“One of my earliest memories would be driving around with my Dad on weekends. Most kids would go to the park, do this or that. Oftentimes on Sundays I’d go with my parents, just me and my parents going around and looking at various job sites and projects… As a kid, to see your Dad beside some massive building and going wait a second, it says Beedie Construction, it was inspiring.”
Ryan Beedie’s father, Keith Beedie founded the company back in 1954. Starting as a construction business located in Burnaby, Ryan has taken the company and expanded it all over the lower mainland, becoming one of the largest real estate companies in Canada.
From a young age, Ryan knew how much the company meant to his father. “Around our house, work was number #1.” As a kid, seeing your role models put so much effort into a business made Ryan eager to become involved. Knowing how much the company meant to his father, Ryan learned early that “you’re either participating or you’re out in the dark.”
Ryan idealized his father and his passion for excellence. Even though his father wasn’t around all the time, Ryan believed “for people to be really really good at something they have to be a little selfish, a little OCD.” His father was never shy of that. Multiple lessons were passed down to Ryan at a young age but above all else, his father instilled in him how important your word and reputation are.
“You follow through on what you say, your word is your bond.”
Ryan’s Entrance Into The Company
After spending years at the office, working with his dad, and talking shop with his parents, Ryan felt comfortable and knowledgeable when it was his turn to become involved. At first, he was supposed to be a numbers guy. He studied accounting at SFU previously and thought his role would be accounting and financing while his older brother would be more development and construction. That quickly shifted and Ryan ended up becoming involved in both parts of the business.
As a young gun with eagerness to immerse himself in the business world, Ryan was off to the races.
“I took his model and scaled it up. Let’s buy this site, let’s buy that site. I took a more youthful, energetic spirit to a model that he created, and ramped it up. He (his father) loved it, he loved what I brought, got excited about it.”
From then on, Ryan was constantly on the hunt for ways to expand the business. Even sometimes when his father would challenge him, Ryan knew expansion was going to be key to their future success.
Beedie’s Recipe For Long-Term Success
Beedie’s been able to grow at a rapid pace since 1954, through multiple financial crises and real estate swings. To have that amount of longevity requires reputation, something that Beedie has always put as their #1 priority.
“It’s about the next deal, it’s about down the road. Legacy and how we are viewed by our community.”
“We try to think long-term, decades, 50 years out, 100 years out, not just about the here and now.”
“You want to be someone with who people want to do business with. Who they trust, who they like, and who they know has their back. That’s key. I think without that you can be successful short term, in the long term you can’t be successful. Personal brand, reputation, networking, getting out there and meeting people and that reliability aspect, that’s critical.”
Though a conservative company, Beedie feels comfortable taking approaches that may differ from traditional real estate modules. To grow the way they have, they encourage calculated risk and don’t shy away from what others aren’t doing.
“We decided to build 100,000 sq ft strata buildings, and then cut them up into 10,000 sq ft bases. People told me it was crazy, that’s not going to work, that’s stupid. Well, let’s try it and see what happens.”
Ryan has a true appreciation for people, dedicating a lot of his success to the team he is surrounded by and the business relationships he has made.
“The brand emanates from within. They (the team) are a foundational part of our brand. When people in the community, the business community, and the clients we deal with see that and answer in a positive view towards them, I think that sets us apart from our competition.”
It seemed Ryan and his team shared a great trust in one another, often mentioning the significance of an open environment. He believes that for a company to work as a team, people need to feel safe and not afraid of themselves or the coworkers around them.
“If someone doesn’t agree with my position or my take on it, I want them to tell me. Just because I’m the big boss, does not mean I’m right all the time.”
“I want them (the employees) to take more risks. I want them to feel that they can take more risk, and not be afraid.”
Unlike most companies, Beedie takes tremendous pride in its community. Located up on the hills in Burnaby is Beedie School of Business, the business program at Simon Fraser University. The school and company’s philanthropic program, Beedie Luminaries offers multiple scholarships to kids in need of them, trying to brighten and grow the community around them.
Part of the reason Beedie has such a strong team is that people appreciate the efforts they make to be more than a traditional business, giving them a sense of pride while working there. Giving back to the community and working as an organization is what Beedie does best, continually strengthening their company’s ongoing success.
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