Government Bids and Contract Intelligence – Keys to Analyzing Your Competition, Bids, and RFPs

The non-structured nature of state and local procurement means that contract intelligence is often overlooked. This information is incredibly valuable to small businesses whether the bid is won or lost. Contract intelligence can provide a much more comprehensive view of your industry and your competition. This in turn makes business ventures with these government entities much more precise and profitable.

Each loss should be a learning experience and each contract should be reviewed introspectively. The following tactics and data should help you create a much more competitive environment for government bidding, analyze your competition, and maximize revenue.

Pre-bid techniques: Knowing all information necessary to complete a bid

You have identified a contract for which you would like to bid. You have 2 weeks to submit a bid. Maximizing your time is paramount to creating a winning bid. The best way to accomplish this is knowing what needs to be done exactly and precisely.

Ask Questions! Sometimes one mistake can disqualify you. The procurement officer is your main point of contact to answer any questions about the bid. Their sole responsibility is to ensure that the government entity garners the correct bids so they can get the best bang for their buck possible. Often times, amendments and addendums are issued during the course of the open bid period.

In addition, some agencies require any questions asked in writing to be provided to all vendors who demonstrated interest in the bid. This time is valuable in properly ascertaining all requirements and specifications related to the contract, and ensuring enough time to prepare a quality response. Furthermore, this window provides enough time to collect all intelligence necessary to prepare a competitive and profitable bid response.

Your local PTAC office is an often overlooked resource. The PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) is designed to assist small businesses in answering general questions about government bidding. If you are new or unfamiliar to public bidding, whether at the city, county, state, or even federal level, the PTAC can answer any questions. They can be your best friend!

If your company is interested in getting started with Federal GSA bidding, we highly recommend going through your local PTAC. More information about this organization, including contact information and your local office, can be found on your local PTAC website.

That one resource can be the difference between successful pricing of your bid or missing the boat entirely.

Winning a bid: Leaving money on the table

Winning a bid is not always what it is cracked up to be! Did you realize an acceptable profit? Did you drastically underbid your competition unnecessarily? Each winning bid will always leave some money on the table, not unlike bidding in the private sector. If your winning bid results within your predetermined profit margin then you did a good job. If your winning bid is less than your predetermined profit margins fret not for this a learning experience for next time. Always keep in mind that if you will lose money, then it would have been better to lose the bid altogether. This is a mistake many neophytes to this process fail to realize initially.

Most agencies publish “bid tabulations” in accordance to state and local best practices in procurement. If it is not published on their website or as a standard reply to your rejected bid, you can and should ask for it. In most cases this can be accomplished with a simple email or phone call to the procurement officer.

In other cases, a more formal procedure should take place, known as an FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) request. We will expound on the virtues of the FOIA shortly. There are a few intrinsic data points that can and should be gleaned for future success.

Several keys to look for:

  • How many vendors bid on this contract?
  • What other vendors are competing against your company?
  • What was the next highest bid?

Losing a bid: Lessons in competition

As mentioned earlier losing a bid is not always a bad thing. Perhaps the winner underbid the contract or their wholesale distributor provides products for a lesser amount. If the latter is true, finding and identifying bids this competitor may not know about is vitally important! Be sure to look for all agencies, including school districts and utility companies. Statistical data has shown that by subscribing to a service that notifies you of RFPs gives you a much greater chance of finding opportunities that fly under the radar.

In addition, not winning a bid gives your firm the opportunity to look introspectively at cost structures that may prevent your ability to bid competitively while unwittingly giving other companies the leg up. Ultimately, the bid tabulations and bid contract award information is your key to understanding what happened, and learning from your mistakes. That is one of the most important pieces of this entire puzzle; collecting the relevant data and learning what can be done to prevent a repeat performance.

This data can often be simply obtained. It is incredibly useful to have a FOIA Request draft prepared to submit to the agency in question in each case. In some cases you may be asked to pay a nominal administrative fee for your request. It will be minuscule and can pay long term dividends which make it worthwhile for piecing together the pieces of the puzzle. The more data that you can collect then the greater chance you have to turn these losses into victories down the road.

Templates for this can be obtained throughout the internet at little or no cost through various legal website and contract resources. In lieu of hiring expensive consultants and government marketers this is one way to gain the same information without paying an arm and a leg.

Having a template of your own will circumvent this need and save money. For example, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers a FOIA letter template generator free of charge. This is an extremely valuable tool while building your letter in conformity to the laws in your state, and directly related to the information which your company seeks in relation to bids and contracts.

This generator is located at the following. http://www.rcfp.org/foialetter/index.php.

Conclusion

Bid and RFP notification services like BidPrime only do part of the work, chiefly informing vendors about newly released government bids. Other services, lobbyists, and consultants can aide in the bidding intelligence process, too. But keep in mind these are often high dollar additions that will eat into your desired profit margin very quickly.

These entities are useful for high profit yielding industries and Fortune 500 companies. The techniques mentioned above are the exact same tactics used by these high priced consultants. By following these loose guidelines it will allow you to save time and money while making the most of each new RFP opportunity. Always remember that the person armed with the most information is in the best position to make the most comprehensive submission.

Happy hunting!

The Always Fresh Containers Review

There is a lot of talk going around the product, Always Fresh Containers. Here is an Always Fresh Containers review that should help you in your buying decision.

So what is Always Fresh Containers and how does it work?

Always Fresh Containers is a product used for keeping fresh veggies from the garden fresh and crispy and lasting much longer. Just place a paper towel in the base and clean your freshly harvested vegetables, chop it up and pop it in. With the paper towel in the bottom, the veggies will stay fresh and crispy all the longer. In the same way, these containers are great for fruit. Chop up your apples and pears, or your oranges and grapes and keep them so, so fresh for so much longer than if you were to leave them lying out. And by all means pop them in the fridge too. Neat, tidy and a great little storage facility in itself.

We really liked this product because it actually works in keeping our strawberries fresh. And if you've ever bought fresh strawberries (and who has not?) Then you will know that these deliciously delicious red berries are tough to keep fresh for even a couple of days. With these containers, our strawberries lasted well over a week. We also had great result with celery and carrots lasting 1-2 months.

Another benefit that we found with this product is that you can use it for more than just fruits and vegetables. It has also shown to be good at preserving cheese and bread.

Cleanup

The cleanup was a lot better than expected. It was easy to wash and dishwasher safe which was a plus. For anyone looking for a way to help preserve their food, Always Fresh containers is a good choice and is definitely not a scam.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Explore Albany and Surrounds

Originally settled by convicts and used as a military base, Albany was first settled in 1827, making it the oldest city in Western Australia. Back in the early 19th century, the French had their eye on Western Australia. Since what is now known as Albany had the largest natural harbor in that region of the country, it was felt that it needed protecting.

