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Mind your business!
Schluter Systems and Dal-Tile join forces to support NTCA new member training
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NTCA Assistant Executive Director Jim Olson works closely with associate members who support our training and education programs. In 2022, after many years of discussing how NTCA can deliver a professional business training platform, Andy Acker of Schluter Systems approached Olson with a novel idea. Acker, who spearheads Schluter’s educational programming, suggested that NTCA consider promoting their Mind Your Business workshop to new members of the association.
Schluter Systems is also a preferred vendor for Dal-Tile LLC, and they introduced this concept to Jay Samber, Senior Director of Installation Product Sales. Together, they approached Olson with a concept to offer this two-day training program to NTCA members who had joined the association in the past year as part of a value-added benefit of their membership.
Inaugural class attracts 40 new NTCA members In November 2022, over 40 new NTCA members attended this seminar at Schluter’s training facility located outside of Dallas, Texas. All expenses were paid by the hosts. I was able to attend most of this two-day seminar. Newly-elected NTCA President Sam Bruce and Chairman of the Board Martin Brookes were present for the entire event. The three of us were thrilled with the quality of the programming and the participation and interaction of our members in the workshop.
“It was a great class with lots of interactions,” Brookes said. “Andy put together a very informative curriculum with diving deep into our business and how to be profitable and use the IRS tax codes to your advantage through retirement plans.”
“The Mind Your Business Class was a great foundation to getting your business moving in the right direction,” said NTCA President Sam Bruce. “Anyone can learn or refocus on the principles that are being taught in this class. Schluter and Daltile did a great job with the curriculum. Their support for the NTCA and the industry by offering this class to this group of NTCA Members is invaluable!”
Andy Acker, Schluter Systems, leads a class that covered a range of business topics for new NTCA members who were small businesses and sole proprietorships.
Attendee Aryk Snowberger, Owner of Snowbee Custom Tile in Canton, Ohio, added, “The class was better than I expected! I love that it’s geared specifically for us tile business owners.”
Topics covered in the session, which is geared specifically to tile contracting companies, included developing a business model or company plan to be profitable, financial management strategies, sales strategies, risk management, marketing, and much, much more. A highlight of the sessions included breaking into small groups and sharing thoughts, ideas and experiences and developing a consensus approach to role-playing examples that Acker presented. Friendships were made as contractors from many parts of the country met each other for the very first time.
“My most valuable takeaway was I feel as much as ever like we’re all in this together!” said Snowberger. “When you look to your left and look to your right and you see Andy Acker, and Martin Brookes, and Shannon Huffstickler, Bart – and the list goes on!! [These are] leaders in our industry, and they care about us, they’re just like us – they have been in our shoes!”
No Schluter class is complete without some pampering. Attendee Aryk Snowberger of Snowbee Custom Tile said, “As much as I loved the education, I really enjoyed being taken care of! The hospitality is always good but Schluter really upped their game on this one! Chauffeurs in suits driving me around all week in brand new black SUVs, wining and dining us, taking us on outings in party buses, feeding us till we burst! I really truly felt appreciated and taken care of.” Photo courtesy of Shannon Huffstickler, Schluter Systems.
Networking offered support to small businesses Networking is a major benefit of membership in a trade association. The Mind Your Business workshop accomplished this in many ways. Attendees, many of them sole proprietorships and small businesses, interacted with each other throughout the event. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were more opportunities for everyone to meet each other. As I moved from table to table, I was met with welcoming smiles from everyone, and they expressed genuine appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of something new and educational. Some people expressed to me that it was their first time ever being on a plane!
“The audience came up to me numerous times to say how beneficial this class was,” Brookes commented. “The networking opportunities show how we come together as tile contractors with the NTCA being the conduit.” The success of this initial program has led to further discussion on how it can be expanded moving into 2023 and beyond. As a trade association seeking to find new ways to add value to your membership, I encourage you to strongly consider attending this Workshop if we make it available to you. For more information on joining NTCA, go to www.tile-assn.com and click on “Become a Member.”
An enthusiastic group of NTCA contractor members attended the class to learn about the business part of their business. Photo courtesy of Shannon Huffstickler, Schluter Systems.