Starting a business is no easy feat. Growing your business to more than a million dollars in revenue in your first year? An extraordinary accomplishment.
Janice Bergeron, proud owner of RND Consultants, Inc., did just that. Taking her 25 years of experience in engineering and construction, Janice used her industry knowledge to start a quickly growing business in Boston.
It was a twisty road for Janice on her way to founding such a successful business. In fact, it seemingly happened by accident. Janice studied marketing and journalism, but after college she began working in public outreach for transportation projects. It was there that she uncovered how her unique combination of skills would serve her well.
Janice realized that engineers are often quiet and methodical about their work and could use someone outgoing who also had the necessary communication skills to help them sell jobs and projects. Basically, they needed someone just like Janice.
Finding a Support System
It’s no secret that the engineering field isn’t comprised of many women, and being one of the only women at a company or on a project can be a lonely experience. As a female manager, Janice sought opportunities to find a community of other women like her.
She found one in Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS). There, she saw women supporting other women in a male-dominated field. Janice credits the group with setting her on the path to project management, which ultimately led to the creation of her own business.
Nothing Replaces Good Planning
After working in the industry for several years, Janice began thinking about starting her own company. One of her first concerns was cash flow and ensuring she always had enough money on hand to cover the daily expenses of running a business.
Dealing with public contracts, Janice knew that her business may not be paid until 90 to up to 200 days. That type of delay creates a very real cash flow concern. How did Janice navigate this?
Because she knew how her industry operates ahead of time, Janice realized that she had to save up enough cash to cover that period between payments or find the funds to make up for the shortfall.
Janice turned to Helen Garvey, a Rockland Trust commercial banking expert, who has helped Janice and her business with banking needs ever since. In the end, Janice took out a small business loan and saved up enough cash so she did not have to draw a salary while her business was getting off the ground.
Confidence is Key
Janice also credits her family, particularly the support of her husband, and mentors for helping to boost her confidence.
“I was really nervous, especially knowing the potential cash flow issues that we could face, but my husband encouraged me to take a risk and just do it,” said Janice. “I think that women sometimes underestimate themselves, wanting to know 100% how something will turn out. I am here to tell you: have confidence in your business model and just do it.”
She also sought out advice from mentors and other business owners. It can get lonely at times as an owner so these advisors can help you navigate tricky business challenges together.
Janice is building a thriving business that is expanding quickly, something that she says is one of the best and most fulfilling things she has done in her life. Janice’s eldest daughter, Renee – the “R” in RND Inc. – is planning to follow in her mother’s footsteps. She is planning to learn more about engineering and construction management because she is interested in one day taking over the company.
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