Today, Albany’s primary industry is tourism. The city’s rich and colourful history remains on display in its architecture and historical sites. This, combined with the area’s natural beauty makes Albany one of Western Australia’s premier tourist destinations.

One of the best ways to see many of the best of the more than 50 historical sites in Albany is to take the Amity Trail. The thirty minute tour of the Amity Trail is an ideal way to get to know the city. Also not to be missed is the replica of the Brig Amity, the ship that brought the first settlers and convicts into Albany.

The last whaling ships withdrew from Albany in 1979, but “whaling” in the form of whale watching is still a big part of Albany’s attraction. You can often easily spot whales from the shore, but for a more exciting and close-up view of magnificent Southern Right and Humpback whales, you will want to take a whale watching cruise. While you’re at it, you will want to visit Whale World, a fascinating exhibit located at the site of Australia’s last whaling station.

Albany’s rugged coastline and sheltered white sand beaches make it a favorite with holiday makers in landlocked Perth. The Gap, a narrow, rectangular inlet flanked by 20 foot cliffs is a dizzying experience, especially when big waves sweep in and crash against the rocks. The nearby Natural Bridge is also an amazing sight. Another coastal attraction you won’t want to miss is the ruins of the Old Forts Lighthouse on King Point.

One of the more popular scenic walks in Albany is the Middleton Beach Boardwalk. It’s not a long walk, only around 2 miles (3km), but makes you feel like you have immersed yourself in nature. More adventurous explorers head for the rugged coastline in Torndirrup National Park.

Long before the European settlers arrived in the Albany area, it was home to indigenous Australians, who called the area Kinjarling or “place of water.” This was a good name for the region, because rainfall is high throughout the winter. During the peak summer holiday season, there is just enough rain to freshen the air keep the landscape green and verdant.

Now that tourism has become Albany’s major industry, there is no shortage of Albany accommodations to choose from. They run the gamut from comfortable budget accommodations to luxurious resorts. Albany’s permanent population is less than 30,000, making it an ideal place to stay. Everything is at your fingertips, but the city has a wide-open, spacious feel. To get the most out of your vacation in Albany, plan on staying awhile. There is just too much you will want to see to try to cram it all in in a day or two.

Temporary Floor Protection – A Product Guide

Your floors need special protection when undergoing remodeling, during new construction, moving heavy furniture or equipment, and for other events beyond day-to-day use. Protecting flooring makes sense and saves money. A spill of paint, the drop of a hammer, a scratch from heavy furniture can cost thousands of dollars in replacement and repair costs. This article describes surface protection products for floors so that you can make informed choices on the best product to use for your needs.

Types of Protection Packaging:

Floor protection products are commonly packaged as either:

(1) Products by the roll: These include common adhesive films, rolled paper products and rolled textile protection. Protective materials purchased by the roll are commonly measured in thickness by mils (e.g., 2.5 mils thick up to 48 mils thick).

(2) Products by the sheet: These include corrugated plastic, masonite, and other rigid protection. Protective materials purchased by the sheet are commonly measured in thickness by the inch (e.g., 1/4-inch thick) and normally come as 4 feet by 8 feet.

Type of Flooring Protection:

Paper

Paper protection is suitable for all hard surfaces and resilient surfaces but does not work well to protect carpets as it can tear when flexing under footsteps. Paper products are breathable so that glue fumes and cement curing vapors can escape. One disadvantage to paper products as they require tapes to secure them to flooring and tapes can often leave adhesive residue when removed. Common paper protection products include:

· Ramboard™ A coated compressed paper board 38 mils thick that is breathable, water resistant and made from recycled paper.

· Kraft paper is a lightweight brown paper that is inexpensive but does not afford any impact protection and can easily tear

· Scrim paper may incorporate coatings or reinforcements to make them water resistant as well as scrim threads to reinforce the paper and prevent tearing. These improved papers are longer lasting than regular Kraft paper or rosin paper however they are also too thin to offer much impact protection.

· Rosin paper is thicker than Kraft paper and is very low cost. Rosin paper is recycled, felt paper that ranges from 9.0 to 11.5 mils thick. The huge drawback of using Rosin paper is that it may cause a permanent stain if the paper gets wet. Rosin paper can also rip easily so it not normally recommended for use

· Corrugated cardboard rolls or sheets can also be used to protect flooring. Corrugate provides impact protection however it is not coated with a water resistant finish and should be kept dry at all times so that it does not disintegrate. Cardboard products are also available as single-, double-, and triple-walled corrugated cardboard sheets or as a fan-folded stack.

Polyethylene Film

Polyethylene (PE) films are sold as self adhesive rolled films varying from 2.0 up to 3.5 mils in thickness. They trap any moisture from escaping so they should not be used on any floors that are curing. Two of the great benefits of polyethylene films are that films will flex and contour so they can be used on carpets as well as hard surfaces. These films do not offer any impact protection and are normally rated for short term use of 30 to 90 days only. Polyethylene films are designed for one-time use and do not use recycled materials making them a poor choice in sustainable protection. Protection films are available in a variety of adhesion “tack”. Hard surface protection films will have a lower tack and color than carpet protection which needs a more aggressive glue to hold onto carpet fibers successfully.

Wood Products

Plywood and Masonite are commonly used as protection on commercial projects with lots of foot traffic. Masonite is a wood product made from wood fibers unlike plywood which is an actual sheet of thin wood. Both plywood and Masonite are sold in the standard size of 4 feet by 8 feet and are more expensive per square foot than paper or polyethylene products. Masonite is commonly 1/8 or 1/4 inch thick. Plywood is commonly 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Both products provide impact protection on a variety of floor types and provide adequate protection against heavy equipment use or furniture moving. Both plywood and Masonite are breathable and reusable however they are bulky to carry and store. These wood sheets should be used on top of a softer protection such as a rolled textile as they easily scratch flooring. These sheets work well to protect carpet as they prevent wrinkles when rolling heavy loads over the carpet. Plywood and Masonite do not offer moisture protection and can be harder to cut to size than other protection types.

Textile Products

Textile products are commonly manufactured from recycled cloth. In addition, these rolled protection products often have added benefits such as skid resistant backings or breathable plastic liners. For wood floors, these specialty textile rolls are highly recommended as they are breathable, skid resistant, reusable, often leakproof and easy to cut to size.

