American Icon Paul Newman Succumbs to Cancer at 83

American icon Paul Newman has died. He was 83. The man of many talents, actor, director, race car driver, entrepreneur, and activist lost his battle with cancer yesterday at his home in Connecticut. His wife of 50 years, Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward, was with him as were the other members of his family and their close friends.

Paul Newman, born in 1925 in Ohio, was the son of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. He served three years in the Navy during WWII, a fact not often listed in his resume. His father’s death resulted in Newman and his brother inheriting an interest in his father’s sporting goods store. Not satisfied with the retail life, Paul sold his interest in the company to his brother Arthur, and moved his wife Jacqueline Witte and their young family to Connecticut where he enrolled at the Yale School of Drama. He later moved to New York to continue his studies and pursue what would become one of the most successful acting career ever.

Paul Newman’s acting career includes several Oscar nominated performances including “Cool Hand Luke”, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, and “The Long Hot Summer”. His only Oscar win was for his role in “The Color of Money”, which came 20 years into his amazing career. He was the recipient of two honorary Oscars, numerous Emmy awards, and other film awards.He was active in theater and film until this spring when he announced his retirement. At that time, he cited getting older as his reason for retiring and did not mention his cancer. Throughout his illness, Newman did not draw attention to the seriousness of his disease, preferring to downplay his declining health.

Newman’s passion for life led him to try many different things including auto racing. He’d been turned onto it during his work on the film “Winning”. Never able to do anything half way, he turned pro in 1977 at the age of 52 and two years later took second place in the famous Le Mans race. Paul Newman continued to participate in professional auto racing until just a few years ago. He participated in the grueling race 24-Hours of Daytona several times, finally winning in 1995 at the age of 70.

His company, Newman’s Own, started in 1982 selling salad dressing based on Newman’s own recipe. Fifteen years later, Newman’s Own donated $200 million to charity. From its inception, all profits from the company are donated to charities and non-profits, primarily dealing with children’s issues. His charitable spirit has gone beyond just giving money. Newman established The Hole in the Wall Gang camps for children with life threatening illnesses in several U.S. states and in Europe and spent a portion of each year at the camps. To date there are 11 such camps.

Married twice, Paul Newman was the father of five daughters and one son, Scott, who died of a drug overdose in 1978. Newman established a foundation in his son’s name that finances anti-drug films, which are used as educational tools for children.

Basic Drawer Side Construction

Basic Drawer Side Construction

Many types of joints are used in the construction of drawers. The joints range from the traditional dovetail to the nailed butt. The strongest joint is the one that is in-between the front and the sides. This is where the drawer takes the most abuse. The joint should look good and go with the design of the cabinet since this is the joint that everyone sees.

The half-blind dovetail joint has been used for over two hundred years and is still the best joint available for strength when properly completed. Originally the dovetail joint was cut by hand and was seen on all price ranges of furniture. Today, the half-blind dovetail joint is basically seen on high-end and custom-made drawers. This type of joint is not seen on the outside of the drawer. When looking to the inside the dovetail joint may be seen. A half-blind dovetail joint may be used on any of the drawer types (lipped, flush and overlay).

The straight dovetail joint that shows to the outside is not universally used in high end furniture. When used, a false front it put on the drawer to cover the dovetail unless the dovetail design is part of the desired look.

The sliding dovetail is used only on an overlay drawer. It is easy to make once the proper setup has been completed. This dovetail slot is visible from the top edge of the drawer front and can distract from the look of the cabinet once it is completed. That is why the overlay drawer front is used.

The box joint is made by using either a router or table saw. It does not have the interlocking capabilities of the dovetail. The box joint yields a strong hold due to the many gluing surfaces it provides.

A plain rabbet or dado joint connects the drawer together with an ease in construction. The joints do not interlock. There is no good gluing surface so the drawer will not last the test of time. The hybrid dado-and-rabbet joint does provide the locking of the pieces together. It is easy to make but it exposes the end-grain on the drawer front. This means a false front will need to be added unless it is part of the cabinet design.

Lock joints are strong and simple. They are especially used when dealing with routed drawer locks. A special router bit is used to produce both parts. This type of locked joint works well on all three drawer types (lipped, flush and overlay).

