Exit Plan is Critical to a Company's Survival

The owner / chef of a lucrative and well established restaurant was diagnosed with a terminal illness and suddenly was unable to work. The business was highly dependent on the owner. While his bereaved wife struggled to run the business and hire a replacement chef, food quality, service, profitability and the reputation of the restaurant plummeted and never recovered. When the lease came up for renewal a year later, she shut the business down and walked away with nothing.

At the age of 66, the owner of a profitable construction company seeking to retire sold the business to his son, who was also an employee. His son had minimal savings so was only able to make a small down payment, and the price was deducted significantly. He also lacked the exceptional people and leadership skills of his father. The son began clashing with a key, more senior executive, who is slightly left the company to start a competitor, taking several other employees with him. At the age of 70, the father began working full time again, seeking to salvage the business, as he was dependent on the sale for a comfortable retirement.

The two entrepreneurs above had something in common with more than 85% of small business owners – they never developed an exit plan.

Without an exit plan, a business could quickly be severely damaged by a sudden crisis, such an illness, death, divorce, partnership dispute or rapid change in market or competitive environment. Or a business may deteriorate gradually as the owner burns out and neglects the business, or transfers it to a weak leader. Either way, the result is the same – greatly diminished business value. With tens of millions of baby boomers approaching retirement age, and controlling trillions of dollars of private company wealth, the issue is becoming acute.

By contrast, private equity groups and venture capital firms, sometimes the world's most sophisticated owners and financiers of businesses, rarely fund or purchase a business without first having a formal exit plan in place.

So what is an exit plan? It's actually a series of continuously evolving and interrelated plans that will help you address at least the following critical questions:

  • What are your preferred options and timing for exiting the business? For example, sale to outsider, sale or gift to family or employees, merge with competitor, buyout by a partner, etc.
  • What family members are involved in the business and what are their objectives?
  • What are your financial objectives and retirement plans?
  • What is the value of your business now?
  • What key actions are necessary to increase business value and position it for sale at the optimum after tax amount needed to achieve your financial objectives?
  • What actions are necessary to manage estate, trust and tax issues you will face through retirement and beyond?
  • What actions, programs and agreements are necessary to ensure continuity of the business in the event of departure, death, or incapacitation of any of the owners or key executives? Examples include training programs, system development, buy / sell agreements, key man insurance, and non-compete agreements.
  • Who will replace you or other owners upon departure? Are any current executives and / or family members capable of doing so, and if so, what additional skills, training, licensing, etc. Are needed? If not, what is the strategy for recruiting and developing a replacement?
  • What changes in the business and your role are needed now to preserve your quality of life and your passion for the business?

Developing a comprehensive exit plan is a demanding task that generally takes 3-6 months to complete and as long as 2 to 4 years to implement, depending on the complexity of the business. It will address a wide variety of intricate strategic, operational, financial, tax, human resource and legal issues. While a primary focus is meeting the owner's objectives, it should ideally reflect the wishes and concerns of all important stakeholders, including a spouse, children, business partners, other shareholders and employees, and in some cases customers, suppliers and the community. Input should be collected from key advisors, including your CPA, wealth planner, estate planner, business consultant, insurance broker, appraisers and mergers and acquisitions advisor.

An exit plan is decidedly not a fancy written report that sets on a shelf gathering dust. To have any meaning, it must be regularly updated to reflect changes in your life, family, health, goals, finances, and the business. It must be action oriented and offer prescriptions that are implemented, not ivory tower theories. An ideal plan will take a long term view and continuously assess actual progress of implementation against the plan timetable and take any necessary corrective action needed to keep on track with the plan.

If an exit plan sounds like a lot of work, it is. But having one can be the difference between your business shuttering when you depart and leaving a legacy that endures for generations.

For more articles on exit planning, see

Http://vrhi.com/exit_planning_and_selling/education_and_advice/exit_planning.aspx

Signs That Indicate Your Website Need a Redesign

Your business website is a gateway to the world. It showcases your offerings to the global customers. The trustworthy communication partner is one of the most affordable salesmen that you can hire. Over a period of time, the website’s layout becomes old and lousy, the content gets repetitive and uninteresting for the web surfers and prospective customers, and the designs get dated in comparison to the competitors.

Sometimes the tweaks and changes are minor, while other times a complete overhaul might be required. Below are some signs that show that your website requires a redesign.

No mobile/Smartphone optimization

M-commerce is the next big thing. The customers are already switching to the mobiles and smartphone for product screening, and purchase purposes. You are overlooking the multi-billion mobile market segment, if your website works on desktops only, and does not have a mobile interface.

Poor navigation in the form of greater clicks

Each subsequent major technological update may lower the number of navigational clicks. If the navigation is poor, the customers would easily get annoyed and would switch to the competitor website. They would also ask you more questions, which show that lots of time are getting wasted in navigation and information search.

Higher bounce rates

The best of websites have a bounce rate of 26% or less. Bounce rate indicates how many customers abandon your website, once reaching it. There are a number of factors that affect the bounce rate including internet speed, the website loading speed, navigation, presentation and others, which either enhance customer retention or impede it. While there are some issues and circumstances that are beyond your control, you can always manage and improve the aspects that require your attention and efforts.

Abysmally low conversion rate

While the customer rates can be adversely affected even seasonally, your website requires attention and efforts towards improvement when it does not converts a single customer from 100 surfers. Content, infographics, videos, tutorials, reviews, flash player and interviews will help you have a larger lead-to-conversion prospect.

No Inbox

If you are using the website for promotional or sales purposes, the inbox delivers to your feedback, questions, queries and much more. It helps you to directly interact with the customers and new prospects in a very personal and interactive way. While you may have embarked upon the PPC (pay-per-click), newsletter subscription and email campaigns, the real customer interest is only generated when he or she has engaged actively, and his or her questions are duly answered in a commendable way.

No social connection

The importance of the social media websites towards customer generation, retention and conversion are immense. Ensure that the information and feedback are easily shareable so that your brand gets a nationwide and worldwide popularity easily.

Call-to-action

The single lined call-to-action is immensely motivating for the customers. The well devised and placed CTA threads and buttons alone improves conversion rates by up to 20%. You can reinvent it, or place it to ensure better customer retention rates.

