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Al's Column: Top 10 tips for tile, stone maintenance

September 11/18, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 7

By Rod Sigman

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMIn the nearly three decades that I have been in this industry, there have been tremendous advancements in technology, techniques and craftsmanship. Yet with all the progress that has been made, many problems still exist, including issues and failures directly related to the lack of knowledge and understanding of how critical a role proper care and maintenance play in both insuring a successful installation and maintaining a products function and beauty for the long term.

To this point, ASTM C1528 –02 does a great job of framing this issue as it relates to natural stone. However, many of the same challenges and issues also apply to tile. As the standard states: “In a high proportion of the cases, failure of a natural stone in service is a result of improper application, rather than the inherent properties of the stone. Placing stones in unsuitable environments, faulty fabrication, installation or construction practices and incompatible associated materials are frequent causes of stone system failures…”

This means it is not typically the stone’s (or tile’s) fault but rather our lack of understanding and knowledge about the material; what it will do; how to install or fabricate it; etc., that is leading to failures and problems. Therefore, if we take the time to educate ourselves, employees, customers, etc., then we stand a much greater chance of success.

While there are ANSI and TCNA standards, guidelines and best practices for virtually all aspects of installation from surface prep to grouting techniques, none exist for sealers, maintenance, problem solving and prevention. That being said, it is critical to attend educational sessions—such as those available at TISE—to become aware of the potential pitfalls and challenges and how to avoid them. Topics that will be discussed at TISE include: when to pre-seal tile or stone vs. using a grout release; how hot/cold and or wet surfaces affect the use and performance of sealers; what the function of a sealer is; how using, selling or specifying proper maintenance products and programs can prolong the sealer, the function and performance of the installation itself; and knowing which tile, stone and grout should be sealed.

While this is very understandable up front, most find problems on the back end of the removing grout haze and staining, sealer residue, stains from other trades, hiring restoration contractors to refinish the stone and in some cases ripping out the installation only to have it reinstalled properly the second time. What is seldom planned are the direct and indirect costs (both time and money) associated with not discussing or implementing a good care and maintenance program. Countless meetings, finger pointing and potential lawsuits are all real consequences. The damage to yourself and or your company’s reputation and referral business is never monetized and factored in.

The International Surface Event offers a multitude of classes and opportunities to improve your knowledge, understanding and bottom line. This class is a must for those who are looking to give themselves and or their company an edge over their competition and increase customer satisfaction. We look forward seeing you Jan. 29, at 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., session code MN02. Register today at tisewest.com to review a complete list of programs and activities.

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 3.05.38 PMRod Sigman is business development manager at Custom Building Products, based in Huntington Beach, Calif. The company specializes in floor preparation products and tile and stone installation systems for residential and commercial projects.

 

 

 

 

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Lisbiz Strategies: Put Surfaces on your must-attend list

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Lisbeth CalandrinoThis year I was invited to be part of the educational committee to determine the seminars to be offered at TISE 2018. I have always wondered how the seminars were decided. This year I would not only participate in the process but would learn more about the industry.

Weeks before our arrival, Carol Wilkins, educational director of TISE, sent participants the evaluations of the presentations from the last year as well as the new submittals. We were asked to rate the new ones prior to arriving in Dallas. I must admit at first the task looked overwhelming, so I decided I needed to get right to it. The submittals encompassed all aspects of the industry, including installation, sales, marketing and showroom design—to name a few. This year there was also a submittal for a design competition to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150-year anniversary.

It was great to see all facets of the industry represented as well as experts whom I rarely get to see. After our welcoming dinner the first night, I realized the process was going to be very enlightening. Since there were no “shrinking violets,” there was bound to be plenty of energy and opinions in the room. We all have our area of expertise, but I quickly realized I’m not informed on everything in the industry.

Most impressive was the passion expressed by everyone in the room. I started to wonder, How would we ever get this task done in one and half days? Better yet, How would we know what to use and what to eliminate? There were several newcomers to the industry who came with a different slant. There were a couple of storeowners who gave us firsthand views on what they are experiencing in the industry.

The process went smoothly and the conversation was exciting. The depth of the 2018 seminars is amazing. So what does this mean to retailers?