When deciding on what type of drawer construction to use it is best to consider the visual appearance after the project is complete. Each jointing procedure provides a different look to the completed drawer. The particular look could add character and dimension to any woodworking project.

String, the Ultimate Tool

String, the Ultimate Tool

String comes in a plethora of sizes, materials, and strengths. The string needed in a home owner’s toolkit is made from nylon which gives it strength. Everyone could use a roll or two with several hundred feet on them.

Sting is used in chalk lines, for marking long lines where a ruler is far too short to get the job done accurately. The string is carried in an enclosed reel that chalk can be added to, simply mark the object at opposite ends as needed, and stretch the chalk line across tightly. Once the line is taught snap it once and a line of chalk will mark where the line is stretched. Keep extra chalk handy as it tends to use it up quickly.

Plumb bobs use string to suspend a weight to mark vertical lines, keep the weight off the floor slightly so the bob is free to swing until it stops on its own. Find the mark on the floor or ceiling you want to transfer and mark the opposite end…. A chalk line reel is great for a plumb bob, and will keep the string neatly rolled up and out of the way when not in use.

A roll of string has many uses and a line level is just one more way to utilize string the ultimate tool!

A line level, hooks over the string and once you have pulled the string taught over your project it is possible to check it for level over a long distance. You can set grade, level forms, and measure rise or fall from it.

A string line on grade stakes will allow a straight wall to be built, or your concrete forms to run straight and level, or about any other long project that only string can aid in the completion of.

String can be used in a pinch to lash projects together like a clamp or temporarily hang one end of a long board in place when working by yourself when you need an extra hand.

String can be used as a means to draw large curves or circles, find your center point, run out a length of string to match your needs and attach a pencil in a loop at the other end to mark your curve with.

String the Ultimate tool, don’t leave home without it… or at least not when remodeling your house. Try to keep several rolls around since it is all too easy to cut one up for smaller projects.


Small Towns: Supporting the businesses that make up our homes

I live in a small town, and I’m often frustrated by the lack of everything there is to find in our small town. No big bookstores, no good coffee houses, no good grocery stores. Our little place on the map survives (but barely) through an odd combination of old and mostly struggling industry and hopeful tourism. Industry brings in big-moneyed citizens at the tops of our economic chain while feeding a number of families and threatening them with layoffs each month. Tourism brings in seasonal influxes of summer-folk who rave about how rural we are, then dash back to Detroit or thereabouts to live their real lives.

It’s a hard situation for me, as a business-owner, to want to stick around. Not being a native to this particular small town, I have a difficult time finding any reason to stay here. And, economically speaking, a larger town would very likely have more opportunities for me as an independent consultant.

I’ve struggled with this for nearly three years, wondering what on earth this little town has for me. And then, as so often happens for me when I’m reading a good publication, it all coalesced in a single moment.

In an article that showed up in my last Utne Reader, singer-songwriter/business-owner, Ani DiFranco is quoted as saying,

“And Buffalo needs us. We considered going to New York years ago…but New York doesn’t need another 15 people hangin’ around. In Buffalo, we can make a difference in the community. To set up shop in Buffalo, in what is basically almost a ghost town downtown–and to be a thriving office full of people trying to re-create the music industry is a good feeling.”

And I couldn’t help thinking, “Yeah.” That’s it, and that’s what connects me here. As a business-owner, especially one in a small community, I can truly make a difference. And I think this is important for all of us as women and as business-owners. There are special issues that we can work for that are important for the survival of any community. We can work to support other local businesses–each other, in effect–in the face of huge corporate layoffs, a dwindling economy, and the in-coming corporate stores. Small-town America is in danger of disappearing, and with it go our livlihoods and our control over our own lives.

As the saying goes, “Think globally, act locally.” How better to act locally than to work to support your local economy? What can we do? Here are some suggestions, just off the top of my head:


Selling a Project and Selling Project Management Expertise

Entrepreneurs can sell almost anything that someone else wants or needs. Aside from products or professional services, creative entrepreneurs can also sell unsolicited projects or project management expertise for things that are yet to materialize.

