Barbara Armand, Armand Corporation
Barbara Armand is the founder and CEO of Armand Corporation. For over 25 years, this small, certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise, has been helping their clientele with construction management services with great success. According to the company website, "Local, state and federal agencies along the East Coast, primarily in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia, choose Armand to successfully execute complex construction management and project management projects." This includes multi-family housing, educational facilities, disaster recovery, transportation and utilities projects.
The following is an excerpt from an article that highlights Barbara's insights for other women looking to succeed in a construction business:
BARBARA ARMAND'S INSIGHTS FROM HER ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY:
Create Your Own Opportunities
Before striking out on her own, Armand worked for a large defense contractor that had projects for the U.S. Navy and Marines. In time, she realized she could start her own firm doing the same type of work she did as an employee. So, she asked her current employer if she could be a consultant rather than employee. The employer agreed and the Armand Corporation was launched. Barbara says, “I was the same person at the same desk doing the same job, but I was no longer an employee; I was CEO of my own business.” It was fortuitous that Barbara made that change because the funding for the defense initiative soon dried up and she would have lost that job. Instead, it became the first company listed on her new firm's roster.
Armand learned from a colleague that the city of Philadelphia was providing special opportunities for “certified” minority and woman-owned businesses. She had only been in business for two years, but had all of the necessary documentation to get certified. Once certified, Barbara was made aware of available governmental contracts within her industry. This led to her first big job; demolition of the old JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. Many other firms had turned it down because it was a risky and very complicated endeavor but Barbara's company took on the challenge and succeeded. She recalls, “It was such a relief that everything worked out well and the job was done safely and successfully. It got me noticed and brought in other inquiries.” Minority and women-owned business certification remains available nationwide.
Build Your Business One Job At a Time
Armand says, “I got a boost of confidence from that big accomplishment, so I was picking up anything that came along that I felt like I could handle. I needed to stay afloat and during those first few years, I had to take anything even if I had to outsource certain parts of the job. I had the confidence to take jobs and then figure it all out. Building little by little was the way it had to be. My goal was getting a project that would last more than two months.”
Never Give Up
Armand says, “My finances were a disaster from taking piecemeal projects, but there was no turning back. I never once thought about giving up. It never even crossed my mind. Everyone always said if you can make it past the first five years, you'll be okay. But it took much longer than that milestone for me to feel successful. I went through a stressful divorce that took me six to seven years to recoup financially. It wasn't until year 15 that I started to feel successful.”
BARBARA ARMAND'S QUICK TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS:
Be laser-focused. My natural ability to focus allows me to dive through complicated issues quickly. But, focus can be learned. Focus on doing one thing well.
Before you start a business, think about the financing behind it. Interview two to three different banks and lending officers; ask them what they're looking for from entrepreneurs. If a banker doesn't offer detailed specifics, this is not the right match.
Don't be put off when people question your goals. If you have a passion, follow that passion. I knew construction was my calling and I never strayed. Naysayers will always be around, ignore them.
Never doubt yourself. Operate from a place of confidence. Know that every single day there will be challenges, but you will succeed as long as you never consider giving up.
My policy with my employees is that it's okay to make a mistake but if you do, tell somebody so that we can rectify it.
Never make the same mistake twice.
Find the right team for your business so that you can supervise rather than micromanage. I hire people to do a great job on their own.
Communication is important. I meet with all new hires for 30 minutes every six months to keep employees on track and get feedback, especially with Millennials. I want to help the younger employees reach their own goals as well, whether that's with Armand Corp. or not.
Celebrate success, even if it's just quickly! In the beginning, I'd do a 30 second 'Happy Dance,' when I got a new project and then I'd just keep moving forward, looking for the next project.
The Importance of Giving Back
Armand says, “Mentoring is important to me. Quite often I'd counsel husband and wife teams, I can offer objective advice on making it work. I like to let couples know that only one of them needs to have the true passion for their business. One is a visionary, and the other is the implementer or supporter. That's okay.”
Armand also serves as President of the N.Y. national chapter of Professional Women in Construction, where she meets and mentors a lot of women. “We have ongoing discussions for mentorship, I see these women as they progress. I've also been formally asked to mentor someone in a corporate management program at a defense contractor. I have never said no when someone asks me to mentor them. I feel a responsibility to help”.
This is re-posted from a Huffington Post article originally published on 3/18/2016 for the full story, please visit http://url.ie/11puq.
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