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5 Keys to Building a Successful Business

November 2, 2015

 A Kansas City company is quickly becoming one of the most active Real Estate Developers in the region. Over the last three years, NorthPoint has built over $1 billion in capital and currently has key projects in at least 10 states.

Recently, I led a discussion panel with CEO Nathaniel Hagedorn and COO Chad Meyer, on NorthPoint’s hyper-growth, and the guiding principles behind the company’s success. From their message, five key points stood out that any entrepreneur, from recent college graduates to CEOs, can implement to boost profits.

PEOPLE: “You have to surround yourself with the best people,” said Nathaniel Hagedorn, adding that “usually, the best people come with a higher price tag.” The right person for the job may cost you a little more, but in the long-run will save you money by making sure the project is done right. Hagedorn believes in putting people first, whether it’s a client, capital partner, the community, or member of his team.  One iron-clad business practice is to make sure to tell people “thank-you” when they do a good job.

HIRING & FIRING: NorthPoint hires nearly every employee by referrals from team members and the standards are extremely high. “Our employees are putting their reputation on the line when suggesting a candidate and we want to make sure it is a good fit,” said Chad Meyer.  The selection process is unique. NorthPoint uses a “thumbs up, thumbs down” rule. Any candidate who gets a “thumbs-down” from any member of the team is out.  Sometimes, what appeared to be the best hire, does not work out. Ask yourself; knowing everything you know about the employee today, would you hire him or her again? “To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be just as good at firing as hiring. If you don’t correct a mistake you will never grow,” said Hagedorn.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS: If you have average expectations of your employees the company will not see growth. “We set the bar way up here, but we tolerate failure,” said Hagedorn, adding “Nine out of 10 times, people will jump over the bar when you thought ‘no way’.” Managers should also hold themselves to the same high standards. “If you surround yourself with the right team the pieces will come together,” said Meyer.

OWNERSHIP:  One of the big keys of success at NorthPoint is employees have direct ownership. This philosophy is valuable for leaders of small to medium-sized businesses. “The ability of smaller companies to give away part of the pie is one strategic advantage they hold over most large companies,” said Hagedorn. When they have a direct-stake employees will almost always surpass the end goal.

DEALS: When putting together a deal it is important to keep the big picture of the market in mind and how you are going to work together with a client or municipality. “Most companies just want the truth and to know you are going to handle the project with integrity,” said Meyer. When it comes to deals it is important to celebrate success but to also learn and share any mistakes. NorthPoint uses the OAR method; “Ownership, Accountability, Responsibility”. Hagedorn and Meyer also believe it is not worth chasing a deal. “There will always be another deal, another opportunity,” said Hagedorn.

NorthPoint’s growth is a testament to what the right guiding principles can do for a company. Which principles are keys for your success? Do you have the right team in place to help you jump over the bar of expectations? For more information contact Sarah Schiltz at 816.743.7700 or your MarksNelson professional.






Sarah Schiltz works with clients of various sizes and industries. She focuses on working with them to provide responsive and accurate tax, accounting, and planning services which allow them to grow and sustain their company. Sarah specializes in Consulting, Tax, and Accounting services for real ... >>> READ MORE
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