  • Clean & Safe™ is a textile product made from recycled cloth remnants that has a leak proof liner on the back. It is used on existing floors only as it does not breathe. This rolled product is reusable and can be used underneath plywood and masonite to prevent scratching
  • Surface Pro™ is made from the same manufacturer as the Clean and Safe but is the breathable version. It is a thick, 40 mil textile product that also has skid resistance. White in color, it is often used as a wood floor protection in model homes.
  • Surface Liner Vapor™ is the newest textile product to market and is both breathable and leakproof. Microscopic pores in the plastic liner allow vapor to escape yet are too small for common liquids to penetrate. This rolled product is also easy to keep clean as the plastic top can be swept daily to keep it looking good.
  • EZ Cover™ is manufactured to protect cement slabs or decorative cement while curing. It has a soft felt bottom and compressed paper backing that allows the floor to breathe. EZ Cover is commonly used in both commercial and residential applications and is easy to cut to size as needed.

Applying the Surface Protection

In order to obtain the full benefits of using surface protection, proper application is a must. The floors should be clean (vacuumed or swept) prior to covering with the protection products. The proper choice of protection should be made so that moisture is not trapped on floors that are still curing. Trapping moisture can cause a full product failure and will invalidate a wood floor manufacturer’s warranty. For heavy traffic or loads, several protection layers may be needed.

In summary, there are many choices in temporary floor protection available today. When choosing a protection product, it is wise to consider the cost, duration needed, breathability and potential to reuse the product. Successful floor protection also includes proper installation and preparation of the floor. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for use so the potential for adhesive transfer is avoided. Protecting valuable floors is a wise investment in time and money. Surface protection experts are also available to help you choose the best floor protection for your needs.

Important Types of Stock Trading

Stock trading offers a variety of opportunities to stock investors to make money. The beauty of stock trading lies in its immunity flexibility. You can invest in stock trading as a hobby, a part time business or as a full time source of income.

You can invest as little an amount as you spend on your lunch in a restaurant, or, you can invest hundreds and thousands of dollars.

You can trade in stocks for as fast as a few moments. You can finish off your trade by the end of the day, or, you can invest for months, years and all through your life. There is no need to 'wind up' your business.

The time span and the amount of money you invest depend upon your personal requirements, predilctions and financial goals.

There are three ways you can invest for short terms. You can trade in stocks as position traders, swing traders and day traders.

1. Position Trading

Position trading can be defined as a trading style or strategy where you hold an investment position for an extended period of time which may range from days, weeks or months at a time.

Of all the three trade types, position trading is the longest term trading style. As a position trader, you do not have to sit glued to your monitor like a day trader and keep waiting anxiously what will happen the next moment.

In position trading, you keep waiting for the fundamental changes to come about that affect the value of your stock. You can also use some quality analysis tools for long term technical analysis. A combination of technical and fundamental analysis can go a long way to help you evaluate the trading opportunity. You do not have to enter the market with a view to exit it soon as is done by day traders.

Even if you do not use an analysis tool, you may collect a lot of fundamental information from financial magazines and newspapers about the value of your stock.

Position trading is especially useful for those who want to supplement their income without devoting lots of time in front of the computers. You can study the stock market any time you when you feel free.

2. Swing Trading

Broadly speaking swing trading involves trades that are normally held for a couple of days to a few weeks. Swing traders hold the stocks for shorter periods than the position traders. Swing traders try to earn profits by trading the stock "on the basis of its intra-week or intra-month oscillations between optimism and pessimism."

The basic strategy in swing trading is to buy a consistently moving stock after it has completed its period of consolidation and correction. The strongly trended stocks make fast moves after their correction period is over. The alert swing traders hold the stock for a period of 2 to 7 days and sell it off making a profit of 5 to 25%.

They repeat this process over and over again. Swing traders basically try to capture the quick stock moves. You buy a stock when it is in correction mode and sell it as soon as it reaches certain profit level after the correction.

Swing traders try to ride the swings in the market. They usually buy few stocks and aim at making big profits. Since they buy few stocks, they obviously pay less brokerage.

The secret of success in swing trading lies in looking for the changes in the market that are driven more by the sentiments than by some fundamental reasons.

Swing traders usually spend two hours daily in their research. They usually rely on the daily and intraday charts to understand the stock movements.

3. Day Trading

Day trading, as the name suggests, usually restricts the trading activity during the trading day itself. It involves buying and selling the stocks within a short span of time. Day traders buy and sell their stocks from the time the market opens in the morning and sell them away before it closes. This, however, is not the hard and fast rule. They can hold their stock for the next day or even longer if its price is falling.

Day trading is often considered risky. But it can become profitable for the serious investors who have learned the tricks of day trading through study and experience. They know when to get in and get out of a trading position. Successful day traders are usually intelligent, critical and objective in their approach. They do not go by their emotions like the novices who tend to lose more often.

Basketball: 5-Player Schemes Promote Winning Ideals

When one equates the strategies used in football with those used in basketball one can conjure up a better approach to the game. In football, every player has a function and when carried out properly, you have positive results. Lineman block protecting the passer or open holes for the running back. Receivers and tight ends block down field or run pass patterns seeking space and separation. All these assignments are diligently synchronized for optimum results. And if the timing is perfect, a trap-block becomes a big gain or a well-timed break by a receiver becomes a first down reception.

In basketball, such diligence is sadly lacking. It’s a mish-mash of ideas, each player skimming alone, not knowing the intentions of his teammates. What would happen if each player knew what the other four players were going to do, where they were going to be at any moment in the play? What would be the result? What’s more, how could this be done.

To understand my apotheosis, let’s look at the various aspects of the game. In basketball, the objective is to score more points than your opponent. To do this requires having a higher shooting percentage, and/or much better rebounding stats, and/or lesser numbers in the turnover department. A major factor in these numbers is how well a team creates space. Space is how a team establishes passing, shooting and driving lanes. When there’s space, passing is on target and shooting rhythms result in higher percentages. Space also allows for a more controlled shooting stance which also ups percentages. When faulty, turnovers result and shooting percentages go down. Creating space should be the objective of every player on the team whether they are directly involved in the play or not.

To create space, several factors need to be put into play, namely movement, balanced offensive threats and dictating defensive alignment. When there is movement, the defense is more focused on guarding their man rather than helping teammates. This movement stretches the defense enough to where space is created. Even fake movement or the threat of movement keeps the defense preoccupied negating a sagging defense and rebounding opportunities.

