Greg Kaupp had a vision to help other companies benefit from Microsoft’s signature ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, and launched ArcherPoint, a Microsoft Dynamics NAV reseller, and systems integrator, back in 2002 with two other people. ArcherPoint has since started another company called Adaptive Road to focus on NetSuite, a suite of cloud-based business software solutions.
Today, ArcherPoint boasts 101 employees spread across 26 states, Canada, and India. Most of the company’s staff is virtual except for a handful of employees who operate out of corporate offices in Minneapolis and Atlanta. “We’re about as virtual as you can get and have always been that way. That was pretty much how we started from day one,” says Greg.
ArcherPoint’s target customers are mid-market professional services, manufacturing, and distribution companies. Greg explains, “We primarily focus on businesses that are $5 million to $500 million in revenue using Microsoft Dynamics NAV and NetSuite, the top two solutions for mid-market companies.” Greg first worked with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, formerly Navision, when he was on the customer side of the business and become so passionate about the software he decided to switch careers.
“The impetus for me to get involved with Vistage was a study by IDC that identified a profit valley professional services firms encounter when they try to go from 30 to 50 people. We were experiencing that and I needed help.”Greg Kaupp
Greg’s company competes against other resellers and systems integrators as well as other ERP solutions. Competition is fierce in this industry, but Greg thinks ArcherPoint has a secret weapon. “A year ago we converted the company to an ESOP, so that’s huge. I wanted to see what we could achieve with an entire group of employee owners versus just me being an owner,” Greg says. To help energize and activate all his fellow employee owners, he transformed the company from a traditional hierarchical structure to Holacracy.
Greg explains: “The big difference is that with a traditional hierarchy no one has permission to do anything unless permission is granted or delegated. Whereas in Holacracy you are assumed to have permission to do anything that serves the purpose or accountabilities of your role, unless something specifically prohibits your role from acting.” Probably the most well-known company embracing Holacracy is Zappos.
According to HolacracyOne, “A holacracy replaces the traditional management hierarchy with a peer-to-peer ‘operating system’ that increases transparency, accountability, and organizational agility. Through a transparent rule set and a tested meeting process, Holacracy allows businesses to distribute authority, empowering all employees to take a leadership role and make meaningful decisions.”
Before transitioning to the new structure, Greg piloted the program in 2015. “Based on the success of those pilots, we rolled it out organization wide in April 2016,” adding, cheerfully, “Nothing’s blown up yet!”
Throughout the evolution of ArcherPoint, first to an EOSP, and then to Holacracy, Greg’s been glad he’s had the support of his Vistage groups. His first Vistage experience began in Philadelphia in 2009, but when he moved to Minneapolis, Greg transitioned to a new group. “The impetus for me to get involved with Vistage was a study by IDC (International Data Corporation) that identified a profit valley professional services firms encounter when they try to go from 30 to 50 people. We were experiencing that and I needed help.”
He was already feeling the pain of surpassing 30 employees and felt he needed the insight of people who have been there and done that. “I couldn’t afford to reinvent the wheel or do this all from scratch and learn everything the hard way. That’s when I got into Vistage, and it’s been great.” When Greg joined Vistage, ArcherPoint was an $8 million in annual revenue company; today the company boasts $20 million in revenue.
While helping Greg navigate the company’s growth journey to $20 million, Vistage was there at critical mileposts along the path. “Vistage was instrumental in helping me buy out both of my former partners. I can’t even imagine trying to navigate that process without the aid of people in my peer group who’d either watched buyouts happen or participated in them,” says Greg. He says his group organized a tiger team to help him understand his options, buyout terms, and creating a new buy-sell and operating agreement.
Greg also credits Vistage and counsel from his chair Don Kielley for helping him start up his first international office in India. “The only way I was able to get that done was with the aid of my Vistage peer members.” Greg says Don is a great connector, referring to his ability to connect him with scores of resources throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. “Don asks very thoughtful questions and holds us accountable to make sure we get to where we’ve said we want to go.”
Greg’s positive Vistage experience has also opened the door to a startup sister group, called Champions. He is now one of a dozen charter members of Vistage Minnesota Champions. Champions’ members work in close cooperation with all local chairs to help promote the value of the Vistage peer group experience. “Champions gives me a proactive and strategic way to continue to build my network and connections here in the Twin Cities,” adding, “I feel like the connections I’ve made even outside my group in Vistage have been very meaningful. I would like to continue that.”
The ultimate test of an organization’s value is how often it gets mentioned to others by members. Greg is an ardent Vistage advocate. At least one business owner has joined his group as a result of Greg’s recommendation. “I believe that anyone running a business needs a group of people in their corner who understands the issues they’re facing and who have been there before.” He says, “Vistage helps you weather the storms in life, and in business.”
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