At just 32, Justin Strong (@iamjustinstrong) is president of two multi-million-dollar companies. Born and raised in Canada, he’s now been the CEO of the family-owned construction company, Strong Bros. General Contracting Ltd. for eight years. Taken over from his father, the company transformed from a heating and air conditioning company to the multi-million-dollarconstruction company it is today. It took time and discipline, but Justin shows us how hard work can pay off when we put our mind to it.
From a young age, Strong was introduced to the world of business, only to later follow in his father, Kevin Strong’s footsteps. Strong always felt as though he stood out amongst peers his age. While others prepared and handed out resumes to get their first jobs, Strong, only a teenager at the time, worked on a business plan for something much, much bigger; he wanted to be his own boss. He knew there was still much to learn and the possibilities were endless.
He preaches how important your mindset is when starting up your own business.
“You need to be focused, disciplined and know what your goals are and what you are trying to achieve,” he proclaims.
From the get-go, he made certain the appropriate training was established. Learning about administrative duties such as accounting and major decision making with your business partners isn’t easy. It was challenging from the start and without that discipline, Strong’s businesses wouldn’t be where they are today, he wouldn’t be where he is today. He’s been associated with many companies and is currently still involved with Strong Bros. General, Contracting Ltd., J P Strong Enterprises Inc., Seaway Construction & Management, J P Strong Real Estate Holdings Inc. and Social Giveaways Inc., being his most current addition.
Strong’s view on his biggest success is heartwarming. He explains that his biggest success thus far is the longevity of the people working for the companies he’s run. Watching their growth throughout the years has got to be the biggest reward. One employee has been with the company for 50 years! Happy workers lead to a thriving business. Forming personal relationships with his employees as well as subcontractors is important for him. Ensuring that all parties involved feel responsibility for the success of these companies means the most. They need to feel respected and appreciated.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Strong. In fact, at one point it was quite the opposite. One that didn’t go as planned was an attempt to start a telecommunications company in Saudi Arabia at just 25 years of age. He was granted a business visa after he received the necessary capital from a business partner. The money went towards all flights to and from Saudi Arabia, payment for the four-person management team on the ground, all accommodations, the rental spaces for the offices and much more. Strong always dreamt of the process behind creating a full project, start to finish. Unfortunately, he realized that the contracts weren’t lining up with the specialized company as planned. The time difference between Canada, where he lived at the time, and Saudi Arabia proved to cause difficulties. Keeping the business flow moving from a different country just wasn’t working as planned. Although the experience was arduous, there was a valuable lesson learned. As Strong explains, “I learned that you have to be ready to take a large loss before some businesses can succeed, and you have to be able to consume those losses.” He always says that he owes the successes of his other businesses to that failure. He wouldn’t be where he is today, if it weren’t for the experience of that business attempt. He adds that he wouldn’t change a thing.
When times get tough, you should always try to plan ahead and be prepared for the inevitable. It makes your situation a little easier if you have a plan set in place. “Whether that be making sure there is cash flow in place. Another method could be diversification from your normal operation. If your business is into commercial construction, then maybe you have to look in the residential industry,” Strong shares. Things aren’t always easy; that’s just how life is, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make it easier on ourselves.
Everyone has the potential to be successful and Strong knows that firsthand. He gained all the knowledge he could in order to have what he has today. It’s no easy work, but it’s worth it. With a few simple steps and guidance, you too can succeed at your wildest dreams. Justin Strong wants you to know that you can also be successful through determination, knowledge, building strong employee relationships and by preparing for risks and abatements. Keep informed with Justin at @iamjustinstrong