These minor changes will bring new life to your website and make it functional, appealing, and profitable once again. Website improvement is a long-term and constant effort, and you need to review it from time to time, in order to have better conversion rates and awesome customer interaction.

Reflective Glass: Energy-Saving Glass

Industries and factories often look out for various ways to save energy. Reflective Glass is used in the purpose, in context that the glass itself reflects heat so as to maintain heat or cold as required. The glass does not actually reflect light as the typical glass would, instead it reflects heat rather than absorb radiation. This type of glass is considered to be environmentally friendly. It is easier and cheaper to heat or cool buildings and similar structures with this glass. The construction done using this glass is mainly aimed at control and reduce the loss / gain of heat.

Various applications of Reflective Glass:

During winter, the building needs to maintain temperature within. Reflective glass invites the heat to escape outside. Similarly, it builds back heat in summer due to its shiny surface, so maintaining the cold required inside the construction at all times. Not only does it save money and proves economic, but it also helps in reduction of use of climate control system, which in turn is beneficial to the environment.

There are various types of finishes on the Reflective Glass which vary from shiny to metallic. The tinted texture used is generally applicable to be applied on tall buildings to give an aesthetic appeal to it. The metallic finish given to it is used so that people can see through the glass from the inside. One important aspect of the glass is it controls glare. Glare is very harmful to the eye, especially to people who work long hours in front of the computer. Reflective glass helps in maintaining a good office atmosphere by reducing the heat from the outside, making the office a more productive place. One of the many advantages of this glass is that there is no electricity or any other power supply required to make it work. So along with cheap, it is also a good choice for the eco system.

Another use of Reflective Glass is to control the temperature where the requirement is there. Scientific research labs which need to be climate controlled use these glasses for controlling the heat. These glasses help maintain the temperature to a reasonably high extent. One main advantage is that these glasses require no power to run, so they keep working even in no power conditions as well.

Facades also use Reflective Glass to bring out the best in their buildings. Constructions that use these glasses give a very aesthetic appeal to the whole building. Further on, by using these glasses, one can definitely guarantee low operating costs due to its economic use. In the long run, these glasses benefits in many ways. These glasses are also used in cars and other vehicles, which are termed as Auto Reflective Glass.

How to Manage Parrot Feather – Some Options

You might think parrot feather to be cute? Oh! Yes, it is! We agree! But, look closely; you might sense a danger sign, on carefully spotting this non-native invasive freshwater plant. To prevent this unwanted invader from coming into the province, we will tell you some manageable biological and safe chemical options. Apply these methods and keep parrot feather at bay.

How to Identify Parrot Feather?

The easy-breezy way to spot the parrot feather in your pond is –

• Lookout for the spikes of feather leaves

• They grow in whorls of 4 to 6

• The submerged leaves and steps will be red in color

• Notice small white flowers near leaves just above the water

Control Options

As a conscientious pond owner, you can resort to several available control options, but that largely depends on the size of the pond, the sunlight entering the pond, the presence of nutrients, water flow etc. The most common and used control methods of parrot feather are mentioned below.

1. Physical or Mechanical

To control the expanse of parrot feather, you may use seining or raking options but if any fragment or a little root is left, you will see the notorious specie coming back in no time. To rake your pond, you may use several weed removal devices using which you can chop or cut them.

Apart from that, you may also resort to establishing physical barriers such as shading the bottom. This method works well if you maintain a dock or a swimming area. Make sure you prevent the buildup of debris and sediment at the lake bottom.

2. Chemical

When you see a large portion of your water body covered with this invasive species, it is advisable to use the following chemical compounds. They are fast and extremely effective in treating and controlling parrot feather.

• Aquacide Pellets are a systemic herbicide, it is capable of absorption and gradually it moves to the action site.

• Cutrine and Harvester: For a faster effect, mix diquat with a copper compound and it produces result as a contact herbicide which is more effective than systemic herbicide.

• Hydrothol granules: Endothall compound comes in both liquid and granular form. For additional impact, you can mix it with a copper compound.

If the penetration is less and you spot this notorious weed at an early stage, you may resort to the following chemical control options. This would inhibit their further propagation and you can keep your pond clean before it turns out to be a mess.

• Fluridone: This broad-spectrum systemic herbicide comes in both liquid and granular forms. It is effective in clearing off the parrot feather and inhibiting its growth.

It is highly recommended that you treat the pond in sections and wait for two weeks before moving on to treating the other section.

Charles Schulz Autographed Sketch of Snoopy for Collectors

She exudes the happiness of a woman whose collections and friendships give her plenty of reasons to smile. When you first meet and exchange Facebook and E-mail information with Linda, you immediately recognize that she is not only vibrant and engaging, but a huge Peanuts and Snoopy fan. “Snoopy,” the name of the extroverted beagle cartoonist Charles Schulz created, is Linda’s e-mail user name.

Linda’s love of Snoopy doesn’t end with her e-mail user name. Get to know her and Linda will invite you to see her extensive Snoopy collection, a collection that she has been assembling for more than 40-years. It fills to overflowing an entire bedroom in her sprawling home. There are Snoopy’s on the walls, Snoopy and the gang on the floor, there are even Snoopy’s coming out of the ceiling – attached to a ceiling hung spiral display holder.

Visitors to Linda’s Snoopy room are drawn upward and downward and usually react with oh’s and ah’s and “Oh, my goodness.” Most aren’t in any hurry to leave, as there is always one more Snoopy to catch the eye. Linda’s laugh and smiles encourages you to appreciate her collection, just don’t trip over it!

Linda’s has traveled the Western United States searching for Snoopy’s to add to her collection. Perhaps what attracts collectors, like Linda, to Snoopy is his how he manages to communicate wisdom and all that is necessary to know with his facial expressions and thought balloons.

Besides her display cabinet packed room, Snoopy also holds court in an upstairs dormer alcove. Here Snoopy dominates as he “guards” his renowned doghouse surrounded by more Snoopy’s holding their supper dish with Woodstock perched alongside the dish. Snoopy towels, wash cloths and soap greet visitors who use the nearby guest bath and a custom-made, by Linda’s dad, stain glass brightens and catches the light coming through the dormer window.

