Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009!!!

Happy New Year! I have to admit that I'm not really sad to see 2009 pass into the night with a new year and new hopes on the horizon. 2009 was a hard year for many, but even though many struggled, many grew as well. Hard times test us and often help us see what's really important in our lives.

Since this year is almost gone as I write this, I thought it might be a good use of my time to review what I've written over the past year and point you back to some of may favorites. Here is a list of some of the posts that stood out to me:

Setting Beauty Shears

How to Bend Shear Handles

A Day of Training with Jim - Warning shameless self promotion here! At least I didn't write it! :)

What to Watch Out for When Buying Equipment or Picking a Trainer

Keep the Screw from Backing Out

Dress Up Your 200 Series Wolff Shears

Squeaky Wheels

Restoring a Shear on the Wolff Hira-To®

Repairing a Hollow Ground Thinning Shear

Ookami Gold® Convexing Clamp

All of my Interview Videos on YouTube

Let me know if you think I missed any. I look forward to sharing more with you in 2010 and hope you find this new year is one filled with health, good friends and family. See ya in 2010!!

Image: optical_illusion

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from Santa's Sharpener Helpers!

I'd like to take a moment and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It been my pleasure to help you over this past year. I knew David and Glen at Wolff felt the same, so for your enjoyment we decided to visit our buddy Santa and put this little video together for you. Enjoy!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

SwagClub! That's Right! I Said It!

Is making an impression really important? Do you make good impressions every day? How do you do it? How can you do it consistently? Well I have a great example of how an independent business person can not only consistently make a good impression, but also make you feel like you're the most important person in his or her business world. That example is Kamran Popkin.

Now just so you know, I've worked with Kamran for years. He was the print salesman Wolff delt with until he started Swag Club. Kamran now provides us with great swag (aka business promotional tools). All of the items I'm about to show you are gifts from him over time and related to what he does.

So what makes Kamran so special? Is it that he puts his customer's needs first? Yes! Is it that he strives to put together programs that "fit" his customers marketing needs and doesn't just "take orders" like so many people do in his line of work? Absolutely! Is it that he never wears socks? Well...maybe a secondary yes on this one. What makes Kamran REALLY special is the relationships he builds with each of his clients. They aren't customers to him, they are friends and colleagues. How does he put this into action in a way that benefits both him and his clients? He listens and shares. Let me give you some examples:

Kamran Knows What You Like
I love to read and write. I especially love to read about sales and marketing because that's what I do. Here are two examples of how Kamran has taken his knowledge of my likes and created an experience for me.

The two books in the upper left corner are just two of the books Kamran has given me over the years. He doesn't buy books for me, he reads them (he loves to read too) and then shares them with me when he finds one he knows I'll like.

The journal is my Christmas gift this year. It will stay on my shelf and become my personal journal for 2010. I will think of him every day as I record life moments in it. This is a precious gift to me because I intend to pass all my journals on to my children one day.

Kamran Knows How to Say Thanks
Earlier this year I spoke at Social Media Club in Spartanburg. Kamran and I are both members. A few days after my presentation, I found this note on my desk...

Kamran had taken the time to stop by and sneak a short thank you note for speaking into my office while I was working in the back. It came sealed with his Maker's Mark Seal and a little gift. This was totally unexpected and really made me feel great!

Kamran Listens
If you read my blog, you know I like to use the micro-blogging site called Twitter. Kamran and I follow each other there. While on a trip to Atlanta a few weeks ago, I noticed a sticker on the back of a car that said, "Wag more, bark less." I thought it was a good point, so I passed this bit of advice along on Twitter. (Not while driving BTW!) Kamran showed up at my office with a smile and this a few days later...

Kamran Looks
The fact that Kamran looks around for opportunities to make an impression netted me my favorite Swag gift to date. My new mouse pad!

The old one was beat to death. Kamran noticed it was old, asked why I was still using it, and then said, "I have something better!" He ran out to his car and came back with the mouse pad above. Now I get to look at three of my favorite people every day as I work.

Now I could go on and tell you about the Bibles he sent to all my children at their births, the pens, pads, and more; but I need to get to the point. How can Kamran's example benefit you?'s simple. Emulate what he does!

While you're out running your route and sharpening for the day, think the Kamran way. Wow! We could make a little jingle out of that! :) Here's what I mean:

1. Find out what your customers like. Not just what they like business-wise, what they like on a personal level.
2. Look for chances to say thanks. Even a little note goes a long way!
3. Keep your ears open. What are your clients talking about? How can you show you're paying attention to them personally as well as professionally.
4. Keep your eyes open too. Think about the mouse pad. It's handy and Kamran's info is emblazoned on it. What could you give your customers that would meet a need and keep you in front of them? I'm sure Kamran would have some great ideas!

Take the time to build relationships as you work, not JUST a service. Kamran is a great example of how you can make yourself valuable to your customers on a whole new level that will make you stand out from the crowd. I don't love Kamran because he gives me things. I love Kamran because he's my friend, because he treats me like a brother, because he cares. And because of these things, guess who I will ALWAYS go to when it's time to buy swag!

Want to see that I'm not the only person Kamran has made an impression on this year, check out my friend Olivier's blog. He got the coolest calendar from Kamran, one of the most unique I've ever seen. Kamran gave one to David Wolff too. What kind of impression did it make? It's on David's "Special Shelf" in his office!

So...what are you doing to make a good impression?

If you're interested in contacting Kamran, here is his contact info:

Don't be afraid to call him! He can help any business big or small and NEVER pushes. He really does put you needs first!

PS - Hey Kamran! I know we're not supposed to talk about Swag Club, but you know I like to break the rules! :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let Them Eat...Metal???

A little over a year ago I posted about a video I use in a number of my classes. I'm posting about this again because I noticed the other day that the old link I had in last years post was broken.

This is a video Alton Brown did for Shun® knives; an excellent Kai product by the way. In this video Alton uses a very simple, but powerfully descriptive metaphor to explain how metal is mixed together to make these impressive knives. The metaphor involves cake, and is an excellent example of something you could use to explain metal mixes if you're ever asked to speak at a school or other similar venue. Take a look at the YouTube video below:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Live Streaming a Repair

I'l be streaming live for a bit today. I got a challenging shear in that a sharpener asked me to look at. It has a blown out plastic ride, weak ride line and rounded tips. Should be fun.

I'll be taking some pictures and shooting some video while I do the repair. Come watch me work. You can watch here by clicking in the box in the right sidebar, or you can visit my ustream page at:

PS - the picture is a little over the top. Just having some avatar fun on :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Little Singing Sharpeners?

Howdy! This is just a heads up for anyone that hops on the blog tonight. You may find that I'm live streaming while here. I'll be streaming the youth choir at my church this evening from about 6 until 7 pm. My children are in this production, but so are some kids that belong to a friend of mine. This friend is serving our country as a chaplain in the US army. I'm streaming live via my Jim Sharp channel so he can watch his little ones. You're welcome to join us if you're on at that time, just click on the box in the right hand sidebar. I just wanted to explain why I'm showing a youth choir program on a sharpening channel. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Hira-To® Website Up and Running

The new Hira-To® website is up and running! WooHoo! Please take a look and let me know what you think. The link is below:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ookami Gold® Convexing Clamp

I am often asked how the Wolff Ookami Gold® Convexing Clamp works. Here is a video that shows how this accessory for the Ookami Gold® Scissors Sharpening System functions, and includes three methods you can employ when sharpening with this fixture. If you have questions about this clamp, feel free to call me at 864-909-3381 or email me at