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Small shops can make big gains at AWFS fair

The AWFS fair is targeting small shops with its College of Woodworking Knowledge seminar track called "Small Shops Ten & Under."

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The track begins with “Implementing Successful Sales Systems, presented by Rick Hill of OnPoint Sales, from 9-10:30 a.m. (PST) on Wednesday, July 20.

This basic selling seminar, geared for small shops that do not have outside sales people, will help attendees refine their marketing message, qualify prospects, close deals and track sales.

“I tried to title it, ‘If everybody’s got to eat, somebody’s got to sell,’ ” says Hill. “But that didn’t fly.

“There are so many good woodworkers out there who have never had the training or experience on how to sell and promote their products. I’ll try to give them a basic understanding of a sales system. It’s for smaller shops that make a good product. Customers have been coming to them for years, and now they want to get going a little bit but don’t have any idea how to make a list of prospects, how to follow up or to put a system into sales that will help you find new business.

“There will be a section on ‘Is your product even sellable? Is it something the market wants? There will be a questionnaire they can take home with them that they can use as a checklist on what makes a product sellable. There’ll be another section on using a basic paper or software system to track sales. We’ll also cover, if a shop gets to the point where they hire an outside salesperson, how to keep track of how they’re doing.”

Wednesday’s second seminar in the “Small Shops Ten & Under” track is “Think Like an Entrepreneur!”, presented by Karin Iwata of E-Myth Worldwide, which runs from 1-4 p.m.

This three-hour workshop is based on the principles of the bestselling E-Myth books by Michael E. Gerber and will teach attendees how to achieve better productivity, gain a competitive advantage and get more out of life.

In this interactive session, Iwata will share the three key perspectives that drive business decisions and how they can make or break a business. Attendees will be introduced to E-Myth’s powerful business development model, based on decades of hands-on experience coaching and training business owners to succeed.

On Thursday, July 21, Duane Griffiths of Stiles Education will lead a panel discussion on “Automating the Small Shop” from 1-2:30 p.m.

Panelists will include Don Bigelow with software provider Planit Solutions; Craig Sexton, owner of SNX Technologies LLC; Leland Thomasett, owner of Taghkanic Woodworking in Holmes, N.Y.; and Kevin Ward, president of A. Ward Design in Winter Haven, Fla.

"The presentation panel has years of experience in working with woodworkers to incorporate automation into their shops,” says Griffith. “Don Bigelow will provide recommendations on the software that will drive the CNC process. Leland Thomasset is known for his expertise on specifying a CNC machining center and what should be specified to best suit the applications. Craig Sexton and Kevin Ward are practicing woodworkers who have experienced the entire process of automating their shops from making the selection of software and hardware, working through the start-up process and making the investment a profitable venture.

“The 'Automating the Small Shop' seminar is a must attend for any shop that is considering a CNC or in the stages of development the processes."

The track concludes with “Google SketchUp for Woodworkers,” presented by Tim Killen from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, July 23. Killen creates museum replicas of traditional pieces, mainly in American 18th century and Shaker styles, as principal of Killen Wood in Orinda, Calif.

“SketchUp has become very important to me in my building and teaching,” says Killen. “Before, I used standard 2-D CAD systems to develop and present my designs. I could not get views on demand to review details, check the fit-up, see perspective, create exploded views, and try out finishes. SketchUp was a breakthrough that provided a complete full-size 3-D model and enabled these listed capabilities.

“I want attendees to see how this (free software) works, and what you can achieve. I will have a Williamsburg Tea Table with me that I built in curly maple. I started with a picture of the table in a magazine and developed the design in SketchUp. In the AWFS seminar, I plan to show how I developed this design.”

In addition, Killen will cover:

? How to set-up SketchUp for woodworking

? How to start a design in 3-D

? How to develop the design details, assembly, including joinery

? How to create a design using a picture to capture shapes and sizes

? How to develop comprehensive and effective shop drawings, and full-size templates for shop use

? How SketchUp helps develop detailed designs for advanced complex furniture

For College of Woodworking Knowledge registration, visit

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