If only a few players are offensive threats, the defense hones in on these players stifling their effectiveness. Thus, it is imperative to have a balanced offensive strategy that involves all five players. When all five players act as integral participants in passing, rebounding, screens, shooting and drives to the basket, then the defense must guard against multiple threats, not just a few. Likewise, such a strategy allows less skilled shooting players to perform specific functions at which they can excel. They feel they have purpose.

Any offensive strategy has a counter defensive strategy. It could be man-to-man, switching man-to-man, or various zone alignments. By implementing various offensive strategies, especially when successful, one can dictate how the defense counters it. Such manipulation can offer advantages in things such as match ups, better shooting and rebounding opportunities as well as reducing turnovers.

Creating space can also be done by inhibiting or impeding the opponent’s movements. Screens are a common method of restricting coverage by a defender. Space can also be accomplished by creating confusion in the opponent’s defensive alinements. When they switch on defense, there are minute opportunities to gain an advantage. For instance, in a pick-and-roll situation, the screener can peel off toward the basket creating not only a scoring opportunity, but also mismatches. These might be tall over short, fast over slow, competent over insecure.

Impeding or inhibiting an opponent can also be accomplished by creating traffic congestion. When opponents have to avoid their own teammates to get into the proper defensive positions, it generates momentary shooting, passing, and driving opportunities. This can be accomplished by congregating offensive players in a small area then suddenly dispersing. And if the dispersion is done in a way that creates confusion or switching, then congestion can result and opportunistic space generated

Another way of creating traffic congestion is to incorporate two or three-man screens. If the screeners disburse in multiple directions, the defenders have little time to react and communicate thus not only creating confusion but also court congestion. This allows offensive players to momentarily separate from defenders and with a separation of four to six feet, this is more than enough to safely catch a pass, shoot a basket or drive for a layup. In zone defensives, such screens can negate coverage and likewise open up space.

Another offensive ploy is to stretch the defensive by making them guard more closely. In this way the defensive is not able to sag and help out other defenders. Being a scoring threat is one way. But there are also passing threats, driving threats, and rebounding threats. Keeping your defender preoccupied with these threats either by illusions (fakes) or realistic movements helps the team effort. For instance, jumping, reaching up for a fake pass creates a momentary defensive commitment, one that creates an offensive advantage. Likewise, moving your defender to an uncomfortable area where you have an advantage, let’s say for driving or rebounding is another strategy.

Rebounding, especially on offensive, is not given its due importance. Rebounds not only give the offense another chance to score, they also mess with the opponent’s alignment. Defenders are out of position and not on their man. This can also result in mismatches all of which allow easy scoring opportunities.

While shooting percentages sit at the top of the stats, one statistic often overlooked is the points scored per possession. A team shooting in the med forties can beat a team shooting over fifty percent if they have an advantage in points scored per possession. Elite teams average around 1.2 points per possession because they are more efficient with the ball, they take good shots, avoid turnovers and get a goodly share of rebounds-thus more possessions. Such a strategy promotes a winning season.

So, in drawing up a scheme, rebounding should be an integral component. By having players positioned for rebounds, either moving through the lane or in it, ups the possibility of getting the rebound. In addition, when shooting opportunities are in sync with rebounding advantage, the point per possession will go up. When such a scheme becomes successful, opponents will counter by placing more emphasis on rebounding thus leaving holes in their defense.

Another factor in rebounding depends on the shooter’s touch and the analytics where the ball might fall. With most shooters, missed shots fall in a certain pattern, either close to the rim or further out, either beyond or in front of basket. This analytic is important on 3-point attempts where misses occur 60-70% of the time. Knowing where the ball is likely to land for a given shooter provides the team a decided advantage. Including this factor into rebounding schemes ups the points per possession.

Another component of any offensive scheme is how well the team transitions to defense. A certain number of players should be responsible for down court defense. However, this responsibility can shift depending on the play’s parameters. While normally this is the duty of the two guards, certain schemes may have them under the basket. Thus, all five players should be schooled in this transition process and know exactly when and where their responsibility begins. There will always be the gamble whether to crash the boards or play it safe and retreat.

The offense is most vulnerable when there’s a defensive rebound or a sudden turnover. Usually a rapid retreat is in order, however, when the opponent’s advance is momentarily delayed by blocking passing lanes or forcing a backward dribble, the rest of the team can get back and set the defense. So periodically teams should implement this delaying strategy.

Being aware of the aspects of time and timing is another factor that determines the success of a team. A college team is allotted a 30-second shot clock while the pros get only 24-second. In college, a team is given 10-second to avoid a back-court violation while the pros are given 8-seconds. Both are given 5-seconds to make a out of bounds throw-in. Both have a 3-second lane violation rule. Working within these time restrictions become part of offensive strategies. Taking too long hurries the setup while shooting too early may overlook weaknesses in the defense.

Timing is an aspect reflecting how well players and their strategies mesh together. In football, it the dominate factor in the success of a play. A defensive lineman need only be delayed a fraction of a second to help the running back break free. The same goes for passing plays where the timing between the quarterback and the receiver must be precise. Such timing is set by the structure of the play. In football, there are also option reads that restructure the play based on opponent’s coverage.

In basketball, such precision is rare. Timing is induced only after teammates become uses to each other’s tendencies. This could take a good part of the season, especially if it is not induced through well-timed structured plays. As I mentioned earlier, if every team member knew where his teammates would be at any given moment and where they were headed, positive results would occur. Likewise, when each player knows what his function or responsibility is then there’s a collective effort that supports the objectives of the team.

These functions or responsibilities include the following.

  1. Establishing passing, shooting and dribbling lanes
  2. Inhibiting defensive movement
  3. Stretching the defensive
  4. Creating rebounding opportunities
  5. Maintaining defensive transitions
  6. Optimizing use of time and timing

How does one establish this precision where all five players are moving in concert? In football, the play and snap count are called in the huddle. The snap count sets up the timing as to when the play is to commence. Football plays have numerous options and are flexible to counter defensive schemes. For instance, the blocking back has the option to block the first defender breaking through or he can run out in the flat and act as a safety valve receiver. Another example, on passing plays, if the defender is on the inside, the pass is thrown to the outside. If the defender plays way back, its set up for a buttonhook short pass with the receiver coming back for the ball. The quarterback reads the opposition and selects the best option.

In basketball, similar play calling strategies can be applied. Each player serves a function, which can and does change as the play unfolds. A shooter can become the one that lures a defender out of position. Later he can become a screener, then switches to becoming a rebounder. Still later he might take on defensive responsibilities. In this strategy, each of the five players has an ever-changing function, one which promotes optimum basketball analytics. Mainly a higher point average per possession.

