You would be surprised by how many people steadfastly remain unconvinced that there is no free lunch, who believe magic tools create business health and well being. They spend their time looking for magic potions, wands and other no-pain, no-strain pathways to sales and profits.

They're easily recognized. They sit serenely, patiently waiting for business to float in over wide-open transoms, for customers to rush through the doors. Magic wands, they believe, transform messy showrooms, slim inventory and piles of products with little or no appeal into well-displayed, mouth-watering floor coverings which customers fight to buy. In their minds, magic brings in business.

Magic, they swear, takes care of everything. No problem if the staff members have serious knowledge voids. A magic wand offers the cures. It turns bumbling salespeople into master salespeople, inept installers into skilled installers, ineffective owners/managers into knowledgeable professionals. Sounds hard to believe, but you would be surprised at how many are true believers in magic potions.

They feel no need to seriously look into the growing list of training programs for every segment of the industry. They close their eyes to the expanding opportunities to gain knowledge and certification in a variety of areas, including sales, business management, installation - the list goes on. "Who needs this knowledge?" the believers in magic ask.

In their heart of hearts, they believe that unattractive, customer unfriendly businesses are no problem when you have easy-to-use magic tools. Wishing, they believe, will take care of everything.

Where, you might ask, can one find these magic tools? Do they come in a neatly wrapped package? Do you buy them in a department store, drug store, bargain store, from a street vendor, off the shelf like computer software?

Does it make any sense to dedicate time and effort to increasing the skills of every part of the business? After all, far easier to use a magic wand to cause customers to arrive in droves pleading to be sold. No strain, no pain, that's the way to go. A wand turns the amateur into a professional, a skidding business into a lively, profitable operation.

Sounds good, doesn't it? I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it's a pipe dream in which some people at all levels of the industry apparently believe.

Professionalism, always an important ingredient for success, today more than ever makes the difference between success and failure. There is strong, really strong, interest by the consuming public in floor coverings. They are converting that interest into buying, selective buying.

Now is not the time to waste time looking for magical tools. Now is the time to invest in increasing skills and aggressively going out after and promoting business. Accept the proven fact that there's an important difference between what was and what is. Today's customer will not settle for sloppy stores, poor selection and unprofessional personnel and owners/managers.