In short, entrepreneurs can sell non-tangible, forward-looking projects through the leverage of intellectual capital, creativity and innovation. Thus, entrepreneurs can employ very minimal cash of their own in a projects-based business compared with capital-intensive ventures such as manufacturing, retailing, hotel operations or trading.

With prudent cash flow management, entrepreneurs can build wealth from an idea whose time has come without taking a big mortgage on their homes. Progress billing together with bank- or investor-financing with the contract as security might be most of the funding that the entrepreneur needs to complete the project.


Selling Project Management Expertise

When a business owner or government agency, say, the US DARPA or HSARPA solicits a Request for Proposals for a certain project, the bidders will essentially be chosen based on the financial bid and technical bid. Here, the technical bid will almost always feature project management expertise. This is to ensure that the project can be completed successfully.

Thus, a good reputation in the implementation of prior projects is of key importance including the demonstrated expertise of the bidder in the specialized technical skills that the project owner requires.

Another point in focus is that selling project management expertise is not limited to the act of selling to the project owner.

Entrepreneurs also sell project management expertise to sources of project funding such as banks, investors or grant providers. Funding institutions or venture capitalists are more likely to do business with entrepreneurs or organizations with known management reliability and efficiency.

Likewise, entrepreneurs sell their project management expertise to industry networks such as sub-contractors, joint-venture partners or suppliers for better payment terms, on-time deliveries, better line of credit and other benefits. Cooperation and collaboration on projects multiply resources that the entrepreneur will otherwise not have.

Finally, entrepreneurs also sell their project management expertise to the general and/or specialized publics. Winning the support of the public will minimize potential risks to the project such as protests to stop the project or poor sales during operations due to bad publicity. Small corporate responsibility projects that support the bigger project demonstrate the entrepreneur’s project management expertise.

Selling Unsolicited Projects

Entrepreneurs in real estate development will typically sell unsolicited projects through the scale-model, the community master plan, the house models plans, the virtual model, and/or the feasibility study. They will first try to sell the project to a financier or team of financiers then ultimately sell it to the end-users.

However, creative entrepreneurs like Donald Trump, when he was still starting out, first sold his unsolicited real estate development projects to people who are technically not his regular employees like the sales agent or broker representing the property owner; some lawyers to determine the legal feasibilities of some of his ideas and how to solve certain legal issues; to the architect who made the building plans; and to the public via newsworthy events.

Researchers are also like project-based business entrepreneurs in the sense that they sell ideas for unsolicited technology projects or study projects to win grants or research contracts through any of the following:

  • One-page Concept of Operations or CONOPS
  • Prototype
  • One-Page Proposal Abstract
  • Proposed Methodology
  • Project Proposal

Note that creative entrepreneurs engaged in projects-based businesses are actually selling plans rather than selling tangible, finished products. Packaged with the plans are assurances that they can complete the finished products through a demonstration of their integrity and reputation.

Creative Business Project Management Fundamentals

In summary, these are the main points of creative business project management for entrepreneurs who are about to venture into a projects-based business:

  1. Projects are mainly about intellectual capital, creativity, innovation and the reputation to succeed.
  2. Projects-based businesses infused with creativity and sound planning will typically require very minimal cash to generate bigger amounts of sales.
  3. What entrepreneurs actually sell is the simplified plan first then detailed plan second backed with assurances that the project can be completed.
  4. Anybody can be a project stakeholder.
  5. Project management expertise equates to good reputation.

What To Do Before A Trade Show: Exhibitor Tips For Entrepreneurs And Small Business Owners

Trade shows, when done correctly, can be one of the most lucrative ways of earning new business, making new contacts and creating alliances. But to play with the large companies that have million dollar marketing plans, most entrepreneurs need to plan their trade show process. Here are some not-so-common tips to work through before signing up for and attending a trade show as an exhibitor.

List What Needs To Be Accomplished At The Trade Show

Why is being a part of a trade show important to the business? This is the kind of question that needs answering before even considering which trade show to exhibit with. The more specific the needs, the better, because then they can be measured, achieved and added to next year’s list. Some ideas:

  • Checking out the competition;
  • Testing new items, services, ideas or concepts;
  • Connect with difficult to locate customers or business peers;
  • Find sales representatives that can either sell product lines for the business, or connect with to sell their product lines;
  • Create customer recognition for the business name or brand;
  • Meet current and potential customers;
  • Sell products or services;
  • Create a lead-rich mailing list.

