Those are the words I heard from one furniture industry professional after a presentation I gave last week in High Point, North Carolina to members of WITHIT, an organization for women in the home furnishings industry.

Everyone in the audience seemed pretty pleased with what they’d learned and were quite eager to start blogging, showcasing their products and services in a new way and considering all of the other options presented during the session.

The questions came rapidly, which is always a good sign but I also heard lots of questions steeped in reality. Their reality, as told to me after the session by a very major player in the industry includes seeking buy-in from the patriarchs of family-owned businesses, who are on many fronts quite averse to change. . This is no easy task, as some of these patriarchs do not even use e-mail. And for those who do have an e-maill account, getting them to actually open an e-mail can be akin to climbing to the top of Mt. Everest.

So, what professionals in this industry need to do, as did those before them is illustrate the benefits of social media and how it can connect them to existing customers, lead them to new ones and help them create and grow an online brand that is equal to or better than their offline brand.

Just as I learned of the struggles of the non-profit sector last month, I am now very concerned about the plight of furniture industry professionals faced with the curmudgeon factor, that could prove to be a major barrier to entry.

What they may have to do is start making those connections on their own, get out in the social media world and see what happens. Prove that it works on your own, because sometimes you have to forget about permission and ask for forgiveness instead.

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