  1. Stop making excuses for not attending. This is your opportunity to learn from experts in our industry. Look at the seminars and decide which ones are relevant for your business.
  2. Share the education seminars with your staff before you go. You will probably get some useful information from your staff about what they think would be useful for your business.
  3. Bring a store manager, salesperson or trusted advisor. Have them attend as many seminars as possible and share the information when they get back to the store.
  4. Attend seminars with your suppliers. Many retailers depend on their suppliers to help them make decisions. Why not bring one of them to a seminar on trends or redesigning your showroom? You need to know what is going on outside of your trading area.
  5. Choose education over partying. I don’t mean to sound like your mean mother, but you won’t have an opportunity like this for another year. Sure, you like being romanced by your suppliers but if you don’t know how to maximize the products you buy, what good are they?
  6. Learn from other retailers. Many of the seminars include a question-and-answer section, which will allow you to get good information from other retailers.
  7. Attend at least one technology and design seminar. Technology is always changing and some technology is very pertinent to our industry. You can learn what’s working for other retailers as well as how color plays an important part for our consumers.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Al's Column: Protect your assets, reduce your taxes

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Roman Basi

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMThere has never been a better time than now to have a discussion on how to create the best asset protection for your business and reduce the tax liability from both the perspective of the business and personally.

The House Ways and Means Committee continues to forge ahead in its effort on tax reform. In July the committee held a hearing with several small business owners who testified about the effects of the current, albeit complicated, tax code and how the new proposals put forth by a subcommittee as well as the White House would help encourage investment across the country.

Asset protection and tax liability go hand in hand; to achieve one, the other must be properly structured. One of the newest methods for asset protection gaining steam across the country is the advent of the Series Limited Liability Company—a Limited Liability Company that has elected to create multiple divisions (or series) that will operate within the company.

While not all states have created these legal structures yet, the number grows each year. And even if your business operates in a state that does not have such an entity, it is quite possible they will allow one that is registered in another state to be filed as a foreign entity in the state in which you are located. The state of Florida, for example, recently revised its Limited Liability Company Statute. While it does not currently have a Florida Series Limited Liability Company, the state expressly provided for the benefits and protections of them if they are filed as a foreign entity.

With a Series Limited Liability Company, each division can possess its own assets and have its own liabilities; the liabilities of one division do not cross over to another. So, for example, if you have a company that has machinery and equipment, you can create a series that owns the machinery and a separate series that owns the equipment—yet you still only have one company. The main benefit, experts say, is you have divided up any liabilities between the two categories of assets, protected them from each other but still have the simplicity of only dealing with one company.

Reducing tax liability
With the changes in the tax code on the horizon, it is increasingly important to understand the current taxation on your business and if your choice of entity selection will be the best going forward. For example, the House subcommittee is proposing to lower the S Corporation tax rate to a flat 25%, which might help someone who is in a high individual tax bracket but hurt a small business owner who is in a lower individual income tax bracket. To that end, a proper analysis of your current tax structure becomes very important when looking at the tax liability of your company to determine whether you need to consider changing the tax status of the business.

I will discuss both topics—asset protection and reducing your taxes—during my presentation at the International Surface Event (TISE) on Tuesday, Jan. 30, from noon to 1 p.m. I will also be available for free, 30-minute consultations after my education session that afternoon. Visit the TISE website today at intlsurfaceevent.com for the complete education program, event activities and registration details.

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 9.35.04 AMRoman Basi is an attorney and CPA with the firm Basi, Basi, & Associates at The Center for Financial, Legal & Tax Planning. He writes frequently on issues facing business owners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Al's Column: Staying on the same page is key to success

July 31/Aug. 7: Volume 31, Issue 4
By Tom Shay

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.30.26 AMIn many ways, running a business is akin to playing team sports. And we all know what can happen when members don’t behave as if they are playing for the same team. (Perhaps you have seen that sports clip of the defender on a professional soccer team who, in his attempt to pass the ball to the goalkeeper, kicked the ball in the goal to score for the opposing team.)

There may be parts of our business where it can feel like the same thing is happening. By not working together it feels as if we aren’t playing on the same team. One of the places within a business where this can easily occur is the relationship between the owner and the accountant. This relationship is a partnership. Too often the owner thinks his role is to run the business and the accountant’s part is to take care of all “that numbers stuff.” In truth, the owner’s job is to be able to actively participate in the conversation with the accountant.