Snoopy made his first cartoon appearance in October 1950, when Linda was still a young girl. She has been a fan for as long as she can remember, beginning with plush and other toys. Today, her Snoopy collection numbers in the thousands, ranging from jewelry to telephones to everything in-between, including not only thousands of vintage items from the 1950’s, but the newer limited edition plates and annually issued Christmas tree ornaments, which Linda hangs and displays year round on indoor “Snoopy” trees.

Peanuts comic strip followers know Snoopy as a one-man show, seeing him as a dog with advanced intelligence and vivid imagination. Snoopy has fashioned such multiple personalities as: Joe Cool, World War I Flying Ace, Literary Ace, Flashbeagle and Foreign Legionnaire. Snoopy memorabilia collectors seek collectables of them all.

Born and raised in Southern California, Linda worked, before her retirement, as an executive assistant at Southern California’s Rockwell International office. During the 1970’s, Charles Schulz visited the Rockwell plant where she was employed and Linda was fortunate to not only meet the cartoon artist, but among the lucky few who later received a generous “thank you” autographed drawing of Snoopy riding a Rockwell space craft.

This nicely framed and matted 15 x 20″ cartoon drawing is the most prized piece in Linda’s Snoopy collection. Being a huge fan, she feels fortunate to have met Snoopy and the Peanuts gang creator, Charles (Sparky) M. Schulz.

After selling his comics to Saturday Evening Post and other publications Charles Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with some of his best strips. Peanuts made its first appearance with United Features on October 2, 1950, becoming one of the most popular comic strips of all time.

The Peanuts cartoon ran for nearly 50 years without interruption, appearing in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. Sadly in November 1999, Charles Schulz suffered a stroke and then discovered that he had colon cancer. Complications from the chemotherapy made it so the cartoonist could no longer read or see clearly and he announced his retirement on December 14, 1999. By then, three generations of Americans had grown up with the Peanuts gang and “good Ol’ Charlie Brown.”

Schulz was quoted as saying on The Today Show, “I never dreamed that this would happen to me. I always had the feeling that I would stay with the strip until I was in my early eighties or something like that. But all of sudden it’s gone. I did not take it away. This has been taken away from me.”

Charles Schulz died in Santa Rosa, California of complications from colon cancer on February 12, 2000, at age 77. That same year, California’s Sonoma County Board of Supervisors rechristened the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport in his honor. The airport’s emblem features Snoopy in goggles and scarf, taking to the skies on top of his doghouse.

The Schulz family lived briefly in Colorado Springs, Colorado where Charles Schulz painted a wall in their home for his daughter Meredith, featuring Patty, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The wall was removed in 2001 and donated to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, the town where he lived and worked for more than 30 years.

Opened on August 17, 2002, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center celebrates his life’s work and art of cartooning and is located just two blocks from his former studio. A bronze statue of Charlie Brown and Snoopy stands in downtown Santa Rosa’s Depot Park.

In his will, Charles Schulz requested that the Peanuts characters remain as genuine as possible and that no new comic strips based on them be drawn. United Features has legal rights to the strip, but Schulz wishes have been honored. Reruns of the comic strip are still being syndicated and new television specials have also been produced since his death, but the stories are based on previous strips.

Block The Hacker – Implementing the XP Limited User Account the Easy Way!

A 3 part series of articles beginning with BLOCK THE HACKER explained why using a Limited User account in Windows XP is a potential way to increase the computer security. The 2nd part of this series explained how to transition by creating a new Limited User account and installing your programs under this new account.

This article will explain an alternate way that may be much easier for many computer users. A new account will be created that will become the Administrator account and the original account with administrator privileges will be changed to a Limited User account and this avoids having to reinstall software programs! All the mouse operations in this article are with the left mouse button.

Whenever making a significant change to the computer it is important to first create a Restore Point. To reach the Restore Point utility click on the start button in the bottom left of the computer screen, then "Run …", type in% systemroot% system32Restorestrui.exe and press enter on the keyboard. It can also be used using the start button, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and system restore. The restore point utility will appear and choose the "Create a restore point" followed by the next button. Type in any descriptive name and use the "Create" option after which Windows will notify you that it has been created. If you get into trouble return to these instructions but instead of "Create a restore point" use "Restore my computer to an earlier time" to use this restore point for recovering to the original configuration.

In creating user accounts It is necessary to have strong passwords and this means avoiding words found in a dictionary plus including numbers or symbols. One technique is creating a phrase and grabbing the first letter of each word plus any numbers in a phrase and combining them to create the password. The result is a password with no dictionary words and a way for you to remember the password. Let's now begin by creating the new administrator account and remember to record this information in safe location;

  1. From the existing User Account click on Start, Control Panel, User Accounts, type in a name for the new User Account, choose NEXT, select "Computer Administrator", and "Create Account."
  2. Go to the newly created User Account to "Create a password", type in the new password twice along with a password hint, and "Create Password."
  3. If you see a Guest Account go ahead and disable it via the "Change Account Type" option.
  4. Return to the original User Account and follow step 2 to make a password for it too.
  5. Select the original User Account again and this time select "Change account type", modify the type to "Limited" and click "Change Account Type."
  6. Choose the start button and reboot the computer to implement these changes.

All User Accounts for the computer need to have passwords. As an additional security measure disable Fast User Switching via the Control Panel, User Accounts, follow the "Change the way users log on or off", remove the check-mark next to "Use Fast User Switching", and "Apply Options." You have now built a natural barrier significantly increasing the computer security.

There may be times to enable administrator privileges temporarily for the Limited User account since some programs will not install properly using the "Runas …" operation as explained in previous articles. To do this log-off via the start button. Log-on to the newly created administrator account and use the same instructions as above to change the Limited User account to the "Computer Administrator" type. Log-off and log-on to install the necessary program and once installed reverse the process to change the User Account back to a Limited User type. Once you reboot it will again operate as a Limited User providing natural security protection.

Learn Basic Pole Dancing Moves: The Basic Invert and The Half Flag

The Basic Invert is probably the scariest move that you will learn while you go through pole dancing moves. The truth is that it can be really scary the first time that you try it. This is an intermediate level move and you will have to learn it eventually.

You have to understand that The Basic Invert move is not actually difficult. If you want to start learning it you are probably really comfortable when holding the weight of your body on the pole with the help of your legs and you already learned the Icon Pose. When doing the Basic Invert you would use basically the same gripping method so it is not that difficult when compared with the Icon Pose.