Perform A Quick Cost Benefit Analysis Before A Trade Show

A break even analysis is a relatively straightforward process, so there’s no reason for an entrepreneur not to write up a quick one while reviewing trade show options.

Choose The Right Trade Show

One of the most important trade show tips is knowing which ones to take part in. To ensure that the right one makes it to the final cut, ask a lot of questions such as:

  • How many exhibitors have attended in the past? Customers?
  • What is the target market for this specific trade show?
  • How many years has this trade show been held, and in what locations?
  • Are competitors allowed to exhibit at the same event?
  • What publicity and advertising efforts will be made?
  • Is there a list of previous exhibitors to review?

Attend Trade Shows As A Visitor

Before committing to a specific event, try attending in person as a visitor or customer first. See what other exhibitors are doing, and what customers are naturally attracted to. Look at the prime locations and which spaces aren’t desirable because of traffic flow. Investigate what people are selling, if they are making sales at their exhibits, and whether or not contests or draws are affecting interest. Finally, which informational packages are drawing the most attention, and how are other competing businesses presenting themselves physically (clothing, grooming, sales people), visually (signs, shows), and emotionally (tone of voice, type of presentation).


Read All Promotional Materials Before A Trade Show

After signing up for the trade show, wait for the promotional materials to be sent: they will likely be lengthy and detailed. Plan to sit down for a few hours to review them all, because trade show paraphernalia can often be overwhelming and a bit confusing. For instance, most trade shows have unionized workers to perform a lot of the menial tasks involved with set up and clean up, so a business owner may not even be allowed to plug in their own computer. Therefore check the fine print, take notes, and call to ask questions where the information isn’t clear.


busniess plan

Business Plans: The Key to Business Success: Advice on Structuring and Composing an Effective Business Plan

A business plan is one of the most important keys essential to business success. As a navigational tool, it can steer entrepreneurs towards growth and profitability

Constructing a good business plan could mean the difference between attracting the right investment for your business idea and establishing a comprehensive guide of what your business would like to achieve with regards to successful growth and profitability; and ending up another statistic with the number of companies that fail before they are even able to spread their fledgling wings.

A Navigational Tool

A business plan is not just a tool to attract investors but is the company’s first strategic planner that will enable the entrepreneur to conduct detailed analysis of financial and organisational assumptions; and by doing so can discover fatal flaws or contradictions that may hamper business success. As the company grows, the business plan must be updated and realigned according to the strategic direction the company would like to take.

Essential Key Elements of a Plan

Initially, writing a business plan may seem daunting and most entrepreneurs reluctantly embark on the task. If the task seems too overwhelming, easily downloadable templates and organisations that offer advice on writing business plans are in service; Professional experts are now offering their services to write business plans for reluctant entrepreneurs. Despite all the different and varying formats, business plans must include the following essential key elements:

  1. An Executive Summary
  2. The Management and Organizational Structure
  3. The Service or Product Offering
  4. The Marketing Plan
  5. The Prospective Financials
  6. The Forecasting Schedule

No part of the business plan is less important or should be less thoroughly researched than another. It remains a solid design of the companies planning and goals, and should be meticulously constructed to the last detail.

Mistakes to Avoid

Despite it being the most important document a new entrepreneur will ever write, most new entrepreneurs fail to understand that their business plan is an extension of the company. A poorly constructed plan will present a negative image to possible investors. Some likely errors that new entrepreneurs should avoid are:

  1. The presentation of a handwritten business plan with poor vocabulary, spelling and grammatical errors
  2. The omission of pertinent information regarding certain facets of your business, due to poor knowledge or lack of facts
  3. Inundating the business plan with industry jargon; on the assumption that the investor is an expert in the chosen industry of business
  4. Basing financial projections on costs and revenue on personal bias rather than on industry knowledge and research
  5. Failing to record progression timelines, negative facts and prospective competitors in order to present a rosy view of your company’s proposed success

A business plan has no timeframe, no set defined number of pages and is not rigidly fixed to today’s industrial conditions; but is a fluid document that will evolve with the company and provide a very valuable point of strategic reference for future growth and profitability.