There are likely to be many decisions made about the business in which the accountant, along with perhaps an attorney, and the owner simply agreed— such as the filing of the business. A business in the U.S. is one of six legal entities—an LLC, “C” corporation, “S” corporation, partnership, sole proprietorships and LLP. One is best for your business with regards to protecting you, as an individual, from lawsuits. Potentially, the right entity could diminish your taxes.

Your business has assets that are subject to depreciation or amortization. There are options as to when either is reported. Doing so correctly can diminish the amount of tax liability in years your business is more profitable. Did you actively participate in how the depreciation was taken? Or did you passively accept what the accountant recommended?

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMWhen you borrowed money for your business, did the accountant and lawyer ask to look at the terms and covenants of the document? (The covenants are the guidelines of how you are required to operate your business for the length of the loan.) The covenants are generally calculated as ratios from your financial statements. Are you aware of what all the requirements are? Do you know how to calculate the ratios? Should these ratios go in the wrong direction, do you know what measures to take to correct it?

Related to these covenants and ratios is the issue of borrowing money. Think of the ratios as being similar to your personal credit score; the better your ratios, the greater the chance you may get the loan at a more favorable rate. The key is understanding how they are calculated and what you can do to improve them.

Has the accountant shown you how to accurately create a cash flow needs projection chart for the next 12 months? Many business owners have experienced a situation where they had an immediate need for cash. Looking around their business they see inventory or supplies that, if converted to cash, would solve the need. They just didn’t see that need when they made the purchase.

The opposite was making a smaller purchase than necessary because of a concern for future cash needs. However, the business found there was enough cash that they could have made the larger purchase. The cash flow projection would have solved both situations.

 

Join Tom Shay at The International Surface Event (TISE) on Wed., Jan. 31, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., in an interactive session, “What Your Accountant is Not Telling You.” Registration for TISE is now open at tisewest.com. For more tips from Tom Shay, visit profitsplus.org.

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Al's Column: Turning ordinary shops into ones that ‘pop’

July 3/10: Volume 32, Issue 2

By Pamela Danziger

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.55.31 PMA recent survey among small businesses conducted by American Express found growth is the No. 1 priority for small businesses, and that means marketing. Of course, online and social media is a given, but it takes more than high-tech tactics to invigorate marketing for small independent retailers—flooring stores included. The real power of marketing a small business comes through the personal experiences it is powered to deliver.

To many retailers’ dismay, however, the traditional marketing practices founded on the four “Ps” model of marketing (product, place, price and promotion) are no longer working like they used to. That is because marketing has been transformed, not by technology and Internet “disrupters” but because the needs, priorities and, most importantly, the mindset of shoppers have all changed.

In order for retailers to be successful in this area, experts believe their marketing efforts must evolve from the traditional four Ps into the four “Es” framework as described by Brian Fetherstonhaugh of Ogilvy & Mather. These are as follows:

Experience replaces product. In today’s retail environment, the shopper experience seals the deal.

Place becomes every place. Retailers cry out for limited, exclusive product, but that only sets up a conflict between product suppliers and the product sellers. Product is available everywhere, so retailers need to make sure every shopper touchpoint communicates the retailers’ special experiential message.

Price is now exchange. The old idea of “Price it low, watch it go” has become a race to the bottom. But the winner of that race ultimately loses. Today shoppers want to understand the value they get in exchange for their attention and their spending.

Promotion evolves to evangelism. Old marketing consists of “in-your-face,” push promotion, which only interrupts and irritates shoppers. Evangelism, on the other hand, is about “pull marketing,” which entails enticing shoppers via word of mouth and other curiosity-building techniques.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMRetailers that understand their success is determined less by what they sell and more by how they sell product are called shops that pop. This is defined by a shop that creates an extraordinary customer experience that includes not just extraordinary products but also extraordinary displays that attract customer curiosity, in-store service that builds customer involvement and prices that offer the greatest value.

