatible with the standard 14.5 ounce carbonation cylinder which is capable of carbonating up to sixty liters of soda or sparkling water.

There are four models which are capable of using either the 14.5 ounce carbonation cylinder or the larger 33 ounce cylinder, which is capable of carbonating up to 130 liters of soda or sparkling water. Those four models are The Revolution, The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet and The Fizz.

All eight models use the CO2 tank as a power source to carbonate. The Crystal, The Pure, The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet and The Genesis require no additional power source to operate. The Fizz and The Source do require a battery to operate the display components. That battery is included. The Revolution is the only model which requires electricity to work. Keep this in mind, as it will need to be near an outlet when used.

The Crystal comes with a dishwasher safe glass carafe. The other seven models come with BPA-free plastic bottles that are not dishwasher safe. You can buy dishwasher safe bottles separately that are compatible with those seven models, but you can not use the glass carafe with any model other than the Crystal.

The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet, The Pure, The Fizz and The Genesis all require the user to twist the bottle into place. The Crystal, The Revolution and The Source all lock the bottle into place without twisting, making them a little easier to use.

There is only one fully automated SodaStream available at this time. That is The Revolution. You simply press a button to tell it how carbonated you would like your drink and it does the rest for you. It also measures the CO2 levels to let you know how much is left in your carbonation cylinder. The Fizz is not automated but it does monitor and display the amount of carbonation in your drink as well as the level of CO2 in your cylinder. The Source has three LED lights to let you know how much carbonation is in your drink, but does not monitor the CO2 left in your cylinder.

I hope I have shed some light on what makes each SodaStream model unique. Click HERE for more information on SodaStreams and to see how the different models look. Remember, this will probably sit on your counter at all times, so you’ll want something that looks good in your kitchen.

Beginners Tips for Buying and Selling Books On Amazon

If I said that you can switch on your PC now and almost immediately grab a share of a five billion dollar business with over 35 million active customers – that’s also one of the world’s best- known brands, would you believe me? Probably not. But I have to tell you – with a bit of work and effort – you can.

Amazon’s bookselling site is one of the world’s most successful e-commerce businesses, accounting for over 5% of all online sales. And the staggering truth is that Amazon will gladly let you share in their success story. Are they crazy? No. It’s a testament to founder Jeff Bezos’s mission to be ‘the most customer-focussed business ever’. Are there any catches? Not really. Of course, nothing is ever that easy but if you know how and are determined it is an opportunity worth your serious consideration.

In this article you will discover how Amazon will help you set up your own Internet business. A business that will sell for you worldwide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with virtually no overheads and none of the risks or hassles normally associated with e-commerce.

Why on earth should I sell books?

Well, you don’t have to sell books. You can sell all sorts of other goods on Amazon today – including electronics and photographic equipment, music, DVD’s, videos, software, PC and video games, home and garden items and toys and games.

But books satisfy almost every requirement of the ideal mail order product. They’re compact, light and easy to ship, easy to describe, enjoy a high profit margin and a high selling price relative to their size – they have a worldwide market and are something that almost everyone buys at some time. Books are still Amazon’s core business, their biggest seller and, to cap it all, there is no better known global market for books than Amazon.

But doesn’t eBay do it better? I’m sometimes asked why anyone would prefer to sell books (or anything else) on Amazon rather than on that monster of e-commerce eBay. The answer is simple: Amazon has certain unique advantages over eBay, and for certain products it knocks its bigger brother into a cocked hat. First of all, selling on Amazon isn’t (usually) an auction. You get the selling price you want, and you don’t have to wait seven days to get it. It’s simpler and faster to list products for sale on Amazon and you don’t have keep relisting, so you can sell much more (some sellers have over a thousand product lines). Most times, it’s much cheaper to sell goods so you can sell for less yet make more. Lastly, unlike eBay Amazon’s administrative and payment systems are a breeze – when you sell a book all you need to do is post it to the buyer.

OK, there are a few snags: Amazon’s procedures and rules are a bit daunting at first. But stick with it. It all slots into place once you’re up and running. There can also be a fair bit of competition in some subject areas (more about how to outdo your competitors later).

How Amazon lets you share their success

There are actually quite a few ways you can join in Amazon’s success story. Amazon Auctions is much the same as eBay. Amazon Advantage is for authors and publishers. Amazon Alliances are special working relationships with large companies. But if you’re a private-seller-cum-small-trader or a small-mediumish sized business I think you’ll find Amazon’s Marketplace and zShops are the best ways to get involved.