If you want to perform the Basic Invert you will start with placing the dominant hand high on the dancing pole. The other one would be placed just below it. The pole needs to be situated on your dominant side.

The next step is to step forward with the inside leg. Kick up the opposite leg and then hook the ankle around the dancing pole, just above your head. Bring up the other leg and cross the ankle that was positioned earlier. The hips need to be pushed up and then the legs have to be straightened as much as possible while extending the head backwards.

Remember that you need to only try the move when you are confident and nobody asks that you do it right the first time. Try to hang on the pole first and then focus on straightening your body as much as possible. As time passes you will become more confident. In the event that you cannot hang on you need to understand that you have to keep practicing other moves until you will be ready to do the Basic Invert.

The Half Flag

The Half Flag is a highly impressive pole dancing move that is done by advanced practitioners. We recommend that you only try it out when you have mastered other moves that are easier. The Half Flag will offer the ones watching a very interesting display of grace that is combined with strength and control.

We are sure that you saw advanced pole dancers that were holding a Half Flag Position in the past. We highly recommend that if you want to learn it you need to start at the pole’s bottom. As you feel confident you can start moving up in order to learn how to use the pose to wow your audience. It is also much easier to get into this pose at the bottom.

The first step in performing the Half Flag is staying next to the pall. Your inside arm needs to be around it and you grip it with the armpit while locking the arm to the pole. Then the other arm needs to point down the pole. The wrist would face up and the elbow will be bent and resting on the stomach.

Next you have to lean forward and then engage core muscles in order to lift the legs from the floor. The hips have to tilt away from it so that the body will become horizontal. As time passes and your confidence increases you can lift the legs higher while twisting the hips. This will make you flat to the pole and when you keep the feet together you will do a perfect pole dancing Half Flag pose.

Once again we need to mention the fact that this is an advanced move. You need high strength and good balance in order to perform it right. Never do it if you do not feel confident about your pole dancing skills.

3 Tips To Write Persuasive Advertising Copy

An Ad copywriter is a sales person disguised as a poet. Though many advertising copy or concepts are regarded as greatest examples of well directed art, the primary intention of any Ad copy is to sell, sell and sell. When Shoppers Stop opened their second outlet in Bangalore, the caption of the hoardings was ‘Fashion Repeats Itself’. With this particular caption, Shoppers Stop could change the trend and also communicate the very idea that they are opening a second store. Together with a punkish design, their advertising effort might have lured enough number of youth into the shop. Do you also want to write Ad copy that works like a magical sales tool and a stunning piece of art? Here are 3 copywriting tips that will help you write persuasive advertising copy:

1) Understand the brief: Whether you are to create copy for print Ads, online Ads or hoardings, understanding the client’s brief is the first step towards writing persuasive copy. For instance, we all know that the unique selling feature of Maggi Noodles is ‘2 minutes cooking’. Only a copywriter who understands the brief thoroughly can pick this particular feature and can come with a brilliant copy like this: ‘In The Last 20 Years We Have Just Asked For 2 Minutes Of Your Time’.

Rule of thumb: Once you understand the purpose of the ad, the product or services, the copy will come to you.

2 ) Work closely with your designer: Most brilliant copies would not have read great if the designers could not produce equally brilliant designs. Years back BMW had released a public interest Ad which was a warning against drinking and driving. The copy read: ‘Spare Parts for Humans Are Not Original As Those Of Cars’. The copy sounds quite ordinary, however, incorporated into a visual which shows two human legs of which one is artificial, the copy dramatically transformed.

A word to the wise: if you want to create an everlasting impact on your readers, create a rapport with your designer and have a series of brainstorming sessions with him/ her before contemplating a persuasive advertising copy.

3) Make use of popular concepts: This is the best way to launch and ad with great recall value. We all have learned and forgot our ‘Baba black sheep’. Unlike us, a sensitive copywriter will remember such rhymes or popular concepts of nostalgic value at the right time. Here is one such copy:

BABA BLACK SHEEP,

HAVE YOU ANY DOPE?

YES SIR, YES SIR LOTS AND LOTS TO GO

HEROIN FOR MY MASTER

COCAINE FOR MY DAME

AND HASHISH FOR THE LITTLE BOY,

BUT THEY’LL BE DEAD ALL THE SAME.

IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY TO TELL YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT DRUG ABUSE.’

This copy was featured in a public interest Ad released by Kripa Foundation.

Moral of the story: Dear copywriters, always remember each and everything you learned so far can help you write persuasive advertising copy. It is always good to keep these points in mind whenever you open a word file to scribble an advertising copy.

Brake Light Failure

Brake lights are an essential safety feature on all vehicles. They are the main form of communication for other vehicles behind a driver. When a motorist depresses the brake to slow down or come to a stop, the brake lamps immediately illuminate and signal to other drivers that the car is slowing or stopping. Brake lights are helpful during the day and are essential at night for visibility purposes. They are so important because it is much easier to notice an immediate visual cue that a car is slowing rather than having to visually determine whether a car is slowing down or not. Without brake lamps, trying to tell whether a car is maintaining speed or decelerating is extremely difficult.

Importance of Brake Lights

The idea of ​​brake lights made sense even to early car makers. Rear lamps have been around almost as long as the automobile itself and have been an integral part of every vehicle in America ever since. In fact, brake lamp requirements have increased over time. In 1986, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began to require every vehicle in the US to have a center high mount stop lamp. This is a rear lamp that is positioned in the middle of the car above the two primary brake lamps. It is often found at the bottom center of the back windshield and provides extra notification to arriving traffic that a car is slowing.

The Danger of Inoperative Brake Lamps

When the rear lights on a car do not illuminate appropriately, other cars are not made aware of a decelerating car ahead. Therefore other drivers may not notice that the car is slowing or stopping in time, resulting in a rear end collision. It is obviously illegal to drive with burned out brake lamps, but many drivers do so either the law or do not realize that they have burned out lamps. Drivers who fail to replace their brake lamps and cause an accident can be held liable for any injuries and damages.

Sometimes brake lamps will burn out while the car is in use and the driver has no way of knowing. The brake lights may have been improperly installed and stopped working, or the car may not have been properly inspected and old bulbs were not replaced. Perhaps the bulbs themselves were defective and suddenly stopped working long before they were expected to burn out. Any of these accidents can put the motorist and other drivers in danger, and in this case the driver may not be liable for malfunctioning brake lamps.

