Entrepreneurship can be exciting and full of promise. Some big businesses are born out of a glamorous idea – others come from places that you’d least expect. As a young immigrant from Albania, Greta Bajrami dreamed of a career in international relations – never expecting that she would end up as the CEO of an innovating roofing company transforming the industry for its workers and its customers.
Like most careers, Greta’s original plans hit some bumps as she entered her senior year of college during an economic recession. In a pragmatic move, she decided to temporarily find a high-paying job as a roofing foreman. Even though she had never even considered this male-dominated industry, she met the requirements and took a chance.
Thrown into the world of construction with little experience, Greta embraced it. She applied the same tenacity to learning the roofing industry as she did to her studies in college, reading every manufacturer guidebook and following the workers around with a notebook asking questions.
After she completed her entrepreneurship project during her final year of college, she realized that she had fallen in love with the roofing industry – and why not take her entrepreneurship project and make it real?
That’s when Golden Group Roofing was born
“I knew I could do it,” said Greta, “I set out on a mission to create a roofing company that was the first of its kind.” By focusing on transparency and integrity, Golden Group Roofing would change everything people thought about the roofing process.
Turning an obstacle into an advantage
Everyone told Greta that she was crazy to start a roofing company on her own – even some of her closest family and friends. Her co-workers at her roofing job told her that she could never make it because she didn’t have long-standing family roots in the roofing industry – who would ever partner with her and refer business to her?
But Greta looked at this as an advantage. She was starting from a clean slate, with very few preconceived notions about “how it was always done.” Instead of comparing herself to the other roofers in the industry, she applied everything she learned in her business degree.
By looking at the sales process, operations, and customer experience with fresh eyes, and was able to make incredible improvements and changes – that nobody else was doing.
At Golden Group Roofing, Greta implemented three powerful changes that vaulted their success:
1. Switching from a Sales Model to a Consulting Model put the consumers at ease
One of the first things that Greta recognized was the change in the buying behavior of the consumer. With the advent of the internet and more choices consumers no longer accepted the “ballpark figures” and the high-pressure sales tactics.
Instead, Golden Group Roofing uses cutting-edge technology to create a multiple-page report to give the homeowner a detailed quote down to the penny, including satellite images and details about the materials and process.
This report is delivered electronically to the consumer where they can review at their leisure with no sales conversation pressuring them to take action now. Greta and her team are always available to answer questions but there is never a hard sell.
In the beginning, others warned her that this technique would never work but it turned out just the opposite – consumers were grateful to have all the information laid out for them to examine and make educated decisions on their own time.
2. Eliminating large down payments was a relief for their customers
Until Golden Group Roofing came along, most construction projects required a hefty down payment from the customer and then the project wouldn’t begin for several weeks. This can cause a lot of consumer anxiety, especially for those on a budget.
Golden Group Roofing changed their model so that they didn’t need that cash weeks in advance. This became a huge relief for homeowners and a major selling point.
3. Using a project plan provided an easy to follow guide for the homeowner
Not only do the comprehensive estimates give the consumer a way to make educated decisions, but they also served as a project guide so that the homeowner understood the project every step of the way. Roofing projects can feel like a big deal, and having a solid understanding of what to expect before, during, and after the roof can put their mind at ease.
Don’t let fear stop you!
When asked what she thought was holding back entrepreneurs for achieving their dreams, Greta responded: fear and mindset.
It’s natural for entrepreneurs to have some healthy fear – what if they fail? What if they are judged by their peers or their competitors? When Greta herself feels the fear creeping in, she reminds herself of the big leap she made to start Golden Group a few years ago.
“If I didn’t take that jump, I wouldn’t be here today,” Greta said, “I’ve already done it and already proved myself. Don’t put the brakes on your own success.”
Instead, go into your ventures with a mindset for success. Because if you go into it doubting that you will make it, you may not give it 100%. Believing in yourself is the most important thing. “Success is a state of mind,” said Greta.
Never one to limit her own dreams, Greta is launching a second business. This time, it’s personal. She’s created a Rootless Entrepreneur platform to embrace, educate and empower entrepreneurs everywhere that, like her, don’t have roots in their industry but are taking the journey anyway.
With a dream and a plan, anything is possible.
Greta looks back upon the early days of Golden Group Roofing when the company wasn’t turning a large profit yet, and she was living paycheck to paycheck. She remembers having doubts that this would ever work out – should she throw in the towel and find something new?
“I was working every single day, and I was burned out,” Greta said, “I remember saying to myself: what if I just hold on a little bit longer because how can I throw away two years of hard work?”
If you have the courage and the strength to hold on longer than everyone else – hard work and determination will always prevail.