Marketplace: Marketplace offers you an opportunity to sell books on the exact same page on Amazon’s website where Amazon sell the book themselves. So you get to compete with them head-on, and even get to undercut them on price (in fact you’re expected to!). Marketplace is for any new or used books, but not really rare or collectable ones. Selling prices are fixed – Marketplace isn’t an auction. You can list an unlimited number of items for free. A closing fee of 86p (on Amazon.co.uk) per item plus 17.25% of your sale price is charged on each sale but you don’t pay anything if your books don’t sell.

Marketplace is suitable whether you just want to make some spare cash, but also if you want to start a ‘proper’ small business.

zShops: zShops is an area of the Amazon website that enables you to sell books that are not currently being sold by Amazon. You can sell new and used books but it’s especially suitable for selling anything unusual, different, rare, collectable or valuable that might appeal to Amazon’s millions of customers. Again, zShops are not an auction and prices are fixed.

zShops is most suitable for higher-volume sellers. To sell most items at zShops you must have what is called a ‘Pro-merchant Subscription’ – more about that later. Because of it’s different charging structure zShops works out much cheaper than Marketplace for volume sellers – there’s a £28.75 monthly sub. to become a Pro-merchant but closing fees start at only 2.875% per item. (Check with Amazon for exact details as these fees are a bit complicated!)

You can operate both Marketplace and zShops, but experts I’ve talked to suggest it is better to start with Marketplace and think about getting involved in zShops later. (Although when you list items on Marketplace Amazon’s software will automatically list anything that isn’t already sold by Amazon on zShops.)

So now you’re a bookseller – what types of books sell best? You don’t really need to be interested in books to sell them successfully. Although you can sell almost any books on Amazon experienced sellers have found that certain books sell much better than others. They tell us that they have a lot of success selling books that don’t sell well on eBay. eBay is good for collectibles and very specialist or unusual books. Amazon is good for new and newish popular and other mainstream books. Many experienced sellers use both Amazon and eBay on the basis that what sells badly on one will sell well on the other!

Amazon is great for selling cheaper books – in the £7 to £20 price range. (As any eBayer will tell you, it’s tricky to make money selling cheap books there.)

Another good thing about Amazon is that the strong sellers there are books that are strong sellers everywhere else, so you don’t need to do lots of research to find good ideas. Look at Amazon’s ‘100 Hot Books’ section to find current bestsellers. You can also search for ‘Hot Books’ by subject. One slight disadvantage of using this method is that every seller wants to sell these books. You might be able to find some little-known ‘hot subjects’ by asking in bookshops and libraries as to what books are becoming popular, and then trying to second-guess the demand on Amazon.

I asked some Amazonians what sells best for them. Here’s what they said: ‘Classic fiction’, ‘famous authors’, ‘children’s books’, ‘heavily illustrated/coffee table books that are too expensive brand new’, ‘books that make good gifts’, ‘ text, academic and reference books’ and ‘books connected to TV/film’. Several also told us that hardback editions seem to sell particularly well, although most books produced today are paperback.

Good Tip: Test the market to find your own personal successes. You can afford to do this on Marketplace because no sale = no pay.

What you can’t sell? You can’t sell anything that is a copy, a free promotional version, a foreign product not licensed for sale in the UK or anything that is unsafe (unlikely to apply to books).

Finding books to resell at a profit: Once you’ve decided what sort of books to sell you’ll need to find sources of them. There are many different sources, and it’s a good idea to try them all to maximise the quantity and range of your stock.

Good Tip: Try to use sources that both are regular and repeatable, so that once you find a book that sells well you can go back and restock. You can make money selling one-time-only books but it’s far better to find a book that will sell and keep selling. Here are some sources to try:

Trade Sources. You can buy all the new books you need in the book trade either from the publishers themselves, their distributors or their wholesalers. If you want just a small number of books it’s best to go to a wholesaler as you can mix books from different publishers. A wholesaler will give you a trade discount if you tell them that you are ‘in the trade’ (which you are) – expect 30% up to 50% or more if you place a large order.

Auctions. Keep an eye out for any auctions where books make up all or part of the stock. Auction stocks can include bankrupt stocks, salvage books (not all necessarily damaged), remainder books, shop-soiled and ex-library stocks. (Check what type of books are being sold before attending an auction.) Auctions are a good source if you want to sell valuable and collectable books,

Book fairs, jumble sales, charity shops etc. These are good if you are starting in a small way, and a good source of very cheap books. (But be careful, some of the big name charity shops tend to overprice used books.) Only buy books in good condition, unless they’re unusual in some way.

Private individuals. Look in the small ads. for ‘Books for Sale’ or place a ‘Books Wanted’ ad. The main advantage of this source is that because there isn’t much of a local market for used books you can pick up books for pennies.

Remainder books. Remainder books are new books which publishers have published and which have failed to sell. So, they’re withdrawn and sold off very cheaply – often at 90% or more discount. The advantage of remainder books is that you can get job lots of hundreds or thousands. The easiest way to buy remainder books is from a specialist remainder supplier.

