Bjork Construction Builds More Than Homes: They Build Relationships That Help Them Grow
Bjork Construction says they aim to make you feel like family when you work with them – In part because it’s a family-run business, but also because Jean Bjork knows that you establish a great brand by building strong relationships. Jean explains that as a second-generation small business owner, she knows a thing or two about running a company. She also explained that even though she and her husband co-founded Bjork Construction, they decided she would be president, despite the fact that construction is a male-dominated industry. Jean admits that she’s had to work harder and smarter as a woman working in a man’s world, but her gender certainly hasn’t hindered the success of the company. After a decade in business, Bjork Construction expanded its services and began to grow. With that growth came many new challenges, but by building valuable relationships, the company is facing those challenges with strong allies, and in some cases, family.
When Bjork Construction first started out in 1988, it was just Jean and her husband Don running the business out of their house, and they focused on high-end custom homes. After a while, the company’s residential clients began to request services for their office buildings, too, so Bjork Construction expanded to both residential and commercial projects. As the company grew, so did the Bjork family. Jean and Don’s daughter, Jessica, and son, Brent, joined the family and the business. Jessica works as a project manager and Brent works as assistant superintendent. Down the road, Jean hopes to pass on the family business to her children so they can continue to build relationships and a legacy.
“There is nothing like knowing that your company built something solid and beautiful that will stand the test of time,” Jean said. “I am very lucky to be in an industry where we create homes, offices and buildings, as well as relationships.”
Bjork Construction has formed many important relationships over the years: the family has developed unique relationships with each other as they’ve learned to be family and co-workers. The company has built such strong relationships with some of their clients that the clients request Bjork Construction for all of their project needs. The company has formed similar relationships with business partners, as well. Finding the right CPA, attorney, banker, as well as business credit help from Dun & Bradstreet, has helped Bjork Construction tackle the challenges of growing.
“Right now, the biggest challenge has been to expand and grow the business,” Jean said. “Obtaining new clients is always a challenge, though once we form these relationships, we have found great success. That is actually one way Dun & Bradstreet has helped us: It has helped us show our clients that we are a reputable company that has a long-standing credit history.”
Having credibility as a business can be just as important as having trust in a relationship. Without trust, the relationship may fail, and without credibility, businesses can struggle to grow. Jean uses a product called CreditBuilder™ from Dun & Bradstreet Credibility to monitor and build Bjork Construction’s business credit file, which helps her show potential customers how she handles the business, and that the company is reliable. “Our success is based on the relationships that we are able to keep throughout the years, as well as establishing new relationships based on the credibility that Dun & Bradstreet Credibility has helped us obtain,” she said.
“We also work with larger general contractors and they often look to make sure that we are a company that takes care of our finances,” Jean said. “CreditBuilder allows us to be proactive by letting us see what creditors see in our business credit file, and we are always looking to improve our own processes.”
Through old and new relationships, Jean says she has learned a significant lesson about running a successful business, that all relationships are valuable, no matter the size. And that lesson carries into her best advice for other business owners:
“Align with the right business partners to help you,” she said. “This would include for us: Dun & Bradstreet Credibility, the right CPA, Banker, and an Attorney. Be informed and get advice from professionals that are the best in their field.”
Jean will undoubtedly heed her own advice as the company continues to grow and face challenges. In 2015, she hopes to grow the business to $1 million or more in sales, and to someday write a book about all the different experiences she’s had as a business owner.
“Some experiences have made me laugh, and others made me cry, but they have all made me who I am today,” she said. As a woman in a male dominated industry, I am proud that I have been able to make a name for myself and for my company.”
Jean has no regrets about founding Bjork Construction, despite the unique challenges she faced as a woman working in the construction industry. If she could go back to the very beginning, she wouldn’t think twice about building homes, offices and relationships all over again.
To learn more about Bjork Construction, check out the company in 2012 when they won our “Reach for the Stars” contest! And if you loved their story, read about how Pork Barrel BBQ campaigned for their sauce and won the support of 6,000 stores nationwide!
Can you relate to Bjork Construction’s journey? We’d love to hear about it. Share your story with us by emailing Lauren Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org and your business could be featured too.
Photo Credit: Bjork Construction