For More Information

If you have been involved in a rear end collision because of inoperative brake lights, someone may be liable for your bad lights and you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and damages. To learn more about brake light failure and accident liability, please visit the website of Racine personal injury attorneys Habush, Habush & Rottier, SC today.

Are Fibroids Preventing You From Having Children?

Fibroids are sometimes found during an infertility evaluation when tests such as pelvic ultrasound, hysterosonogram or hysterosalpingogram are ordered. Fibroids or leiomyomas are benign smooth muscle tumors of the uterus. They are classified according to their location in three types: (1) subserosal – when the fibroid grows under the outer layer or serosa of the uterus; (2) intramural – when the fibroid grows within the muscular wall of the uterus (myometrium), and (3) submucosal or intracavitary- when the fibroid grows just under the lining of the uterine cavity (mucosa) or it occupies the inside of the Uterine cavity. Submucosal or intracavitary fibroids can change the shape of the uterine cavity. Large intramural fibroids may alter the blood flow to the uterine lining and may also alter the shape of the uterine cavity. Subserosal fibroids usually do not alter the shape of the uterine cavity, but when large can cause discomfort.

Most fibroids are usually small, asymptomatic, and do not require treatment. These benign tumors only need close gynecological observation to document changes in size or the early onset of symptoms. Common symptoms associated to fibroids are back pain, abdominal pressure or discomfort, urinary frequency, rectal pressure or discomfort, and periods that can be painful, heavy and prolonged.

Fibroids are associated with infertility in 5 to 10% of cases. Neverheless, when all other causes of infertility are excluded fibroids may account for only 2 to 3% of infertility cases. Fibroids may cause reduced fertility or infertility by:

1. Creating an abnormal uterine cavity. An enlarged or elongated cavity could interfere with the sperm transport, and a cavity with an abnormal contour could prevent normal implantation.
2. Fibroids can result in a markedly detected uterus and cervix. The distortion could result in decreased access to the cervix by the ejaculated sperm preventing its effective transport to the uterus.
3. The uterine segments of the fallopian tubes could have been obstructed or distorted by fibroids.

When infertile women present with uterine fibroids every effort should be made to exclude any other possible causes of infertility. A standard infertility evaluation should take place and an assessment of the uterine cavity should be performed by hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or "fluid" ultrasound (hysterosonogram). Only then a decision should be made regarding the management of the fibroids.

Most uterine fibroids do not need to be removed except in select cases. The medical literature suggests that removal can be beneficial when the uterine cavity is distorted by the fibroids. In addition, some reports suggest that their removal may also be indicated when they are 5 centimeters or more in diameter and are located within the wall of the uterus (intramural). Otherwise, expectant management is recommended when the uterine cavity is normal, the fibroids are small, or when they are located on the surface of the uterus.

Fibroids are removed in a surgical procedure called a "myomectomy". Three types of myomectomy can be performed: abdominal myomectomy, laparoscopic myomectomy, and hysteroscopic myomectomy. The abdominal myomectomy requires an abdominal incision typically of the "bikini" type, and through the incision the fibroids are removed from the uterus. This abdominal approach is the best procedure when fibroids are large, numerous, and or located deep within the muscle of the uterus. Fibroids can also be removed by laparoscopy, and this type of myomectomy is best when fibroids are few in number, superficial in location and small in size. Hysteroscopic myomectomy is recommended when most of the fibroid is located within the cavity of the uterus. Through the uterine cervix an operative hysteroscope is inserted and the myomectomy is then performed. Endoscopic scissors, laser or electrocautery are employed to perform this type of myomectomy.

A myomectomy is a reliably safe procedure that results in few serious complications. Postoperative adhesion formation is a common complication and good surgical technique combined with adhesion-prevention barriers should be routinely used at myomectomy.

There are other options for the treatment of uterine fibroids, but these alternatives are not recommended for women who desire fertility. Some of these options are:

1. Uterine artery embolization (UAE) – results in the obstruction of blood flow to the fibroids, which then causes them to shrink. This procedure is quite successful in decreasing tumor size and decreasing symptoms. Pregnancies have been reported after UAE but the safety of this procedure in women who wants to get pregnant has not been established.

2. Medical therapies with agents such as GnRH agonists, progestational agents, and RU486 (mifepristone). These agents can reduce uterine size and symptoms, but once the treatment is discontinued the fibroids can grow back to their initial size. The use of these drugs is not effective in promoting fertility and is not recommended when women are trying pregnancy.

3. New techniques are being developed for the treatment of uterine fibroids. One of these new techniques is laparoscopic myolysis in which a needle is used to apply electric current directly to fibroids. The goal is to disrupt the blood flow of fibroids and cause them to shrink over time. A similar laparoscopic procedure uses super cooled cryoprobes to destroy the fibroids. Another technique uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to target a high intensity ultrasound waves to destroy the fibroids. Again, the safety of these procedures in women who want to get pregnant has not been established.

The Best Ways to Find Vintage Bathroom Fixtures

Many people desire to have their interior designs and decors in a blend of modern and contemporary concepts. We all know as well that people who are fascinated with vintage look are remarkably increasing in numbers. Building of homes conceptualized in a vintage appearance seems to be more attractive and stand out from others. There seems to be a more dominant aura of serenity and elegance in living and bedrooms built in a vintage style. Bathroom fixtures conceived in a vintage design projects a conservative yet palatial spirit that seems to be so elegantly attractive to the modern taste.

Looking for a vintage bathroom fixtures require quite a bit of patience and a money. One way of finding such vintage fixtures would be visiting a local salvage yard. They may also be available in old cities where homes of old prominent and well-off families are built and abandoned. Some items of these kinds maybe found in some thrift stores and flea markets although they are starting to become scanty these days because of this trend. Although some people that are not into this trend may just dispose of these items in a garage sale. Sometimes, you may get them from simple newspaper advertisements.