The disadvantage with remainder books is that if they didn’t sell well in the shops they might not sell well on Amazon either, so it’s a good idea to test them before buying a large stock. (But: Remainder books which were overpriced when new often sell very well at lower prices on Amazon.)

Lastly, don’t forget that you can also buy books for your stock on Amazon, as well as sell them there, and turn them round quickly for a profit. A word of warning though: This isn’t really for mainstream books that lots of Marketplace sellers have. It can, however, work well for rare, valuable and collectable books where another seller has priced them too cheaply and which you’re pretty sure someone else will pay a lot more for.

5 Top Tips for Creating Healthy New Habits

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of January? Cold, naff weather, overspending in the sales, minimal daylight? Maybe none of these, but for me it's mass failure! I'll tell you the reason why … the good old new years resolution, of which a massive percentage fails to see the ground sludge of February!

This is the main time when we proudly lay down whooping lists of all the massive changes we're gonna make because this is the year for us. Whether it be plans to start eating less, exercising more, walking the kids to school, to drinking less rose during sex and the city, these plans are rarely modest in their aspirations.

So what this post aims to help you with is how to make it easier to actually follow through on any beneficial new habits you would like to introduce into your life.

So here are 6 top tips to ensure (or at least drastically increase) your chances of success.

1. Make sure it's something you actually want to do

Let's face it, if you love to eat mars bars and the only reason you're trying to give them up is because of a nagging partner, this reason probably will not last the February sludge test of time. Who knows you may even end up binning it before that years edition of the TV times.

So choose something that deep down you want to achieve because you know it will make you feel good and will improve your life. If the thought of this new habit excites you then it's quite likely you'll stick at it. If the mind thought of it annoys you (eg: doing your husbands ironing every sunday) then chances are it will not.

2. Start off small

The biggest plans for change can often result in the biggest failures. This may often be attributed to the fact that as with anything from a new pair of shoes to a new car, your enthusiasm levels quickly drop off over time.

What I am suggesting is trying a slightly reduced version of the new habit first. What this will do is give you confidence that you are pretty awesome at taking on new habits and with this confidence you will be more likely to stick at your actual habit.

Let's say you want to start running 5k every Sunday, why not start running 2k every Sunday for a month, then 3k the following month and so on. Think of it like jumping off gradually higher bungees. The chances of filling your pants are drastically reduced this way.

3. Write it down

Due to our often hectic lifestyles we often forget to do certain things, and anything that is out of our routine may be easiest to brush away.

Writing it down has two benefits; The first being that it makes it more concrete, as opposed to being a few energy currents inside your head. The second referees to what Napoleon Hill referred to in his seminal work The Laws of Success as auto-suggestion. This is where something is constantly kept within your thoughts until over time it basically sticks there and becomes a part of your thinking. He would have described it much more eloquently but I'm sure you get the gist. So write it in big letters on your kitchen notepadboard so you see it through every day as you're going about your business.

4. Make it public

We all know that it's human nature to want to avoid looking stupid in front of others! Probably the main reason why most people would politely decline if asked to go on big brother, or why people stopped wearing bumbags after 1990, so yes the idea of ​​public humiliation is quite a strong deterrent from straying for most people.

This can be used in a powerful way for our habit-forming purposes in as much as once you have set out your best laid plans you can then go and tell some people exactly what you are going to do (or not do)

Now once you have made this pledge, you will feel compelled to stick to it no matter how strong the urge becomes to get open another bottle of rose or unwrap that dairy milk bar as the consequences will be public humiliation by your friends or whoever you decided To tell.

So basically if its something you really want to achieve, go out on a limit and tell a load of people what you're trying to do.

5. Apply the 21 day method

Now while being far from holding up to scientific research, the 21 day method is a good number to throw up to get you started. The idea behind it is that each time you perform a new activity new neural pathways are created in your brain.

The more you perform the activity the stronger those pathways become, which is why when trying to eliminate negative habits it is often useful to try and replace them with a more constructive one. For example going for a walk every time you crave junk food.

Each time you perform the new habit in place of the old one the new one strengnthens and the old one weaknesses. Think of it like treading grass in a field, over time your path becomes very clear, but if you stop walking it it will eventually grow over.

Obviously there are some seriously negative habits that probably are outside of the remit of this post but for every-day stuff this method is very effective.

So there you have it, 6 top tips for starting and sticking to any new habits. If you get good with this system just think how envious all of your contemporaries will be when you're making changes easily all year around, not just whilst drunk at the office Christmas party.

