Leadership Letter: Leveraging your opportunities
 
March 1st, 2006

March-April 2006

This is a remarkably busy season for the tile industry. There is the flurry of industry shows—Surfaces, Cevisama and Coverings—and the need for those of us in attendance to maximize our time, meeting with established vendors to maintain those relationships, searching out new products, leveraging educational opportunities, and often running our businesses from afar while we do so.

At CTDA we have also been very busy

First, the Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson (CCTS) examination will be pilot-tested at Coverings. CTDA developed the CCTS program with the help of Southern Illinois University’s Department of Workforce Education and Development. The CCTS program is the first and only program specifically designed by and for ceramic tile salespeople. Certification offers you a way to differentiate your business from others.

We all need to be on top of our business—to know what’s happening. One way, of course, is to read TileDealer. Another is to attend industry events like Coverings.

Coverings is the premier international trade show and conference dedicated to showcasing tile and natural stone. This is our chance to see, touch and handle new materials. To talk with vendors about what they can offer our business and our customers. We all need to know what’s new now and what will be new later. Nothing replaces walking the show floor.

But there is much more to Coverings than the exhibits. Dozens of seminars and speakers are scheduled to help you do business better. These events are planned for industry professionals like you to learn more about products, installations, trends, and running your business. Not taking advantage of these opportunities is like walking the show with your eyes closed. You’re missing half the substance.

CTDA has developed the distributor and retailer seminar track. Here’s just a sampling of the schedule:

• Improving Your Warehouse Safety: Have you made safety part of your corporate culture? Is it everyone’s job or do you assign a few employees to be safety specialists?

• Ceramic Tile Showroom Design and Sales: Seminar leader Patti Fasan will lead you through some simple concepts to transform any showroom into a flooring fashion center.

• Taking Control of Your Business: Al Bates talks about the issues that really drive performance and how to take your business from typical to high-profit.

• The Growing Concern About Mold: Learn about the latest technology to prevent mold, installation techniques to stop it before mold becomes a problem, and the status of insurance issues and the potential for expensive mold claims.

Coverings is also a remarkable networking opportunity. Everyone there is in the same business you are—they have the same questions and some of them already have the answers. Experience is invaluable—whether you’re tapping your own or someone else’s.

I think CTDA members have a real advantage at industry events like Coverings. First, our association relationships encourage us to meet and network with distributors and manufacturers throughout the industry. It’s easy to leverage this networking into better business relationships. CTDA events at Coverings also offer the opportunity to “level the playing field” among competitors large and small. We are, after all, in the same business and sharing many of the same challenges.

But, before you pack your bags and head for Orlando, there’s no time like the present to start leveraging your educational opportunities and this issue of TileDealer has important information you can use now.

For example, the cover story and Installer’s Update tackle mosaics. They may be tiny tiles, but as you know they are increasingly popular on their own or installed in combination with other materials. Take a look at what’s available today and then consider some of the installation requirements for mosaics.

As I said, there’s a lot going on in the industry. CTDA, TileDealer and Coverings are great tools to help you manage it!

Mark Carlson
CTDA President

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