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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Educate Yourself

Jimmy Fand is the perfect example of a new American who understands what a person can do with their life in this country.   More...

Key Question:


When did Jimmy he arrived in New York City he knew he was lacking education so he went to college and eventually became a teacher.

Q:  What kind of education is best to prepare a person for business ownership?

A:  The National Federation of Independent Business Owners says that 40% of owners have a high school degree or less and that 50% have parents who own, or have owned a business, and, more that 50% start their businesses in industries in which they already have job experience.

There is also research that shows college and graduate school can discourage people from starting a business.  We think the more education the better but the key to success is the idea which is proven out by the life of Bill Gates.

A basic education plus experience in the field in which you want to operate seems to be the best formula for success.

Think about it

What industry do you want to work in?  Do you have experience with the best players in that field?  If not, how could you get experience?

Clip from: Tile Connection - Jimmy Fand Sources Globally

Tampa: Meet Jimmy Fand and his wife, Maria. They were shopping for ceramic tile for a new home. Jimmy thought the selection in the USA was too limited and the prices were too high. So unlike most people, they started a business!

Their business, simply called The Tile Connection, is the largest North American importer of several tile manufacturers through Europe and South America.  Jimmy was born in Columbia (South America),  traveled the world extensively, and speaks Spanish, English, Italian and Portuguese. Jimmy came to New York City when he was 19, completed three university degrees, and became an American citizen. He met his wife, a Cuban-American.  They're a global people and they encourage us all to source globally!

The Tile Connection

Jimmy Fand, CEO

5906 Johns Rd
Tampa, FL 33634

Office: 813-885-2219

Business Classification:
Construction, Specialty Retail

Year Founded: 1991

Educate Yourself

HATTIE: Hi. This is SMALL BUSINESS SCHOOL, and I'm Hattie Bryant. In the next 30 minutes, you'll learn how one small-business owner has quietly and with precision planning grown his import business based in Tampa, Florida. We're the place to be if you want to understand how business works from the ground up. Our marketing advisor is with us; we'll hear from a viewer; and I'll show you what landed in my mailbox straight from cyberspace.

Every week we take you into a Master Class. This is a chance for you to meet and hear, in some detail, how one small-business owner started a business and how that business has grown into a solid entity. This is a how-to program, but there won't be any recipes put up on the screen, because there is no formula for success in business. There are only principles which you can apply. We think the best way for you to grow your business is to see how other people do it. So now meet Jimmy Fand, a master at business.

(Voiceover) One couple thought Tampa would be the perfect place to raise a family and, at the same time, build a business. Anyone can shop at The Tile Connection. However, most of the business is wholesale to the trade. Jimmy and Maria Fand are importers offering a huge selection of styles, sizes, colors and prices. Want to walk on it, cook on it, shower in it, be surrounded by it? They've got it.

JIMMY FAND (The Tile Connection): This particular tile is an actual replica of a real marble called whicara marble. You can see the veining through the surface of the area. It's a high-gloss finish, which is very popular to Florida, the Asian countries as well as the Latin-American countries. And it was named after us--this particular style is named Tampa because of our location in Tampa. And a very beautiful line. This is an 18-by-18 inch style, which in many parts of the country is considered huge. For us, it's a standard size today.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Jimmy came to the US from Colombia; Maria, from Cuba. They met in New York City, then moved to Florida to raise their children.

JIMMY: I came to the States when I was 19 years of age. I'm self-made, did my studies in New York. It's a city that made me educationally as well as everything else. I feel a New Yorker deep at heart.

HATTIE: But why did you leave Colombia?

JIMMY: The reason I left Colombia was that I was a high school dropout in the first place. I dropped out of school when I was 14, something I hope my kids never do, and I went traveling. I had a dream of going to every country in the Western Hemisphere, which I was able to accomplish. But that was not fulfilling to me. I needed to learn more and to be something, someone in life, and that's the reason that when I arrived in New York I decided to go back to school and did all my education there.

HATTIE: And you said that when you arrived in New York, you felt as if you were home.

JIMMY: Yes, I did. New York, to me, since the first minute I saw the city, it was a place that I identified with, and it was a place that fulfilled my expectations. It was the most incredible, exciting city that I've ever been to.

I was a teacher in New York City, but I didn't want to raise my family in New York. And we came to Florida. And, finally, we found this paradise area and decided to be in this industry.

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