"Coming out of undergrad, I had a really unusual resume."
When his father died, Beaty left college to hold things together until the company could appoint a new CEO. He explains the company lacked a well-developed management team, which is why they asked a 20-year-old to step in. It didn’t take long for Beaty to discover the 120-employee company had some financial challenges. Projects were unprofitable and, with a “tremendous amount” of outstanding accounts receivable, the company’s own bills weren’t getting paid.
“The main thing I focused on was cash flow,” he said. Beaty was not only able to recover past due invoices, but also secured advance payments for future work. Once the company had cash, he focused on profitability. By implementing an incentive plan for construction crews, jobs stopped going over budget.
Eight months later, Beaty returned to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to finish his military history degree, while still helping with the company’s transition and, ultimately, its sale. At 20, he was tasked with turning around a nearly century-old company, and he succeeded.
“Coming out of undergrad, I had a really unusual resume,” he explained. It’s clear why he received multiple lucrative job offers.
“There’s never been a two-year period in my life that’s been as transformative as my time at Goizueta."
Likely to the bewilderment of his peers, he accepted the lowest salary, about half the amount of the highest offer. Beaty reasoned if his long-term goal was entrepreneurship, he’d need hands-on sales experience. He readily admits selling isn’t his strongest suit; however, Beaty did develop a successful methodology during his time selling software solutions. He used that experience to launch a sales and marketing consultancy, and his ambition continued to grow.
“I felt like I wanted to pivot into bigger companies,” he explained.
That’s what led him to Goizueta Business School in 1995, where he was immediately recognized for his leadership, academic excellence and commitment to the school’s core values. Beaty was named a Robert W. Woodruff Scholar, the most prestigious named scholarship at Emory University, established in honor of long-term president of The Coca-Cola Company.
While certainly not new to running a business, Beaty says his MBA experience had a significant impact on his career. He found inspiration in Dr. Benn R. Konsynski, a computer information systems scholar who found his teaching niche in business programs. At the time, the internet was young and the concept of a “tech entrepreneur” was not yet commonplace. But that’s exactly what Beaty would become, thanks to a project in Konsynski’s class. (In fact, RiskProNet, the insurance brokerage portal he helped design in the late 90s, is still in existence today.)
“There’s never been a two-year period in my life that’s been as transformative as my time at Goizueta,” he said.
MBA in hand, he soon joined the world’s largest consulting company, Deloitte. In 2002, called back to entrepreneurship, Beaty started what would become Insight Sourcing Group in his basement, the family dog by his side.
“You go beyond the norm in the way you think, treat and invest in [your team]."
Today his Atlanta-based strategic sourcing and procurement consulting firm is consistently ranked a best place to work, both regionally and in its industry. The company takes pride in its “extreme focus” on client results, and it shows: Through smart, data-driven consulting and proprietary technology, Insight Sourcing Group has collectively helped its clients add billions to their bottom lines.
Keeping the customer at the center of everything is central to Beaty’s leadership approach. “If we can get that right, everything else falls into place,” he said.
This starts with focusing on the internal; for example, creating a comfortable, collegial and inspiring work environment. Throughout Insight Sourcing Group’s headquarters, you’ll see thoughtful touches and customizations, collaborative spaces, relaxing places and innovation rooms. The latter amenity has earned Insight much praise: It’s where ideas for new products, such as industry-leading intelligence platform SpendHQ, are born.
“There’s a lot of energy in the physical space,” Beaty said of his headquarters. “We probably spent about 250 hours designing the look and feel.”
Employee morale is pivotal to client satisfaction, but it’s more than just physical space. Insight Sourcing Group provides attractive benefits and perks, including sabbaticals, generous maternity leave, company retreats, and a kickball team. And, as a family-oriented company, travel requirements are less demanding than at other consulting firms. Insight Sourcing Group’s “pulse survey” measures work-life balance, allowing the firm to spot opportunities for improvement. Transparency is also valued. A few times each year employees are briefed on aspects of the company that other organizations would not typically share as freely. Overall, Beaty’s strives to keep his team happy and focused. And this means “eliminating politics and bureaucracy and anything else that can cause people to lose focus on the client.”
For Beaty, all of this is what defines “going beyond.”
“A big part of that is built into our culture. You go beyond the norm in the way you think, treat and invest in [your team],” he said. “And investing heavily in career development, beyond what is typical.”
Blue collar work ethic. Long-standing community connections. Creating something from nothing. Growing up in a family business no doubt prepared Beaty for entrepreneurship and provided inspiration for his people-centric leadership approach.