So how does one get the players synchronized putting the play in motion. In football, the quarterback communicates the snap count. In could be on hut, or hut-hut, or some other pre-determined signal. In basketball, some other means must be established to signal the start of the play. Vocal calls are impractical because of the court distance and crowd noise. Likewise, hand signals are not viable as they can be picked up by the opposition.

There is a snap count device on the court that could be used. It’s visual, highly precise and can be observed from any place on the floor. This device is the shot clock. It college ball it’s expires at 30-seconds and in professional ball, at 24-seconds. The snap count could be predetermined by a signal from the bench or by some other means, such as hand signals or code names. Whatever the means, all five players would know the play and at what time it should start.

If all five players commence play simultaneously, the defense will know it’s a set play and seek indicators on how to defend it. To disguise such an examination, players should vamp prior to the start with movement. Such movement helps in setting up the defense and probing for weaknesses. Such movement can also move defenders into a complacent state where they think the have the offence covered. Then boom, the offence does something different, in a faster and synchronize fashion, surprising the opponent. It’s then that you have the defense thinking, “What happened!”

As in football plays, there are numerous options to the play, however, in this basketball strategy, these options are predicated not on what the defense does, but on how your “read” teammate reacts to the defense. Each player is assigned “read teammate” whose actions dictate what option will be initiated. Let’s say on a given play the small forward “read” is the power forward. If the power forward moves baseline, the small forward’s assignment is to screen the shooting guard’s defender opposite the ball for a backdoor run. However, if the power forward holds for a pass from the point guard, then the small forward fakes a run toward the basket, then screens the defender of the shooting guard who then drives down the middle looking for a pass from the power forward. Other players would be given assignments based their “read’s” action.

This is a simplistic example, however, when all five players are involved in such a scheme, it promotes open shooting lanes, stretches the defense, positions rebounders, inhibites defensive movement and maintains defensive transitions. More importantly, it creates a synergy that promotes higher average points per possession. That’s because the team is more efficient with the ball, they setup good open shots, teamwork avoids turnovers, plus they get a higher share of rebounds-thus more possessions.

This game strategy promotes winning ideals where a mediocre team can compete with a strong opponent and win.

Such a strategy has several caveats. For one, basketball is a game of strong egos. From sandlot to hardwood, it has always been a game of one-on-one. For many players, out foxing, out shooting, out dribbling their defender overrides the team concept. This ego driven philosophy severally weakens the a 5-player strategy. It also weakens the spirit of players who become observers rather than involved participates. In this respect, if the game plan isn’t ego driven by all 5-players having a purpose, it’s doom to fail.

An additional problem, most players prefer the free-flowing serendipity type game where instincts overrule metrics and analytics. This is how they learned the game. This is how they were coached growing up, with little regard for team strategies. Coaches and training camps concentrate more on individual techniques rather than on team play

One must also consider the length of the play. In both college and pro ball, a possession will last 10 to 15-seconds max after crossing the half-court line and prior to a shot or the shot clock running out. This length requires constructing plays that bypass weak shooting opportunities to set up better ones. Plays this long might necessitate changing function from shooter to inhibitor, to enticer, to rebounder, to transitioning defender.

There is also the problem of interchangeability. When players get injured, have foul problems, or have a bad shooting night, this necessitate changes. This means players must learn multiple offensive positions.

Another problem is remembering an array of plays, assignments and options. This problem is exacerbated by the play’s ever-changing dynamics and how opponents defend. How does one memorize all of these moves, their options and implement them?

The answer to the above question is quite simple. You only memorize the moves dictated by your “read” teammate. Let’s say the power forward. the “read” for the small forward, fakes a screen on the point guard’s defender then peels off to the base line. This movement leaves the small forward with two options, either move down the lane awaiting a pass or move to screen the shooting guard’s defender. Other players would implement similar moves based on their “read” teammate.

The play’s objective is to create a strategically balanced offense, one that incorporates all five functions, with some players assigned to inhibiting defensive movement, others to enticing defenders out of position, and still others responsible for rebounding and transitioning to defensive. Such a strategy creates space for remaining players to pass, drive and shoot.

When implementing such plays, it’s a good idea to practice them in short segments, then add moves as earlier segments are perfected. Using consistent and memorable terminologies is also an important factor in teaching players this strategy. Shorthand terms work best. Likewise, ways of signaling the play and snap count should be addressed where both fake and real signals are incorporated. Having multiple people on the bench giving signals is one way to confuse opponents trying to pick up signs. You will find that each new play is a variation of an earlier play and that the primary changes will be the “read” teammate and option moves. While one play may prove highly successful, overuse may encourage viable defenses. Therefore, it’s good to change up plays to keep the opponent off guard or free style it for a possession or two.

Mapping out such plays can be done with software that incorporates video so that the various options can be seen, learned and implemented. Video makes teaching this complex strategy easier as players see the play evolve with regard to space and time. One such program, which is in 3-D is http://www.tactic3d.com/basket/basket-software-playbook.html. Other programs can be found online by searching for: Animated basketball video playbook software.

In conclusion, when all five players are involved in the offense, each performing a vital function, shooting percentages go up, rebounds increase, and turnovers diminish. More importantly, players become more proactive playing as a team, becoming facilitators rather than observers. In addition, the key analytic, points per possession, becomes a competitive metrics that wins more games, even over more talented opponents. This is a strategy that promotes winning ideals.

A Brief Review About Cheap Rental Apartments To Consider When Visiting Paris in France

There is no place more exciting, more romantic, and more cosmopolitan than the city of Paris. Paris has thousands of places to explore, dozens of museums, theaters, monuments, bars, clubs, sports centers, and more. Paris is culture, entertainment and diversity all rolled into one. A city that welcomes a multitude of tourists each year, eager to take in all that it has to offer.

For those who are planning to travel to Paris but aim to save on cost of accommodations can opt to rent cheap apartments. There are many cheap apartments in Paris that offer clean and safe places to stay for tourists. Here are some examples of places that you could check out for yourself.

Try looking for single bedroom apartments – There are one bedroom apartments that may still be convenient for up to four guests. A good example would be one that is located on the third floor of a traditional Parisian building on the calm and serene Rue des Trois Freres. The bedroom has a double bed, the living room spacious enough, and the kitchen complete with all the amenities you need to cook a decent meal. This apartment is conveniently located near the Metro station, near restaurants and night life attractions. Such apartment goes for around 80 Euros a night.

Try looking into studio apartments – A good example of a studio apartment is one that is located in a tower named Tour Rubis and can fit up to 3 guests. If you stay here you get direct access to the Italie 2 shopping center which is one of the largest in Paris. Just a short walk from the shopping center is the Metro entrances with access to lines 5, 6 and 7. This apartment boasts of a living room with a large window that lets you see a breathtaking panoramic view of the Paris skyline. Such apartment goes for around 80 Euros a night.

