You’ve been hearing about a recession from television and radio news broadcasts for the past several months. While many industry leaders support the duck-and-cover theory of dealing with slower periods of business, veterans of commerce know that this too shall pass.

Yes, housing starts are down, as is new construction, but remodeling has remained steady. Architects, designers, manufacturers and retailers realize what it takes to stay ahead - innovation. Without the drive for creating, specifying and using trend-setting products, you will ensure your businesses downfall.

Perhaps your client doesn’t care for the latest in porcelain and ceramic tile options. What do you do? Be creative, look at their surroundings. Does their home or business integrate eco-friendly products? Are they into traditional or classic looks? Do they prefer natural or artificial lighting? Have they considered wall tiles as an accent, or a mosaic piece as a wall embellishment? Do they have a backyard, and if so, what can be done to transform it into an outdoor retreat? You get the idea. Open your eyes, check your surroundings, and expand their options through your vision for their space.

One venue that offers such options is Coverings, set for April 29-May 2, in Orlando, Fla. Veer from your comfort zone and explore what all the exhibitors have to offer. Everything from handcrafted and artisanal tiles, mosaics, glass tiles, recycled and eco-friendly products, fashion-inspired designs and textures, large formats, and more will be at your fingertips.

Aside from the exhibition itself are the countless educational opportunities that will be available from top industry leaders and business people. Not only will you educate yourself, but one day, you might be sharing your valuable experience with a potential customer who didn’t think a certain project would be possible. Guess who wins that account, and the confidence of a lifelong client?

Send us your thoughts, your experiences and what you have been doing to ride the proverbial wave. E-mail your comments to me at nalbandiana@bnpmedia.com. I might just share your creativity with TILE’s e-newsletter subscribers. If you haven’t signed up to receive it, now would be a good time so you won’t miss out on the latest news, Web Exclusive features, and more! Just go to TILE Magazine’s homepage at www.tilemagonline.com, and you will see the e-news option.

Keep your eyes open, expand your mind with options you hadn’t considered before, and be open to suggestion - even if critical. These are the keys to success.