Rather than just a store set up to sell stuff, a shop that pops becomes a stage on which the shop owner tells their special story to (and for) the customer. It combines a unique vision with carefully curated products and services delivered in a personalized way. Specialty retailers must play to their No. 1 competitive advantage: their personal touch.

Maya Angelou famously stated, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” and that is the power of personal retailing. It is the kind of personal touch that people shopping for their homes crave. After all, good flooring products are available most everywhere, oftentimes lower than specialty retailers can afford to match. What the best customer prospects are looking for is more than just a product at a low price to cover their floors. They want to patronize a shop that puts them, their needs and desires first—a shop that truly understands them.

 

Pam Danziger is the owner of Lancaster, Pa.-based Unity Marketing. She will be a first-time presenter at The International Surface Event (TISE), where she will discuss “Transforming Your Floor Covering Store into a Shop That Pops!” on Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

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Al's Column: Sharpening your selling skills

February 27/March 6, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 19

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Lisbeth CalandrinoYou can learn a lot about the art of negotiating by watching the TV show “Shark Tank.” If you’ve never watched the program, here’s a brief synopsis: Fledgling entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of self-made millionaires or “sharks” on a reality TV show. The entrepreneurs negotiate with the sharks to obtain money in exchange for a piece of their new company. In addition to working capital, the business owner has access to the sharks’ valuable connections and insight.

Hard-hitting and serious, the sharks go in for the kill, asking numerous questions about the entrepreneur’s business. Questions range from estimated sales projections to net profit and start-up capital. Conflicts often ensue when the sharks ask pointed questions business owners can’t answer. (Why aren’t they better prepared?) Far too many entrepreneurs cave in, forgetting why they are on the show while being grilled. Most owners have an unrealistic value of their business, expect more cash than the business is really worth and don’t know their actual sales numbers.

The common denominator and part of the show’s appeal is both entrepreneurs and sharks want to make a deal. Each episode focuses on key questions such as: Who do you think is believable and why? How are power and influence expressed? What behaviors indicate strength and a true understanding of negotiation?

Each episode has an important lesson. Floor covering RSAs and business owners stand to gain insight from those probing questions and others, including: What is missing in the entrepreneur’s pitch? Do the entrepreneurs understand basic terms such as net profit vs. gross profit? Do they know if they’ve actually made any money?

Furthermore, what does body language, a powerful indicator, tell you about the presenters? Can they stand still during their presentation or are they fidgeting? Do they maintain eye contact? During a sales presentation it’s important to hold the attention of the buyer. What is inhibiting a successful outcome for the entrepreneur? How does it relate to your personal presentations?

Other questions: How important is likeability in the negotiation? Do likeable entrepreneurs get more offers? Is likeability more important than expertise? Does it get you a better shot at closing the deal?

Is the seller being greedy? The seller often walks away after he decides he’s giving too much away. Is it better to hold on to 100% of something going nowhere, or 80% of something with an influx of needed working capital and a good possibility of getting to the marketplace? Or perhaps it is better to take the deal and get to market before someone knocks off your product and you’re left with nothing.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMIs the seller hard to work with? In the end, many of the deals are ditched by the sharks because the owner is difficult, and it’s clear they won’t take direction from the investor. The investors have solid track records, but if the entrepreneur isn’t willing to listen then what’s the point? Who wants to invest substantial sums of cash with someone who won’t listen? The expertise of the sharks is a least as valuable as the investment.

The show demonstrates why it’s so important to remain cool during the negotiation process. It’s easy to get rattled when faced with sharks.

For those contestants who don’t win the sale, there are still valuable takeaways. For example, where did the negotiation go wrong? Was it the right deal for both parties? More importantly, what do you think could have been improved to achieve the desired outcome?

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Al's Column: Guarding against identity theft

January 30/February 6, 2017: Volume 31, Number 17

By Roman Basi

(First of two parts)

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMAs consumers, we’ve all been warned about the perils of identity theft and the havoc that it can wreak on our personal lives in the event our identity is compromised. But as a business owner, the effects can be multiplied exponentially as the financial condition of the operator of a business is inextricably tied to the business.

In part one of this article, I discuss what businesses owners should do to guard their financial lives and make sure they do not become victim to this growing trend.