You may also try checking into studio apartments that can only fit one to two guests. Try finding one that is close to sites and restaurants. A good example to this is one that is located on the quiet Avenue de Friedland which is just a short work to Arche de Triumph and the Champs-Elysees. This is convenient for tourists because theaters, boutiques, and restaurants and bars are all within walking distance. The apartment consists of a main room with a couch, desk, TV, refrigerator, and microwave. A short ladder leads up to the second floor mezzanine which has a double size sleeping area. This apartment goes for 84 Euros a night.

How about the idea of checking into studio apartments that are good for one to two persons but are built with a modern and contemporary feel? One good example to such is one that is located by the Rue du Cherche Midi which is just one block away from the Le Bon Marche department store. This apartment is within walking distance of the Luxembourg garden, the Senate House and many fashion boutiques. Such apartment costs around 164 Euros.

10 Simple Ways To Kick Up Your Internet Sales In Five Minutes Flat!

Every entrepreneur wants to know the secrets to kicking their sales up a notch. The key is doing so quickly and easily.

How do you do that? The more visitors you have, the more likely you are to make sales. The key is attracting good prospects. These are people visiting you site with their credit card in hand. Then you have to sell them, in five minutes.

There are simple strategies you can use to make sure prospects convert to paying customers quickly and easy.

Here are 10 ways you can kick your sales up a notch with little effort:

1. Reevaluate Your Sales Copy. The top reason products flop is poor copy. Good copy can sell bones to a skeleton. Bad copy won’t sell the fountain of youth. So if you are not selling well, take some time to reevaluate your sales copy.

2. Get More Testimonials. People will buy from you if they believe what you offer has some value. The best way to get this point across is by allowing others to tell your customers for you. You should always ask your customers what they think of your product. This should provide you with easy testimonials. Make sure you get a picture if you can too of the person giving a testimonial. Offer your customer something in return to encourage this practice.

3. Follow Up. You must follow up with prospects. Do not think for a minute by sending one message to a prospect you will land a sale. Most people have to see your message five or more times before they want to buy from you. Use an automatic service allowing you to send as many auto responders as needed.

4. Provide Free Products. Everyone wants something for nothing. If you want to convince your customers you have something worthy to buy, give away something free. This will dramatically improve your sales. Some of the best freebies include information products like an audio or CD of your book of product.

5. Offer Multiple Bonuses. Customers want what they are paying for and then more. Why not offer a special report, an audio and ebook in exchange for a purchase?

6. Create A Direct Response Website. This limits your customer’s selection of products so they can focus on your product page and are more encouraged to buy from you.

7. Build Relationships. The best customers are loyal customers. The only way to attract loyal customers is by gaining your customer’s trust and by building relationships. How do you do that? You can do that many ways. Personalize all messages you send to customers. Tell people what you think personally of the products you offer, how they benefited you and then show them how they successfully help others.

8. Price Products By Value. How do you price products? You have to price your products in a way that helps your customers understand the value your product provides. Does your customer need a product? Using killer copy, describe how your products and services fulfill your customer’s needs. Include specific details. Your goal should be helping your customers remain confident they will get what they need, so they do not worry about price.

9. Instill Urgency. What you want is people visiting your site that are ready to buy your products and services at a moment’s notice. You can’t allow customers who visit to put off buying, because they may not come back. How do you do that? Tell them they have to by now, and why. Tell them how they will benefit by acting immediately. Then offer them a deadline. Remember, your goals include helping your customer along the buying process.

10. Take Advantage of Info Marketing Products. Nothing makes an ordinary product look more extraordinary than information marketing products. These include audios, CD’s and other products that help translate your material into something customers can taste, touch and smell.

Using Your Line of Credit to Pay Down Credit Card Balances? Good or Bad?

Canadians are still chalking up debt, but there is some encouraging news on the credit front. Canadians are starting to pay down their credit cards. This is according to a recent report from Equifax Canada.

The report states that the average Canadian cut back 3.4 percent from their credit card debt this past year (2011).

But here's the downside. Many Canadians are paying down that credit card debt using their line of credit, which is tied directly to the equity they have in their home.

Equifax spokesperson Nadim Abdo had his concerns. Paying off a higher interest rate credit card bill with a lower rate line of credit makes sense, however there can still be bumps in the road.

"We're still at record high levels of debt. If there was to be an interest rate adjustment of 50 basis points … we'd see an increase in delinquencies and bankruptcies," said Abdo.

According to the Equifax report, the average Canadian has $ 6,000 in consumer debt, a 4.5 per cent rise since the end of 2010. In addition, it was noted that the growth rate is slowing – between 2009 and 2010, the average Canadian's consumer debt griev 7.7 per cent.

The drop in credit card debt is a sign that people are finally starting to think about how they're spending, said Lewis Johnson, a finance professor at Queen's University.

"It seems like there's an outbreak of rationality. The more you can shift balances from a credit card where the rate is 24 per cent interest to a line of credit where it's 3 or 4 per cent, the more able you are to pay, said Johnson.

Consumer spending on "durable goods," including everything from household appliances to automobiles, dropped by.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2011, according to Statistics Canada.

The world economy could also affect Canadian debt levels. The ongoing crisis in Europe and the slowdown in the Chines economy could also have an effect on Canadian debt levels.

If the Canadian job market is affected, the interest rates of your line of credit could have been affected too.

Is it worth it? Outside of finding other low risk sources of paying down your credit card debt, yes. For now at least, using your line of credit, which generally is prime plus 1 or a half, depending on the bank, still makes sense. And with this week's announcement of a 2.99 3 or 4 year mortgage rate, it appears interest rates are going to be somewhat low for the foreseeable future.

For more valuable information, visit http://www.prudentcreditrepair.ca

600 Credit Score or Lower and Mortgage Refinancing

Basics

Mortgage lenders offer many different loan types for people with bad credit. These loan types include:

  • 30 year fixed loans
  • interest only loans
  • minimum payment option loans
  • other mortgage loans

30 Year Fixed Loans

This is the traditional mortgage loan. It has a loan term of 30 years and is fixed for 30 years. This loan option usually has the highest interest rate relative to other mortgages.

Interest Only Options

This type of loan allows you to pay at an interest only level. It is a lower payment than a regular payment. This is because you are paying interest only and not any of the principal of the loan. The loan size does not increase or decrease with this type of mortgage. The principal balance remains the same.