After the completing the items desired in a vintage fixture its time for restoring them. Restoration of these fixtures may require a little knowledge of how it looked like when completely assembled to avoid less of a trial and error reconstruction that may result in damage to some fixtures. Cleaning the vintage pieces before fitting them into your bathroom is one important step. In restoring the appearance of these vintage pieces, you need to purchase a high quality resurfacing kit in order to restore the damaged portion. You may choose to hire a professional or you can do it yourself. However, hiring a professional would be a great help in restoring the original appearance of the items, making them look like brand new and you can prevent from causing further damage to the damaged portion of the item.

One of the most loved and used portions of your home is your bathroom. Decorating them with some delicate vintage fixtures is not recommended. However, you may do so if you wish but you will be in a higher risk of damage. Because exposing these delicate fixtures to the most frequently used area of your home will entail a higher probability of damage and will cause restoration expenses damage after damage which you may not like.

In making effort to save money, most of us do the work of a plumber ourselves. However, since these vintage fixtures require specialized skills to make them fit, it is advisable to hire a professional plumber for the job. Only these persons know how to find ways in making those old fixtures and faucets fit without making any damage to the item.

Most of the vintage bathrooms fixtures have built-ins that are uniquely designed without making them look off. There are built-in sinks, cabinets, towel bars that do not require much space yet they look conservatively good. Hanging lamps, antique sconces, ceiling lights, frosted glass and metal fixtures may bring back a century old appearance of an elegant, palatial bathroom.

How to Build a Beautiful Body – 3 Exercises You Should Never Do

Okay, so you want to build a beautiful body. No matter how many times I am asked the question "hey, what do you bench?", My answer is always the same; "I do not know". This is because I do not go to the gym with the intent of finding out how much weight I can bench press.

Bench pressing is the ultimate ego exercise and continues to dominate the egotistical mind as the standard measure of progress. This would be fine if you were a power lifter, but most people who work out regularly do not fall into this category. You will find that the most common goal among gym rats is to lose body fat, gain lean muscle, and sculpt a beautiful physique. Well guess what? You are there a bodybuilder. Get that in your head first. Now you may not desire to have a physique to the same degree as say a professional bodybuilder, or even a natural competitive amateur bodybuilder, but you desire to create a beautiful body by losing body fat and building lean muscle. Yep, you are a bodybuilder. Once you make this mental shift, you will begin to realize that you can achieve your goals much easier because you are clear on what you are.

So back to the "What do you bench question?". As a bodybuilder you use resistance training to stimulate and tear down muscle. The question of how much weight can you lift becomes irrelevant if you do not satisfy this first rule. Using the right weight with the right technique is paramount to achieving the desired effect. Yes, you can go too heavy as a bodybuilder. What happens in this instance is that other muscle groups compensate to cooperatively lift the weight. This lessens the tension on the primary target muscle group, and as a result, less stress is transferred to that targeted muscle and hence less results ensue. In the case of the bench press for example; Using too heavy a weight incorporated more triceps, more rear deltoids, more shoulders, more forearms, even the back comes into play. All of this combined effort alleviates tension from the chest muscle which is where the stress should be focused. In bodybuilding, transferring stress to the right muscle group, while limiting the incorporation of supporting muscle groups, is critical for the overall development of the targeted muscle.

Bodybuilding is about visualization. It is about making your physique appear balanced, and proportioned, and appearing aesthetic from every angle. However it is also about optical illusion. Let me give you some examples.

– A dark tanned person looks more defined than a pale skinned person of the same body fat%.

– A well defined 16 "arm looks larger than an undefined 18" arm.

– Well developed calf muscles give more overall balance to the body, than the development of any other body part.

– If you have short hair, as opposed to long hair, your body will look larger.

– A person with overdeveloped biceps appears to lack chest development.

You can see from these examples how much visuality and optical illusion contribute to the overall image of the body. So, taking these things into consideration what are the exercises you should never do, and why not do them? Well the reason is this, they can damage your symmetry. Symmetry is the most critical element of a beautifully developed body.

# 1 Do not perform side-bends

No matter how many places I have trained I always see someone incorporating this movement into their routine. The problem with this exercise is that it does not target the obliques. Instead it builds muscle in the area benefit your typical love handles, creating permanent, yes permanent love handles. Even if you were to diet down to single digit body fat% you would still have this muscle mass present making your waist line appear wide, and blocky. I have even seen people do this movement holding heavy dumbbells or a cable. I advise against it. Having a nice V taper from your back and lats, combined with nicely rounded shoulders makes the waistline appear smaller. Doing side bends, or weighed side bends makes the waistline look thicker, and no body wants that.

# 2 Do not train the forearms

If you are trying to look like Popeye go right ahead, but again, building a beautiful body is about symmetry, proportion, and visualization. Here's the deal. Every movement that requires you to grab hold of something, whether it be pulls up, bench presses, or shoulder raises, to some degree involve the forearms. If you overdevelop this muscle group you will make your biceps look small. Even if you have well developed guns, having overdeveloped forearms will make them appear smaller than they really are. Do not train them. They get plenty of work doing everything else.

# 3 Do not back squat if you have naturally large glutes

This is the basic squat that requires you to put a barbell across your shoulders and then to perform a regular squat. The problem with this movement is that it engages the gluteus muscles to a large degree, and if you are a person with naturally large glutes you do not want to develop them further. Your butt may be firm and even cut, but in regular clothes you look like you still have some junk in the trunk. Not only that, but from a side view your protruding buttocks make the back look undeveloped, and if you have not developed a thick curved back, it will really show up here. Instead, perform front squats, hacks, and walking weighed lunges to develop the quads. These movements place much more stress on the targeted muscle group. The reason why most people do not do them is because they are so freakin 'difficult. Back squatting is much easier and you can put up a lot more weight. Again feeding the ego and back to the 'how much weight can you lift' mentality. When you focus on stimulating and building the muscle through resistance training, the amount of weight you use becomes irrelevant.

This is what it brings down to. People judge you first by what they see. If you are walking along the beach and are heavy and out of shape, people judge you by that. No body cares what you can bench press, even though you might be a power-lifting champion. They are not thinking 'I wonder how much that guy can bench press'. They do not care. You are not attractive enough to get a second thought, let alone a second glance.

On the other hand if your body is proportioned, muscular, sculpted and defined, one of the first questions that comes to a persons mind is 'I wonder how much he benches'. The point is this. It does not matter how much you can bench, it only matters how much you look like you can bench. A body that is well proportioned, muscular, and lean with beautiful symmetry, will always demand respect. No one is going to mess with you because you look like you're strong. Whether you are or not is irrelevant.

