Cindy Cameron shares how to ‘find what you are really good at doing and work to become the very best’.

Women Leaders, 2020

For any small and medium-sized contractor companies, the focus is always on improving job margins, boosting sales, bringing efficiency in operations, and enabling quick capture and access to information. However, it is really hard to accomplish this if there is no efficient technical support to streamline the processes and make them more time-saving and cost-efficient. Cindy Cameron, and her business partner and husband, Jim, realized several gaps in the existing contracting software while selling them to electrical and plumbing contractors during the 1980s. Hence, as a software developer, Cindy began the pursuit of finding a more efficient solution that could easily be used and evolved as per the current business needs. Finally, intending to furnish the best software for contracting, Cindy and Jim established COBRA Business Operations Software, Inc. The company specializes in business software and integrated mobile solutions for electrical, plumbing, and heating contractors designed to save contractors’ time, effort, and money on their jobs. Having been in business for 33 years now, COBRA has formed a loyal customer base and never fails to ensure that all their client’s business needs are fulfilled. To learn more about the journey behind this highly successful venture, we sat down with Cindy Cameron herself, the President and the Software and Mobile developer at COBRA.

“ I would say that to be successful in any business, perseverance is the key.”

Instating operational efficiency and maximizing profits
Cindy Cameron: “Our integrated suite of software programs consists of modules that help contractors with every aspect of their businesses. Estimating, job cost / project management / WIP, equipment tracking, material management, accounting and payroll. Our software solutions provide contractors with more unique and specialized software solutions than any other software designed for the contracting industry. We develop our business solutions with an eye on how contractors do business in all aspects of their businesses. We are always working uphill to help educate contractors that there is a much better way of doing business that saves time, saves effort in the office, and saves the contractor money. This has resulted in many defining moments in our business’ history. Most of these moments come in small victories such as when we turn a customer on to a new way of thinking about specific business tasks. Change Order management and Material Management are two specific areas of the contracting business that other industry software programs do not handle well, but make a HUGE difference in saving money.”

Developing state-of-the-art software for emerging needs
Cindy Cameron: “I was very close to my grandfather who was a world-renowned Mathematician. He once said to me “Find what you are really good at doing and work to become the very best”. This has driven me through the most challenging times and still drives me today. My goal is to continue to upgrade our software to the latest platform and outperform our competition- most of whom have not done the same with their software! I continue to LEARN and that is key. I am always looking at industry trends, as well, to see how we can develop new business tools for our industry. As I move along this journey, I also make sure I play part in supporting organizations set up for animals, environment, women, and veterans.”

“I continue to LEARN and that is key. I am always looking at industry trends, as well, to see how we can develop new business tools for our industry. ”

Spunk and Perseverance
Cindy Cameron: “Because most contracting businesses are owned by men, I have had some resistance to our ideas. But I overcome these impediments with knowledge and a sense of humor. I would say that to be successful in any business, perseverance is the key. You can imagine how difficult it has been for a software developer to develop and redevelop software for the many platforms that have come out since our inception! Many times, I have thought that I could go and work for another company, but then I think about our loyal customers who rely on us. And, I think about what my grandfather told me those many years ago and I simply will not be defeated! Customer loyalty is what really keeps driving me. I cannot let them down!”

Safely providing through the pandemic
Cindy Cameron: “We have not been impacted much at all because contractors are working across the country. And since, contractors are working harder than ever in this COVID environment, we seem to be giving them extra attention during this time and helping them learn more about the business tools they have with COBRA. Since they are working harder, they need to be more efficient and that is where we come in to help. We are planning on expanding our business to include two new employees within the next year once the COVID-19 calms down. We are always expanding the capabilities of our software / mobile solutions based on what contractors’ request. This is always exciting for us!”

“Many times, I have thought that I could go and work for another company, but then I think about our loyal customers who rely on us. And, I think about what my grandfather told me those many years ago and I simply will not be defeated!”

Finding balance amidst COVID-19
Cindy Cameron: “My biggest challenge is that my husband, also partner has underlying conditions that make him vulnerable. We are together 24/7! So, keep ourselves safe and distracted from the virus AND our business responsibilities is the challenge. Since we are avoiding all of our favorite eateries, we cook together, take walks, listen to music, and just about anything that keeps us from getting bored. This seems to calm me and allow me to prioritize my thoughts and mentally work through the issues and responsibilities of my work. Also, classical and rock music are my “go-to”. Mozart, his music has always been a solace and comfort to me in good times and in bad. I think the complexities and emotion of his music are what draws me to it. As I look towards retirement in a few years, I look forward to learning skills in new areas of interest: music, photography, and mentoring.”

A word for the aspiring women
Cindy Cameron: “I have been impressed with the next generations of women and their confidence! It’s inspiring to me! I have spent much of my life working with women, mentoring women, and training women, and...

“I am always inspired when women realize that they have endless potential! I feel that the world needs more women in leadership positions because of our unique perspective on the world! So, I would tell them all - Go for it! Dare to discover things about yourself that you never knew you could do! Each time you reach a goal in life you become more confident in yourself and your abilities. These tenants I have lived by all my life and they have served me well!”