First and foremost, safeguard your personal and business information. Identity thieves not only access your information through machines, but through means as simple as your trash can or mailbox. Accordingly, make sure you prevent identity thieves from gathering your information before it even comes into your hands.

Watch out for unknown callers or phishing scams. Never give out your computer passwords, credit card numbers, social security number, address or any private information about yourself to an unsolicited email. Also of extreme importance, have your virus software updated frequently. One cyber security expert even recommends purchasing an inexpensive computer to do specifically bank transactions only and nothing else. There are so many viruses, the sad truth is virus software can only catch a percentage of them.

Secondly, view your information in a private manner. Thieves have come up with ingenious, “low-tech” ways to view your information alongside you to have access to it. Sometimes looking over your shoulder when you have information opened on your computer, when you swipe your credit card through a machine, listening in when you read a credit card number or social security number over the line, etc. can be a simple way to obtain your data. Always view and speak your information in private. Locate your computer away from public viewing areas and windows. Also keep your machine off when not in use.

When using a credit card, be careful when you display it. Telephones can take high resolution photos now. If you see someone with a phone around you, be sure to cover your credit and social security cards when using them. Even if you don’t see telephones around, still cover your numbers when the card is out and never leave it in a public area.

Next, “hide” your information. No, I don’t mean under the couch. Keep all critical documents and cards in a secured location after and between viewing them. No system of hiding is fool proof, but naming computer files something other than “Here is all the information you’ll ever want to know about me and my customers” is a good start. Name the files something you would know to look under, such as your dog’s name or something else non-specific to a thief.

Finally, destroy your information. Just because you threw the information out, does not mean thieves are no longer interested in it. Trash cans can be a gold mine to thieves when it comes to robbing you of your valuables. Credit card statements, social security statements, bank statements, customer files, etc. can all be very valuable to a thief. My recommendation is to invest in a shredder, one that cuts in a cross-hatch pattern.

The same principal applies to old computers you might want to discard. Just because your 2007 IBM is obsolete to you and your business operation, it is not obsolete to a thief that wants the information off of it. Bring your computer in to a technician and have the hard drive erased or removed before recycling the computer.

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 3.41.25 PMRoman Basi is an attorney and CPA with the firm of Basi, Basi, & Associates at The Center for Financial, Legal & Tax Planning, Inc. He writes frequently on issues facing business owners.

 

 

 

 

 

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Al’s Column: Five proven LinkedIn tools at your fingertips

November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12

By Rebecca Vertucci

View More: http://nataliemccainphotography.pass.us/rebeccheadshotsLinkedIn has turned into one of the world’s strongest networking tools. But in my years of working for LinkedIn, it seems many of the platform’s best features go unnoticed. Ultimately, I feel this is due to the overwhelming nature of LinkedIn. There is so much to do that it can be hard to know where to focus.

I am part of the “customer success team” at LinkedIn, and I am also a career coach with Vertucci Career Academy. Every day I help clients hire people while helping people find jobs.

Following are some of my favorite LinkedIn tools that many people don’t know about.

Pro Finder. For freelancers, this one is key. In a nutshell, Pro Finder—a new service—connects service-based providers with people who need services. (Search LinkedIn Help ProFinder.) How it works: You can bid jobs and get connected with people who are looking for your area of expertise. It’s a great lead generation tool operating in the background for you.

LinkedIn rolled out a soft launch of Pro Finder in late 2015, and it’s still in the process of being released to all members. Pro Finder is currently only available in the U.S and not yet in every city. However, if you do have access to it, be sure to check it out.

Veterans Tool. LinkedIn is committed to helping service members and veterans succeed in transitioning from their military role to working in the private sector. This particular tool is designed for networking among fellow veterans. Specifically, it’s designed to help connect members coming out of service with veterans who have already found civilian work.

In addition to helping fellow veterans get connected, LinkedIn also has a veterans landing page, which offers a free one-year subscription to a premium job seeker account and Lynda.com to any eligible military and veteran members.

Volunteer Marketplace. Have you ever found yourself wanting to volunteer your skills to local nonprofits but weren’t sure of where or how to start? LinkedIn has you covered. Nonprofits can now publicize skilled volunteer needs. Perhaps they need legal counsel or marketing assistance on a voluntary basis. Well now they can be matched with local legal or marketing professionals looking to volunteer their time and skills to worthy causes.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 3.49.34 PMI often advise people looking to develop new skills to consider volunteering first. Nonprofit organizations can be a great place to help you build your experience or portfolio of projects.