Minimum Payment Option Loans

These types of loans allow a person to pay even less than an interest only payment. These loan types are usually the lowest possible payment you can get.

These loans have the potential of negative amortization. This is when your loan size increases over time.

Other Mortgage Loans

Additional loan types include 40 year loans, 45 year loans, 50 year loans, and more.

How To Get Approved

You are much more likely to be approved if your loan has lots of equity. The closer your loan gets to 100% of the value of your property the less likely you are to be approved if you have bad credit. If you can document your income and assets you will also be more likely to be approved.

There are mortgage lenders that work with borrowers who have been late by 30 days, 60 days, or even more. Some mortgage lenders will accept multiple late payments on mortgages.

We've got all the help you need to get the best mortgage deal for you. Visit Our Main Mortgage Website.

Apply Refinance | Purchase | Mortgage Calculators | Debt Consolidation | Quick Loan Tips

Where Industrial Psychologists Can Fit Properly

The only way you can become an expert at picking the best candidates suitable for any post is by taking up a course in industrial psychology. It will give you more knowledge on how to deal with the problems that limit the well being of the work place.

This skill can be utilized in very many ways like training of the workers, dealing in human resource management plus improving on the worker’s conditions. Business owners have to put this into consideration if they want to prosper in the long run.

No matter where you place them, industrial psychologists can fit in perfectly. If you get a chance to land on a skillful consultant, the better.Thus, these people can also take part in academic research and many other jobs like human resource management.

To achieve this objective, all you need to do is book for yourself a place at any institution so that you can study about industrial psychology. When you get this degree, you will be eligible of doing any job ranging from human resource to any other criteria that fits your expertise.

On the other hand, your expertise can be made a little better if you attain a Masters degree in industrial psychology. This will give you an opportunity to work in many more sectors apart from human resource. These may include; consultation services or the private sector.

Trust me with this kind of education qualification; your career is most likely to be superb. This is because you will have a lot of experience which will prompt the business owners to hire you in exchange for your services.

In line with the Masters degree, your ability to communicate with the people will also play a great role. These two points work hand in hand to bring about the best industrial psychologist in you.

These abilities will help you supervise the operation of the business as you take more time to talk to your workers to find out what their desires and goals for the company are.

Precast Concrete Walls To Enhance Your Property

In the past, building contractors and engineers have been constructing commercial buildings using precast concrete walls, which are now increasingly used in residential housing projects too. Main advantage of precast concrete walls over beloved concrete walls is that precast walls can be built in less time.

When a builder uses beloved concert walls, the biggest challenge is creating a level surface, and pouring even, square walls. When walls are precast, they are made in a factory, and delivered to the building site already square and level. The house structure can then be put together almost as with building blocks. The building time is drastically cut in half by this process.

Almost all precast concrete walls have a insulated core. This makes it so homes are much more energy efficient. More insurances can also be pumped into the walls cavities after insulation as well. This translates into long term savings for the home owner and a reduced impact on the environment too.

Another advantage of a precast wall is that, unlike a poured wall, which uses only horizontal steel rods, a precast wall uses both horizontal and vertical rods for reinforcement. While horizontal rods can protect the wall from cracks due to shifts in the ground level, vertical rods protect against horizontal soil pressure. Precast walls therefore are best for basements of residential homes where there is always some soil pressure from against side on the wall. The vertical rods can protect the walls in such cases.

Precast concrete is also satisfying fencing needs of many homeowners. Unlike wood fence, concrete fence will not rot or warp. Neither termites nor weather can affect concrete. In addition, concrete fencing does not require heavy work for installation. To suite to varied finishes and texture tastes, conrete walls can be used to create stunning fence for any area.

In respect of certain features, both the precast and poured walls are similar.

Reality And Prejudices In The Kentucky Highlands

Much has been written about the poverty of the Appalachian mountaineers that make up the Kentucky Highlands. Visitors like to point out the backwardness of the area, the crime, the hopeless of its citizens and the unhappy layout of the unfortunate. Few discuss the reasons for this cultural disease that has afflicted the entire region. Instead, the region's problems are accepted as natural and permanent as if a mysterious ailment descended upon the hill people that is both natural and proper.

Fortunately, they are wrong in their failure damnation.

It is certainly true that the region is one of the poorest in the nation; it is true that crime is both prudent and severe and it is true that both the educational attainment and the future of most appear weak and hopeless. But it is also true that the people of the Kentucky Highlands are not dammed to endless suffering and hopelessness. As with all peoples, the future is what we make it. In reality the people of Appalachian Kentucky are at the same time equal to the rest of the people of the nation and remarkably different.

Some people have reported correctly that the Highlanders are much less educated than the rest of the nations populated. This is true. However, the inference that intelligence is equal to education is incorrect. On average the people of the Kentucky Highlands are as intelligent as the average across the nation. No one could prove otherwise. Unfortunately, this incorrect inference has become an accepted fact across much of the nation and support for this belief is probably the strongest in the Appalachian region of Kentucky. Over many generations this venom has ingrained itself into the hearts of the Highlanders. This dangerous belief has done more to damage a very proud and honorable people than any other belief. We have been led to believe that we are inferior and we have accepted in and chosen to act inferior. The results have been disastrous.

Why would any one or any group of people voluntarily choose to believe they are not equal? It does not happen overnight and it is not by choice. But it does and has happened. The history of the Kentucky Highlanders is both remarkable and near unique. The only other people that share a similar history are following Appalachians from neighboring states. Neverheless, many of the stereotypes of the "hillbillies" are best represented in the mountains of Appalachian Kentucky.

When the Nation was still young, these mountains were the Promised Land. The land was rich with game and the hollers fertile. The land was so valuable to the Indians that the great Cherokee and Shawnee Nations fought continuous wars to prevent the other from settling the area. Both nations refused to relinquish the bounty this area provided. Buffalo, deer, elk, bear and fowl filled the valleys and mountains in such quantities that hunting parties consistently followed the ridge lines. The Cherokee to the south and the Shawnee to the north relied heavily on their bounty. Dr. Thomas Walker, Daniel Boone and many other explorers eventually made their way to this "Eden." Then the settlers came and made their way into each and every valley. These were strong and independent men and women. Regardless of what is commonly assumed, only the strongest and wisest could have tame a wilderness that both offered plenty and danger at every turn. With the abundance of food and all the materials necessary for a good life came the challenges of freezing winters, floods in the spring, hot summers and dry autumns. The opportunities were equalized only by the challenges. The pioneers with the grit to make a life here had other qualities that are both noble and helped lay the foundations for the decline of the mountains. They were ferociously independent, they were self reliant and they were clannish. These qualities were absolutely necessary in the rugged isolation of the hills. No one could have survived in those mountains without those qualities.

