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In February, we launched a second e-newsletter to share what we do best: inform and entertain professional woodworkers about the news, technology, materials, people and issues that affect you.

So now subscribers can receive our print publication and two e-newsletters every month. But you have to sign up to receive the free e-newsletters. It’s as easy as visiting and filling out the form that asks for your name and e-mail address.

We wanted to offer some unique content in our second e-newsletter and decided on two main components. The first was easy. We’ve been writing about new tools since Woodshop News debuted in 1986, recently averaging six per month. So we thought: Why not give our magazine subscribers a sneak peek at a couple new tools that will be covered extensively in the next issue?

We also wanted a lead story that followed a relevant theme. As Clinton adviser James Carville famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” We came up with the tag line “Recession busters” and plan to offer stories that will help professional woodworkers navigate these tough economic times.

For example, in our debut “Recession buster” e-newsletter, senior writer Brian Caldwell surveyed several pros — most of whom you’ve read about in Woodshop News — to learn what measures they are taking to weather the current economic crisis. Their answers included accepting jobs they otherwise might pass on in a better economy, outsourcing products they’d normally make in their shops to save money, and increasing their marketing efforts.

Both of our newsletters also contain breaking news and the latest blog posts from A.J. Hamler and David DeCristoforo.

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While searching for “Recession buster” story ideas, I came across an organization that has a lot to offer any shop owner. SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, is a great source of free and confidential small-business advice.

From the nonprofit’s Web site,, comes these five recession pitfalls to avoid:

• Cutting expenses too slowly.

Don’t cut expenses a little bit at a time. Now is the time to look at expenses and decide whether your company needs to cut expenses five, 10 or 20 percent. Do what it takes early in the year and bring costs down.

•  Maintaining the same product and service mix.

Your needs are changing. You can bet your clients needs have changed, too. Call your existing clients and ask them what they need. Then design your product service mix around those needs.

•  Reducing marketing instead of focusing on marketing.

The company that stands tall, strong and visible in the marketplace has stature and status. Differentiate with strong marketing to drive leads and sales.

•  Lacking systems to free up your time.

Streamline your business and become more efficient. Use a hand-held organizer to keep track of phone numbers, dates, appointments and meetings. Set a time each week to handle routine tasks, bills and paperwork.

•  Keeping everything to yourself.

Your team knows the economy is tough and wants to understand what the economy is facing and how, together, you can make it through. Lead toward a brighter future by focusing your efforts on today.

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Recently, a reader called to ask what happened to the Letters to Editor department. Was it abolished? Are you too thin-skinned, Mr. Editor? Are you not interested in what the readers have to say?

My answer was no, no and absolutely not. The truth is we haven’t received many letters to the editor in the last several months and you can’t publish what you don’t have. We really value your opinion, whether it’s a critique of a story, your take on a particular woodworking issue, or just to tell us how much you love the magazine (my personal favorite).

Letters can be sent by e-mail to or by mail to Woodshop News, 10 Bokum Road, Essex, CT 06426.

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue.

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