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Battelle Develops Self-Healing Smart Beads that Detect and Repair Corrosion

Battelle corrosion detecting microbeadsBattelle scientists have developed a tiny bead, the Battelle Smart Corrosion Detector bead, that not only detects corrosion but delivers a payload to help heal the microscopic cracks that rust creates.

Strong Relationships Within Concrete Industry are Key to Successful Ventures

Strong Relationships Within Concrete Industry are Key to Successful Ventures We live in a time where so much of our business, for better or worse, is conducted electronically. On the positive side of the ledger is the fact that information can be searched and retrieved at the speed of a simple mouse click.

How To Navigate the Craziness of Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting questionsInformation has become the currency of the 21st century. Just look at how fast and easy obtaining information has become. Most of us can access the world from a hand-held phone or PDA. In contrast, it seems like providing basic information when you're the one asking the question can be like pulling teeth.

Materials Scientists Make Martian Concrete

Martian ConcreteA research team has created a form of concrete that, remarkably, can be made without water and using materials that are widely available on Mars.

Beat the Heat with Evaporation Retarders

Doug Carlton using evaporation retarder on a concrete slabWinning the battle with Mother Nature becomes a little challenging when the weather heats up. This is also the same time our services are in highest demand. There are ways to combat the heat and the challenges it creates, but few are profitable.

Decorative Surface Solutions Group is First Buying Group for Flooring Industry

grey concrete floor in corridorSuppose your little decorative concrete flooring business suddenly could make deals as if it were a coast-to-coast firm?

Surviving the Game of Business By Capitalizing on Every Opportunity

Football players playing the sport they love.Our industry, like football, has seen advancements. One visit to the World of Concrete conference will confirm this. But think about this for a second. Every job, whether in Texas or Dubai, has at least one thing in common. Finishing the job still comes down to a human and a shovel. As complex as our industry is, it still comes down to a tool that sits in every work truck across the globe.

Listening to Your Customers Pays Off in the End

Listening to your audienceBeing successful in business, as in life, is knowing when to be right, and when to allow the other person their thoughts and views, especially when the “other” person is a potential or existing customer.

Training and Education is Good for One and All

Decorative Concrete Trainer talking with an attendee at a trade show at Brickform last summer.Decorative concrete done well, and properly maintained, is long-term free advertising. It’s like having a huge billboard on the side of the road showcasing your work.

The CSDA's New Concrete Texture Standard and What it Means for Polished Concrete

ST115 is a new standard for the concrete polishing industry that was adopted in fall 2013 by the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association (CSDA).ST115 is a new standard for the concrete polishing industry that was adopted in fall 2013 by the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association (CSDA). The standard explains in detail how to measure the texture of a concrete surface by using a texture meter.

Build Your Business on a Foundation of Innovation

Two people shaking hands at the Concrete Decor Show.For your decorative concrete business to grow, it must be built on a foundation of innovation. If you don’t do so, you will find it increasingly difficult to create lasting value for your business and your customers.

Concrete Decor announces changes in magazine sales force
How to Market Your Decorative Concrete Services to General Contractors

How to Market Your Services to General ContractorsPitching to the GC is relatively direct — enjoy a free lunch and explain what decorative concrete is all about. A sampling of opinion from a handful of other contractors turns up some interesting — you might even say unorthodox — approaches to this matter of communication with the general contractor.

Trade Shows: What's in Them for You?

man at tradeshow with attendeeThe decorative concrete industry is a niche market with a lot of players competing for work. An internet search for “decorative concrete contractor” will bring up nearly 3 million entries, and “concrete artisan” generates nearly 1 million. In local phone books, however, there are typically no such entries.

Teaching Decorative Concrete in Universities

Concrete Industry Management (CIM) Programs are teaching decorative concrete in universities across the country.Concrete Industry Management (CIM) Programs are teaching decorative concrete in universities across the country.

How to Keep Your Business Up in a Down Market

A graph of arrows going up and down.Analysts have been dissecting the residential and commercial construction industry for months, and though some predict a rebound soon, no clear end to the rollercoaster ride is in sight. But as many in the decorative concrete sector have discovered, a change in the market doesn’t necessarily mean a dramatic decline in business.

Cement Has Now Been Successfully Reinforced Using Plastic Waste

plastic-reinforced concreteResearchers have successfully reinforced concrete with plastic waste, paving way for the first large-scale sustainable construction practice.

Historic Mazza Castle Restored and Repaired for Next 100 Years

Mazza Castle restoration projectEmily McCloskey, the young wife of attorney and Irish immigrant Henry Harrison McCloskey, had grown deathly afraid of earthquakes after the “great earthquake” of San Francisco and the subsequent fire that killed 500 people and left 220,000 homeless in 1906.

New Ways to Sell Decorative Concrete

A sealed pool deck can be sold to a customer with a proper explanation of the process and outcome.As adults we learn to communicate using our words when we want and need something. The use of certain words can change the entire intention of what someone is trying to say. For those who sell and install decorative concrete, when was the last time you thought about how words influence your client's thought process regarding their decision to buy your products or services?

How to Get the Job Without Being the Low Bid

swimming pool surrounded by beautiful concrete floorWe’ve all had the phone call with a client where he lets you down gently, saying thanks, but some other contractor came in with a lower number. Sometimes it’s best to just write off those lost jobs, but how do you get the jobs you really want without having to be the lowest price?

Getting the Most Out of Decorative Concrete Educational Opportunities

Group of people learning from Fu-Tung Cheng in a training course.The cold truth is that our industry has seen its share of truly talented decorative concrete individuals fail, and it’s not because they weren’t good at their craft. Today’s artisans must be more than talented — they must be capable of overlaying talent with an entrepreneurial spirit. That's where training and education comes in.

Expectation Management Should Be Part of Conversation with Customers

Have you ever been in the process of completing or had just completed what to you was an amazing architectural concrete project only to be told by your client:Have you ever been in the process of completing or had just completed what to you was an amazing architectural concrete project only to be told by your client:
“It’s not what I was expecting.”
“Meh! It looks kind of ‘blah.’ I thought the color would ‘pop’ more.”
“I don’t like it.”

World of Concrete 2014 Most Innovative Products Award winners announced
How to Make Maintenance Work for You to Increase Profitability

guy on ride on polishing machineConsumers, often blown away with the low prices of desktop inkjet printers, forget to consider the additional cost of ink cartridges which put many of them on a first name basis with the folks at the office supply store.

Net Benefit and Increasing Your Value to Customers

Valuable products get your customers to see thatYour product is valuable. You know it. You hope your customers know it. But how can you be sure? How can you ensure that your product benefits your customers and, in so doing, benefits your company?

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