Because of these very qualities, these mountain people had little need for the outside world and because of the difficulties in reaching these people; the outside world had little contact with them. The result was a unique society that developed its own customs and these customs did not follow the development of the rest of the nation. Communication was slow and not really relevant to the Highlanders lifestyle anyway. Most were content to create their own path and live as they pleased.

Two things happened over time that destroyed the equilibrium. First, as the population grew, the resources became less abundant and with each new child added to the mountains the amount of food available to all reduced. The clannish nature of the people that had helped them tame the wilderness now began to sow the seeds of poverty. Not sufficient mountainers left the Highlands and the mountains could not provide for all.

Then second, the great wealth of the area was discovered. Timber and, worst of all, huge quantities of high grade coal were discovered. With this, the exploitation of the hills began. Huge outside concerns moved into the area and bought the right to mine this coal for fractions of its true value. Then these capitalists set up coal camps and turned many of these proud men into virtual slaves. Most did indeed owe their soul to the company store. These corporations kept them poor, uneducated and dependent upon them. The cycle of exploitation of the Highlanders gradually created the feelings of inferiority still held in the region. Because the profits from the coal left the region the people of the mountains never received the benefits of their gift. Coal became their curse instead of their salvation. It was in the interest of the coal concerns to keep the people poor, uneducated and meek. Making these descendents of fiercely strong and independent pioneers both dependent and weak was the great crime perpetrated upon the Kentucky Highlander. This crime was much greater and longer lasting than the mere robbing them of their mineral rights. It has lead to untold misery by countless children of the hills.

The clannishness or more politically correct, the strong family ties and the exploitation of outsiders has led to the situation of today. Until we come to terms with this, we as a people will never improve our lot. No amount of money or advice from Washington will help us. We have to come to terms with the fact that we were taken advantage of. We have to stand up and say it will never happen again. We must tell ourselves that we are equal. We must encourage our children to enter the world and make their fortune. We must understand that some will leave and never come back to stay and others will return to make our communities better places. We must accept this as a part of life. But most important we must tell our children and ourselves that we have a proud history, that we are as good as anyone else, that we will not let anyone take advantage of us again, and, finally we all must strive to make the Kentucky Highlands a better place for our future generations.

How to Properly Prepare Your Log Cabin for Winter

Winter is coming (no, that is not a Game of Thrones reference) and it is time to start getting that lovely log cabin of yours ready for the bad weather around the corner. Wooden houses are awesome as they are high value, beautiful, sturdy and a dream home for many. Unfortunately they require a bit more maintenance than the average house does, given the materials used to build it.

Before the snow starts to fall, make sure you have gotten these things stuck off your Winter preparation checklist.

Clean The Outside

The first step is always getting the exterior of the house prepared, because it is what will be most impacted by inclement weather. Scrubbing it down and washing off dirt with a hose is a good idea. If dirt is trapped under snow it could remain there all winter, which is not good for the wood and could lead to damage later on down the road.

You should also clean out the gutters, which can become logged with water and cause the wood to rot through the Winter. Consider getting snap on gauuter covers and an extender that releases the water further from the house. These are an inexpensive investment that will keep you from much costlier repairs or lumber replacements in the future.

For your garden it is worth getting everything cleared and prepared for the next year, such as laying down special soils to heal the soil through the coming months. It may even be a good time to get some landscaping done, as many companies have lower prices during non-peak months.

Clean The Inside

Getting the inside cleaned is just as important as the outside. Why? Think of it as pre-Spring cleaning. Washing walls and windows, getting rid of dust and dirt and just getting everything aired out is an efficient way to prepare for the months you will be spending indoors. After all, you will not be able to keep the windows open in the frigid cold.

This is a great time to get your ducts cleaned, clear out any vents, change your filters, clean the carpets and do other odds and ends that will make your house more welcome and clean.

Look For (And Seal) Any Leaks

There are several reasons to make sure there are no leaks in your house or gaps in the wood. First of all, gaps and leaks can let out precious warm air. If you have been noticed you have been using a lot more air conditioning over the Summer there is a good chance there is a leak somewhere. As the weather gets colder it is easier to find these leaks as there will be drafts in certain areas of the house.

Weatherstripping is an easy way to get rid of the more obvious places where this is happening. Air escapes around windows and doors all the time, leading to a jump in energy costs and a less comfortable climate around the house.

Another problem that may occur is warping in your wood. Log cabins can get gaps, which let in pests and undesirable critters that are best left outside. Fix these gaps as soon as possible, otherwise the problem will just grow.

Spray For Pests

Even if you do not have any infestations that you know of, it can be a good idea to spray for pests before the Winter comes. As the weather gets more cold insects and vermin of all types can make their way into crevices in your home, making nests and take shelter from the winds and rains before it turns to snow. You may not know they are there until until there are so many they can no longer be hidden. That is a common story for log cabin owners who end up finding signs of infestations come Spring.

Spend a few weeks laying down traps, poison and spraying. Pay special attention to attics and basements, as well as anywhere you may have found leaks. Spray along the outside as well as they may have not yet found a way into the house.

As Winter progresses you may have to spray again. Wooden houses are prior to certain sneakier pests such as termites, which can eat through your wood and cause damage to the exterior and interior of your house faster than you might imagine. Always be on the lookout for signs of their existence.

Put Up Energy Saving Curtains

If you have weatherstarmed, checked and sealed leaks and still want to save energy and keep the house nice and toasty, consider putting up energy saving curtains. These are the thick blackout curtains that require reinforced rods to hang.

They are heavy, dense and do not let any light into the room, making them perfect for days spent sleeping in, or those who have a night schedule and sleep during the day. These curtains also help keep the air inside from escaping so your house stays nice and warm during the colder months and nice and cool during the hotter ones.

If you do not want to go with heavy curtains there is an alternative method. Get regular curtains and put another piece of fabric between them and the window. It is not the best way to keep in heat as some will still escape through the layers. But that additional barrier will be some improvement to a single sheet.

Evaluate Exterior For Possible Restaining

Every log cabin owner knows that they need to restrain their home every three to five years to keep the wood healthy and reduce the risk of cracks, wood warping and chips. Every year before the snow falls you should take a look at the exterior to make sure the time has not already come for that new layer of stain.

One thing you might notice is that there are some areas that are more worn than others. This is usually due to sun, rain or wind exposure, which means a section could need staining before the rest. Get this done before it gets too cold, or your risk the wood rotting from the damp.