In today's fast-paced age of cyber-technology, it's all too easy to overlook the human element of business: people. Cultivating relationships is an important part of any business, and floor covering installation is no exception. E-mail and Web sites are useful tools, but there is no substitute for networking with industry peers in person. This thought came to mind as I was planning my travel schedule for the upcoming year. After attending one major show, Surfaces, held each year in Las Vegas, and preparing for another, Coverings, which is held in Orlando, I feel more than ever that these shows are beneficial not just for distributors and retailers, but for installers as well.
Our industry has several key trade shows, and several other conventions held by the various floor covering associations. These shows allow visitors to keep on the cutting edge of installation products and technology, as well as forming valuable relationships with suppliers, retailers, and others in the floor covering retail and installation market. If you regularly attend these events, you're probably already aware of their benefits, but if you haven't attended before, now is a great time to start. Following are some key events in our industry, and how to get in touch with them for more information.
CFI, the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association, Inc., will hold its annual convention August 14-16, 2003, in Kansas City, Mo. at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. This is a great opportunity to network with some of the best installers in the business, and see the latest installation products and tools. For more information, call (816) 231-4646 or visit the CFI Web site at www.CFIinstallers.com.
The Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA) will hold its 9th annual convention and trade show September 11-14, 2003 at the Hyatt Regency at Reunion Tower in Dallas. For more information, call (817) 326-2615 or visit the FIANA Web site at www.fiana.org.
The National Tile Contractor’s Association (NTCA) will hold its annual conference November 14-16, 2003, at Marriott's Grand Hotel Resort in Point Clear, Ala. This show, which is held jointly with the Ceramic Tile Distributor's Association (CTDA), will feature educational seminars led by industry experts, motivational speakers, and networking activities. If you involved with ceramic tile installation, or want to become involved, this is a great place to make connections and increase your knowledge. For more information, call (800) 938-2832 or visit the NTCA Web site at www.tile-assn.com.
Another great way to network is through FCI's online bulletin board, www.i-boards.com/bnp/fci/. There you can post any installation-related question you might have, read other installers' questions and responses, and participate in discussions about all aspects of the floor covering installation business. If you haven't visited the bulletin board yet, what are you waiting for?