So consider this the next time you train. When you go to the gym, leave your ego at the door. Focus on the finer details of your physique, especially your symmetry. You are there to build a beautiful body, not just to lift weight.

2020 Vision: Developing Generation Y Leaders

In the workplace today, the generation known as Baby Boomers dominates the management and senior leadership ranks. And they are starting to retire. By 2020, in less than a decade, the number of Boomers in the work will have decreased by fifty percent and less than twenty percent of organizations have success plans in place. The challenge for business leaders and Human Resources experts is not just the increase in the number of positions that will be vacant, but the expertise that will go out the door with them, particularly at the senior leadership level of organizations. We should now be developing and implementing leadership continuity processes to transfer the required expertise from these senior leaders to the next generation of leaders.

The next generation of leaders will most likely be dominated by members of Generation Y. By 2020, this generational cohort will have grown at twice the rate of Generation X (the cohort sandwiched between Boomers and Generation Y). So not only should we be concerned with implementing processes to develop future leaders, we should also be concerned with how best to do this when it is highly likely we will have to skip a generation to grow the next generation of leaders.

To ensure we have a 2020 vision, we should consider the following three concepts.

1. 'lost knowledge' – the expertise our organization needs to continue to be successful that will go out the door with the retiring boomers;

2. knowledge transfer – of the critical skills required – between the generations, and;

3. recognition and reward to foster success planning.

These concepts, when fully developed as part of our organization culture, will create leadership continuity, the process that we can use to continuously develop the next generation of leaders. These concepts, when implemented effectively, will create a culture of motivation that encourages senior leaders to build a nationality of leadership expertise.

The concept of 'lost knowledge' :

This involves developing a good understanding of the various costs associated with potentially losing the knowledge required to maintain and continuously grow the organization's performance. Calculating the cost of lost knowledge – the expertise that will go out the door with the senior leaders – is what needs to be calculated to sell leadership on the benefits of investing in leadership continuity. We need to make sure we clearly identify which expertise, which skills and knowledge needs to be retained and which skills and knowledge will not be important in the future.

The concept of 'knowledge transfer' :

As Boomers exit the work they will take their expertise with them without we have in place a process to capture and transfer that expertise to the next generation of leaders. It's important to get these current leaders to take on the responsibility for transfer of this expertise. This not only takes effort, but it takes time and dollars. When we consider transferring these critical skills we need to consider the differences in learning styles. And there are fairly significant differences in learning styles. When seeking to transfer knowledge, we need to be able to identify clearly who is the intended recipient of the knowledge.

There are a number of learning methodologies available but the most effective in this situation are those that involve both teacher and learner in active participation. The methodologies that encourage reciprocal relations, sharing relationships and partnerships are the ones best suited for transfer of knowledge.

They are face to face methodologies and they recognize the expertise of the senior leader – demonstrating respect for their knowledge and skills as well as their contribution to the success of the organization. These methodologies reward future leaders with the mentoring and coaching they desire so they can get as much experience as possible and help them to develop the people / communication / soft skills they will need as well as allowing them to work on developing their emotional intelligence.

The concept of 'recognition and reward' :

There are key differences between Boomers and Generation Y when it comes to recognition and reward. Boomers want to be rewarded for results and their contribution, Generation Y wants to be rewarded for learning and knowledge acquisition. Understanding these differences is vital to leadership development continuity – providing the environment where both cohorts can achieve the reward and recognition they seek.

In organizations where Boomers are recognized and rewarded for their expertise, they can develop a leadership legacy which encourages them to expend the time and effort necessary to develop the next generation of leaders. Continuity of employment is a form for recognition for senior leaders, learning and development opportunities are both recognition and reward of skill and potential for future leaders, and retirement planning is a reward for senior leaders. For future leaders, without providing learning and development opportunities, the message sent to both current and future leaders is that knowledge transfer is not a priority. Providing these opportunities will enhance the working relationship between the cohorts and motivate them to learn together.

2020 Vision and Leadership Continuity :

With 2020 vision we can ensure we develop Generation Y leaders by aligning the needs of both senior and future leaders.

For senior leaders:

  • They need the time and resources to focus on skills transfer.
  • The critical skills they hold need to be identified.
  • Their past and continuing contribution must be recognized – they need to be valued for their passion and the expertise they bring.
  • Encourage them to build a legacy. We all want to be recognized for our value and our contribution – reminding them of their responsibility to the organization's future by developing a legacy.
  • Provide them with the tools to go into the future – retirement planning.

For future leaders:

  • Help them learn about senior leaders, their contribution and their value. Educate them.
  • Assess their current skills level versus the critical skills identified with senior leaders. What are the gaps and how will you help them close these gaps?
  • Match their skills needs to senior leaders' expertise – help them to select the best methods for gaining these skills. Put in place social-technical mentoring – where both participants have plans in place to learn from one another. Continue to build the confidence and expertise of both parties.
  • Be flexible – consider their learning styles and find ways to accommodate these styles. Make sure these future leaders have the information and tools that they need to become future leaders.

To get started, we should prepare a risk assessment so the senior management in our organizations are clear as to the impact of not implementing a leadership continuity process. Once we have their commitment, the process can be kicked off by determining the best methodologies for knowledge transfer. With 2020 vision, we will be able to create a stimulating culture where senior leaders are provided with the time and resources they need to mentor and coach the next generation of leaders, to actively participate in the knowledge transfer process, letting them know their contribution is Valued and they have continuity of employment.

Exercise The Right Way – The Leg Extension

Other articles in this series looked at a number of exercises, mainly from the perspective of developing a comprehensive muscle building program. Sometimes we take things for granted, especially when it comes to performing the basic exercises that determine the core of most bodybuilders' training regimes. It is useful, therefore, to describe in detail the processes involved in actually doing these exercises. This will help beginners to start out using the correct techniques before moving on to potentially more dangerous heavy weights. If it also helps more experienced lifters to redress some of the little faults that have almost imperceptibly crept in over the years, all the better. In this article we'll take a close look at the leg extension. MUSCLES TARGETED: vastis lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, rectus femoris STARTING POSITION Sit in the machine and press the back firmly against the back pad.

