Networking at trade shows and visiting vendors are great ways to get re-energized and keep your business pace upbeat. It is key when business is slow not to let your spirit get down. Your attitude, whether good or bad, is contagious. So keep your spirits up and others around you will follow.

A great way to energize your team is by taking trips to see vendors, business partners and attend trade shows/educational conferences. Learning about and seeing new products are great ways to stay upbeat. Business trips are opportunities not to be missed.

Training is critical for your business. Each member of your team needs to train in all areas of product knowledge and installation to properly work with your customers. Consider the following scenario: An employee quits your company because they felt they did not have the skills to do a good job. In small companies (under 10 members), this could be a big setback.

Don’t wait too long to bring training to your company. More knowledge will empower your staff to succeed in their jobs. Make sure to invite your vendors into your store to educate your staff about their new products and installation methods/products. Whether these events are held in the morning or after your store closes, these educational get-togethers are team builders and can help bring more sales with fewer callbacks.

Training can also be done via video so that during slow times, your team can enhance their skills. You’ll probably see your sales expand following the implementation of a training program.

NeoCon Showcases What’s New in Commercial

I visited the NeoCon 2010 show last month and the tone was upbeat, positive and offered a great place to see new commercial products. The Merchandise Mart in Chicago was brimming with attendees desiring to see the new products and trends in flooring and furnishings for office, health care, hospitality, institutional and government.

Exhibitors reported seeing more personnel from designers and architectural specifiers than last year, which is a very good sign. They saw some very interesting products, including PURE Contract Carpets’ carpet tile from Beaulieu Group LLC, featuring the TacFast locplate system for an adhesive free installation using hooks and loops; and Bentley Prince Street’s Hollywood Story, Domestic Alchemy, Pershing Square and Astronomie collections.

Pergo rolled out its new commercial laminate flooring line, Pergo Pro, in 5” and 8” wide plank formats in wood and stone looks on a 10 mm core with an aluminum oxide finish. Atlas Carpet Mills’ new Archéologique Collection offers carpet tile and broadloom in six patterns: Ancien, Tarquinia, Anatolia, Parissii, Tausert and Lascaux. The velvety cut pile styles are delicately chiseled with organic and linear loop textures.  

I also got a first look at Invista’s Antron Lumena with TruBlend Fiber Technology, containing up to 30% recycled and renewable content. CBC Flooring showed its new Halo brand of luxury vinyl tile. The company now has 36 wood designs, 42 colorways in stone, and 104 SKUs in its Something Different line.

Johnsonite launched its innovative Metallurgy Collection, a group of metallic designs in rubber tile and wall base in a palette of 12 colors in various shades of gold, bronze, silver and more. The product is offered in 24” tiles with coordinating finishing borders. Look for more about NeoCon products in our next issue.