Learning from peers is a trait many successful countertop shops share. The surface industry is well suited for this, because you don’t compete with companies like yours who are in different geographies. That lack of competition helps motivate business owners in this industry to share their knowledge quite freely with their peers – at least when those peers are in different markets.
There are many ways to connect with your peers. For example, this week, Harry and I will be participating in a “Digital Stoneworking Expo” hosted by Park Industries in Minnesota (if you’re coming, please say hi!). Along with other key software vendors in our industry, we’ll be discussing how fabricators can adopt a digital shop.
Most of the education for the day doesn’t come from vendors – it comes from other fabricators. In fact, the last time I attended such an event, I heard multiple people say that their primary reason for attending was simply to meet other fabricators – peers in different geographical markets. Regardless of how big your company is, consider attending industry events like these and trade shows like StonExpo and Coverings – if for no other reason than to make these types of one-on-one connections.
Another way to connect is by leveraging industry associations like ISFA. We have several customers who leveraged the ISFA Million Dollar Mentor program and consider it life changing. Become a member and contact ISFA for more information. Many people consider mentoring to be incredibly rewarding as well, so if you’re an industry veteran, consider helping out those who are aspiring to reach your level.
If you want a less formal way to connect with your peers, consider participating in online forums like Stone Fabricators Alliance and The Fabricator Network. It takes very little time and effort to get started, yet online communities can be quite helpful, as this post describes.
Helping stone fabricators learn from their peers is also the goal of our new podcast, StoneTalk. In each episode, we’ll interview someone of interest to fabricators – and more often than not, that will be other fabricators (if you’d rather read than listen, we’ll publish the transcripts at moraware.com/stonetalk a week or so after each episode airs).
The eagerness to learn from peers is something I really admire about this industry. If you’re not currently listening to and learning from your peers, you might want to think about some of these channels for doing so. If I missed an important way of connecting, please let everyone know in the comments below!