Place the ankles behind and in contact with the foot pad.
Place the legs parallel to each other.

Grasp the handles. UPWARD MOVEMENT Raise the pad by fully extending the knees.
Keep the torso erect and firmly pressed against the back pad.
Do not lift the buttocks from the seat.
Do not lock out the knees. DOWNWARD MOVEMENT Allow the knees to slowly flex back to the starting position.
Keep the torso erect and firmly pressed against the back pad.
Repeat or finish set.

Stay Active After PTSD – Overcome Your Post-Trauma Predicament in 5 Easy Steps

Introduction

According to the National Comorbidity Survey Reports over 7.5 million people are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder every year in the United States alone. Most of them suffer from the post-trauma predicament. A predicament is a security system developed by our instinct which prevents us from further trauma. We make a mistake when we think it is an unmanageable disease. Yes, it’s definitely a complicated health and mental issue but we can bypass it using simple techniques.

What is a trauma?

A trauma is condensed stress. When an event of our life or a chain of events pile up a huge amount of insecurity within our subconscious mind, we experience a trauma. The major characteristic of a trauma is that it is more of a subconscious affair than a conscious matter. So, to deal with trauma we need to specifically work on our subconscious mind and generate a habit of feeling protected. To do that we need to understand that our subconscious mind is connected to a few things, like- our body, our memory, our environment and the community we live in. If we can manage all these aspects then we’ll be able to balance rejuvenate our subconscious mind.

How does post-trauma predicament behave?

The post-trauma predicament is a security system developed by our instinct which protects us from further trauma. Yes, it’s a security system that saves our butts. But in this process, it ruins us the other way. In a post-trauma condition, our body cuts the connection between our nerves and muscles. It stops the flow of oxygen in the Neuromuscular junction and we cannot move our limbs. We know this situation as a predicament.

Let’s understand this in an example; suppose you want to check your email and you turned on the email app on your mobile phone but there’s no internet connection. You can see the “loading circle” on the screen. Your device is trying to synchronize the app with your email account. And, it fails. You try again and the same thing happens. The email app in your mobile phone cannot load the inbox page because the connection between your mobile phone and the internet is broken.

Same thing happens with us when we go through a predicament. We try to do some activity, our brain initiates the process but the muscles cannot perform it because the connection between our nerves and the muscles is broken.

How to stay active?

Most of the P.T.S.D. challengers spend a good amount of time lying in bed and sleeping. They get out of bed, have some food and go back to sleep. If you are one of them then don’t feel ashamed. It’s totally okay. Your body needs that rest. You need to give yourself a minimum time to recover from the immediate shocks of the trauma.

1. Start with ‘No-brain Activities’:

(Use your sensory organs)

You should start by doing the ‘no brain-activities’. After the immediate shocks of trauma, our body develops a practice of feeling stressed all the time. While feeling stressed there is more blood flow to the back part of our brain (mainly in the hypothalamus) and less blood flow on the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe executes all logical and analytic processes. So, it’s difficult for us to perform actions. That’s why we should start with no-brain activities.

Use your sensory organs to start working. Use your eyes, your ears, your tongue. You can start by simply watching TV or listening to music.

2. Engagement Is The Key

(Use your hands)

Next, you need to do physical tasks. It’s the time when you introduce your hands with your eyes and ears. You need to practice what you have learned so far. Simply start singing, start dancing, try to enact your favorite scenes from your favorite TV shows, start cooking, start drawing, do make ups, start working out, literally anything that involves physical engagement. Just keep in mind you should pick one or two of the tasks you like. Do not overwhelm yourself. If you overwhelm yourself with a bunch of projects and cannot finish any of them then you might end up sabotaging yourself. You can schedule a routine that you’ll cook in the morning and paint at night or whatever suits you.

Remember, you still do not have enough blood flow to your logical brain so your brain cannot handle more than one or two tasks. Don’t set goals, don’t pressurize yourself. Just hang out with your task and try to create a relationship with it.

3. Join a community

(Utilize The Power of Collective Humanity)

Next, you’ll need to join a community. A community is always helpful. You get to meet a lot of people dealing with similar challenges like yours. You also meet people who have survived similar situations. You’ll get to talk to them, you’ll get to listen to them. They’ll empathize with your pain. And, most importantly they’ll recognize your achievements. Also, when we are around people who support us we feel more protected. It is a good therapy for a PTSD challenger.

So, join a community that shares similar beliefs and interest. The community should be a physical community and not an online community.

4. Start a Venture

(Use your legs)

Starting a venture is more of an advanced stage and probably the most difficult one. Most of the challengers fail to nail this one. But, the fact is if you are able to execute stage 4 you’ll never look back. It’s like a reward to yourself, it’s a gift from the Universe. So, you have to start a venture.

Now, what is venture? Anything that is dedicated to a purpose and requires consistent engagement is a venture. If someone has a family he is a member of a venture, if someone works for a company then he is a member of a venture if someone works for a nonprofit group he is a member of a venture. Now you also need to be a part of a venture.

Either join an existing venture or create a new one. It’s the best way to attract gratitude which will bring you recognition and empowerment. And, empowerment is one of the best remedies for a post-trauma condition.

5. Keep the ball rolling

(Maintain Continuity)

Now, you have to maintain the continuity. It is said that most of the trauma challengers fail to stay active because they fail to continue the process. It’s a secret how to keep the ball rolling.

a. You Need A Strong ‘Why’- define a purpose of your life. It’s a way to hack the rules of the Universe. As a human being, we tend to stay active if there are people depending on us. If you can convince yourself that there are a few people depending on you, you’ll more likely to stay active than if not.

b. Create a Community of Yours- create a support group of your own. They’ll keep you motivated and even help you to start a venture. Your community should contain a core and a buffer group to help you in different situations.

c. Establish your actions with rituals- you have to establish the activities I taught previously. Rituals are the best way to do that. A personal ‘Mantra’ or ‘Japa’ can help you. Even lighting up a candle can help you to continue your journey.

JUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

It’s all about what you believe. A trauma has a two-way effect. It affects our physics and our psyche. We do not have much control over our physics but we can control our psyche. And, by controlling the psyche we can govern our physics to some extent. The goal of a PTSD-challenger should be to get full command over their psyche and guide their physics to recovery.