Pros and Cons of the Baby Trend Double Jogging Stroller

After much research, the critics’ choice for a double stroller has to be, hands down, the Baby Trend Double Jogging Stroller. They make 2 models, the Navigator and the Expedition.

The difference in the two is the Navigator has 2 of everything. Two front swivel tires, two separate canopies, can adapt to fit two infant car seats, and has 2 child trays. The Expedition has one front swivel tire, one canopy that extends across both seats, and no child tray. Both however are very well made, sturdy, strollers.

The Navigator I think has a few more pro’s though than the Expedition. If you are pushing 2 children close in age, the one front swivel tire of the Expedition seems to be adequate. If however you have 2 children whose ages are say 3 years old, and 15 months old, the 2 tire Navigator model seems better equip. The reason for this is that naturally your 3 year old weighs more than your 15 month old. With one tire, the stroller tends to lean more toward the heavier child when turning. Having two tires distributes the weight and turns more smoothly.

Pros and Cons

  • Having separate canopies in the Navigator also has its advantages. For instance, the sun doesn’t necessarily hit in the same place just because your children are side by side. Maybe one child may have the seat reclined more than the other and have problems with the sun being in his face. You can adjust each canopy to the comfort of each child.
  • Also another big factor with the Navigator is there are 2 child trays. This is a really nice feature.
  • Both models come equip with a MP3 player speakers that have mixed reviews. The sound is not that loud and powerful. Some people don’t really care and don’t use it even though it is there, and others have said what a great feature it is. It is entertaining to their children, especially when they are jogging. At least it is there is you choose to use it. It certainly does not seem to be the deal maker.
  • Both strollers have a large foot rest that has plenty of room for both children. It also makes a good place for your third child to take a little rest on.
  • As for opening and closing, both strollers are very easy to do in that department.
  • They have plenty of storage under the stroller and in back of each seat. The adult cup holders are deep and there is a compartment which can open and close to hold keys or baby wipes.
  • On the downside, these double strollers tend to be heavy and don’t expect to fit through standard doorways with the stroller open. If you are aware of this before you buy, you can learn to make allowances for these few cons. It certainly is not a deal breaker. What can you expect? A double stroller will be double the weight but worth it in the ease of operation and comfort of your children.

Perhaps these strollers were made with the intent of being used outdoors jogging, but we all know how good they are when were on vacation, or just going somewhere where it would be hard to deal with your children running amuck. Baby Trend Double Jogging stroller allow you the advantage of traveling with 2 children with less stress which we all know makes for a better time for all involved.

What You Need to Know About CNC Metal Lathe?

Metal lathe is one of the processes taking place in the actual metal process. When metal is cut and treated, metal lathe is one of these cutting processes. CNC Metal lathe device is a general term for a machine used to eliminate material for a work piece, though the use of a cutting tool. They are specifically designed for metals.

There are a lot of lathe variations in terms of processing the metals. In the metalworking field, several lathe techniques are being used to ascertaining the quality and cut of the metal that is under processed. At the same time, there is a lot of CNC Lathe used for metal lathes. Let us discuss one by one the most commonly used Metal Lathe machines that are being used in treating any types of metals.

First on the list is the centering lathe machine. It is a double head machine which focuses the work at the center of the work piece. He heads are fixed and moved forward creating a drill hole in the middle of the work piece in both ends of it. The result form of the work piece can now be utilized in the center with the aid of another operation. Center lathe can also be referred to as an engine lathe and more metals are subject to this type of lathe. This type of machine is the most widely used machine for metal lathe and it is preferred by most of the general hobbyist or machinist.

Another type of machine for lathe purposes is the capstan lathe machine. The machine is categorized to be a manufacturing machine. It is a specialized machine which incorporates the functions of a typical lathe machine plus the revolutionary tailstock in a capstan style. It is commonly used for woodworking and other wood industries alike.

Another type of machine used for lathe is the turret lathe. It is also considered a manufacturing machine, and is very similar with the capstan machine appearance. Unlike the capstan machine which is stationary, turret machines are more versatile and mobile since it contains the turret slides that glide straight to the bed, instead of being fixed in one place.

There is another type of lathe machine called the combination CNC lathe wherein it introduces milling and drilling operations into the plain work piece of the lathe. These types of machines typically have an x ​​and ay axis using the carriage for x and a top slide for y.

Old and Typical lathe machines are being replaced rapidly by CNC lathes machines. CNC lathe uses state of the art tooling for better precision and accuracy. These CNSC machines are highly specialized, but they are set for a simpler way of setting lathes and operation. The processes are modern and advanced. Most machinists and hobbyist prefer the CNC lathe machines since they are more versatile, efficient, and simple compared with typical lathe machines. At the same time, they are sure that the operation is not taken into sacrifice while making the work simpler than it gets.