News & Press: President's Letter

July 2020 President's Letter

Friday, June 26, 2020  
Posted by: Trish Moss
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Social media – a valuable resource for running your business

 

I recently had a conversation with a social media influencer on tile-related sites. I called to ask what topic was most frequently being discussed online. Right away, she responded that people wanted information on managing their businesses profitably and efficiently. The hunger for business knowledge was as prevalent as requests for technical data installation professionals were seeking to support their complex projects. People are asking for ways to support the business side of their labor and getting paid for their product. That product is the art being produced every day by skilled craftspeople. 

Many great tile installers are artists working on their particular canvas. The artist controls their canvas to achieve a desired outcome. Executing a successful tile project is like preparing a long line of dominoes arranged in a complex pattern. Each domino needs to be carefully placed to achieve a desired outcome. If one of those dominoes is out of place, the results change. Once the pattern starts to go wrong, it is extremely difficult to recover and snatch away other dominoes to stop the rest from falling out of sequence. It is a unique person that knows which dominoes to remove to stop the rest from producing an undesired outcome.

It was offered that the control required for the precise application of tile reflects a personality that wants (needs?) to control all outcomes. While that characteristic is beneficial for a superior tile installation, it may not translate well when you are trying to build relationships or communicate with clients, suppliers or vendors important to your business. The artist and the manager typically have different skills specific to different requirements. Those skills are not often possessed by the same person.
 
This presents an interesting dilemma. It is also a great explanation of why many talented craftspeople do not want anything to do with managing a construction/installation business. They are not well suited for it. Dealing with the minutiae of logistics, training and motivating personnel while managing details often out of their control is a frustrating nightmare for the artist/craftsperson personality.

Social media provides access to a vast amount of information about running your business. It is a resource for learning and improving your business management skills. This information was not so easy to come by even a few years ago. As an NTCA member, you have access to the NTCA Business Manual and NTCA University. Even those who find traditional ways of learning appealing will be surprised at support and interaction available at many online sites. You have access to real-time support through chat or similar support. Tile-related online groups are eager to teach anyone who wants to know more about both the installation and management sides of the industry. They affirm good practices while highlighting why you may want to reconsider some of your existing practices. You can participate publicly, or if you choose – like many – you can read along and participate anonymously.

These sites mix a splash of cool personalities and relatable presenters with information delivered in a convenient format available almost any time you want it. You will often read comments about how the information is helping take them to the next level by showing how to manage their business, while they sell their value. There is information that will help you get more for your valuable expertise, and the quality of content continues to improve. There is always more to know. You need to be as sharp at both ends of the pencil: business manager and craftsperson. 

Chris Walker
NTCA President
Vice President, David Allen Company
Chairman, ANSI A-108
Chairman, US TAG ISO TC-189
Board of Directors ABC-VA
Voting Member TCNA Handbook
Voting Member 
NTCA Reference Manual
chriswalker@davidallen.com