By Joseph Lilli
All the inspiration David Armstrong needed to start a company helping businesses become more productive and efficient came from what he observed as a business counselor and later as director of the UT-PanAm Small Business Development Center.
During that time, he worked with nearly 1,000 businesses annually – helping entrepreneurs/small business owners obtain SBA and bank financing, and deal with business problems. He also wrote business plans and coached people in areas they were weak.
“Many businesses used outdated technology and struggled with lots of inefficiencies due to a lack of processes and poor business practices,” Armstrong says.
Later, as CFO and general sales manager for a vehicle dealership, he got to practice what he preached as a business counselor.
He partnered with three colleagues – each with his own area of expertise. Using his experience helping others with financing, Armstrong and his partners financed the entire business without having to spend a dime.
Their objective was wildly optimistic – Core Business Solutions would become the premier office solutions company in South Texas.
Today, nearly 12 years since start-up and after buying out his partners, Armstrong believes he’s achieved that objective.
“We are the largest local company offering this type of service. And, in my opinion, we are the most capable of meeting all of the needs of a small to medium-sized business located in our territory.”
All-in-One Solutions Company
So what sets Core Business Solutions apart from its competitors?
The answer can be found in its motto: Solutions That Work. Armstrong and his entire staff strive to ensure each solution provides measurable benefits to their customers.
“We are an all-in-one solution company. We spend time understanding what our customer needs to accomplish, then offering the best solution,” he stresses.
“To make that happen, we have all the technology and office equipment a business would ever need to remake their office or open a new one.
“For example, it might be a faster copier with better scanning capabilities, a phone system linking their offices in five different countries, or a workflow and document management software that moves documents through their organization more smoothly, then retains them so they can be located in seconds from anywhere in the world.
“But we not only provide equipment, we know how to use it. Everything we offer, we use in our own business to make it better. So our customers can take full advantage of our knowledge and expertise.
“In addition, we repair and maintain all their equipment, manage network services where we act as their IT department, and offer variable data bulk mail services. We don’t sell customers something, then walk away. We become their technology partner,” he says.
Armstrong’s customers include banks, insurance companies, furniture stores, and medical and legal offices. Each had a unique efficiency challenge, but thanks to Core Business Solutions is now operating in a highly productive environment.
Eliminating Office Chaos Equals Success
As the number of success stories accumulated, Core Business Solutions grew and prospered. It added offices in Brownsville, Laredo, and Eagle Pass, besides its Pharr headquarters. The company currently serves customers across 17 South Texas counties and the Maquila business in parts of Northern Mexico.
There are several reasons for his company’s success. Armstrong is quick to acknowledge the hard work of his 42 full-time employees and the outstanding service they provide their customers.
“Their level of service brings to mind the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I believe it’s a major reason why we’ve retained 94 percent of our customers,” he says.
Another success factor is Armstrong’s business mindset. He understands that every business decision he makes today can affect his business today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
So he looks at all facets of his business today in context of where he’s trying to go. He reacts quickly with the unexpected. And, he says he welcomes change and turns it into opportunity.
“It’s really hard to gain market share and grow if everything remains the same. Fortunately, we’re in an industry in which technology is constantly evolving and changing day to day. So we subscribe to many forums and magazines, and attend numerous vendor meetings across the country. We’re willing to put in the time to keep up with it, while many of our competitors haven’t,” he says.
One might say Armstrong lives by the old Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”
For many South Texas business owners, this means that Core Business Solutions gives them the systems and processes for creating sustainable productivity for their business – and their life.
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