LinkedIn for Students. Although this resource is designed for students, it has applications for anyone and everyone looking to learn more about LinkedIn. Want some great tips on creating your profile? Looking for advice on what to say when networking? Need some job search advice? Users can view videos, tip sheets and articles to find the answers.

When first starting out on LinkedIn, this is an excellent resource regardless of whether or not you’re a student. And when you are ready for advanced tips and tricks, always remember the Help Center has you covered.

The point of LinkedIn is to grow and nurture your network. Utilize these helpful resources to help you identify easy ways to do exactly that.

I hope you found some useful resources you might not have known about before.

 

Rebecca Vertucci is an expert on recruiting, hiring and all things LinkedIn. Her presentation, “Building Your Online Professional Brand,” is scheduled to take place at The International Surface Event on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Visit tisewest.com for more information. Vertucci may also be reached via e-mail at Rebecca@VertucciCareerAcademy.com. She offers free career consultations for all FlexJobs members.

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Al's Column: Trend forecasts and tips for 2016

March 16/23, 2015; Volume 28/Number 19

By Victoria Redshaw

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 12.51.43 PMFloor covering retailers across the U.S. are focusing more on fashion. Recognizing that flooring is the stage on which their customers’ décor dreams are realized, retailers are beginning to appreciate how their offerings need to connect with paint colors, wall coverings, upholstery fabrics and any other products that have a relationship with flooring in a room scheme.

The smart retailers subscribe to interior design blogs, stay up-to-date on the latest editions of home magazines, regularly visit furniture stores and interiors exhibitions, or even hire interior designers as part of their sales teams. This gives retailers a great understanding of what is popular now. But how can retailers begin to understand what is going to be trending next?

As a trend forecaster I spend my days focused on the future of design—the colors, textures, patterns, materials and styles consumers will desire and the reasons driving those tastes. I present our trend forecasts to manufacturers around the world so they will know what to design and produce for upcoming seasons. In fact, our forecasts give a view of up to three years into the future. This information can also be used by retailers.

Trend forecasts enable flooring dealers to make informed decisions about what the right product will be for customers, helping them plan ahead.

With all of this in mind, here are my top flooring trend tips for 2016:

  • Hyper natural: This relates to wood styles that flaunt the natural imperfections and grain character of the raw material. Far from wanting engineered perfection, consumers will increasingly seek to surround themselves with products that bring them closer to nature, and that look and feel authentic. The desire for a natural, rustic appearance does not only apply to solid wood flooring; laminates, inkjet-printed porcelain and incredibly realistic LVT can also satisfy this desire.
  • Gray: This is not a fad fashion color, but a new classic color with customer appeal that will continue for many years. Wood and wood-look flooring in gray tones can be used to instantly provide the foundation for on-trend industrial or urban styles and a myriad of modern styles from Scandinavian to new minimalism. Of course, concrete also fits into the gray color family, and just as with the hyper-natural trend, it does not necessarily need to be the “real thing.” High-definition, inkjet-printed porcelain tiles give end users the desired concrete look with the performance and durability of porcelain tile.
  • Reclaimed: Products that have a story to tell, have been previously used and are repurposed or vintage resonate with consumers. In flooring this equates to a distressed appearance with signs of wear and aging. It is a timeworn aesthetic that hinges on a weathered look and also advocates the mixing of varied woods and/or wood tones across a floor.
  • Mixed-width formats: In line with the trend for reclaimed flooring styles comes an interest in incorporating a mix of plank widths across a floor. This move away from uniformity is an important trend for 2016.
  • Dark and blonde wood: Both dark and blonde wood tones are currently trending and will continue for several more years, so retailers should be sure to stock offerings at both ends of the shade spectrum. The deep, dramatic espresso tones of walnut give a glamorous heritage look, while blonde tones of oak, maple and ash appeal to customers looking to achieve modern styles.
  • Parquet: The classic herringbone and chevron layouts will be a favorite, but I predict puzzle-like geometrics will also begin to gain the interest of interior designers.