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The Advice That Helped Them Get There: Jim Poolman

What It Takes For Success

The path to success is hardly ever traveled alone, and rarely comes without a few bumps in the road. There’s often a multitude of factors that play into one person’s climb to the top of their ranks. We spoke with a handful of determined and successful people with ties to the Fargo-Moorhead area regarding what, and who, they believe helped them find success in the area we’re proud to call home. And we will be introducing those individuals over the coming months.

What Is The Meaning of ” Slainte”?

The origin behind Slainte ”? Holdings’ name translates to “health” in Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It is commonly used as a drinking toast in Ireland and Scotland—an equivalent to “Cheers”!

Jim Poolman has a list of entrepreneurial involvements that seem to be neverending. As the President and Managing Partner of Slainte Holdings/Blarney Stone Pubs, Executive Director of the IALC (Indexed Annuity Leadership Council), along with many other ventures, Poolman has developed a credible list of entrepreneurial efforts throughout his career to date.

Throughout his journey to the position he’s in today, Poolman has gained a wealth of knowledge and lessons learned. He elaborated on some of the advice that he believes in and attributes to some of his success.

The Hotel Donaldson is Poolman’s latest business acquisition!

Some of Jim Poolman’s Other Involvements

  • First International Bank & Trust
  • Board of Directors
  • University of North Dakota Alumni Association & Foundation
  • Vice-Chair Board Of Directors
  • Forbes Finance Council Membe
The Blarney Stone pub offers three locations in West Fargo, Bismarck and Sioux Falls

#1 Be Conservative About Debt.

Throughout the Blarney Stone venture, we have utilized debt to manage and build these places. Sometimes, especially during the beginning, we’d have to put some of our own skin in the game. It’s helpful to be pretty conservative about how debt is utilized and try to pay it off as fast as possible, which gives you, then, an opportunity to do more.

#2 Surround Yourself With People Who Know More Than You.

I’d like to say that I’m more of a concept person, as well as a finance person to a certain extent. But I’m not an accounting person, yet I know people who are proficient in that field. Focus on your strong suits and surround yourself with people who are skilled in other areas that you might not thrive in as well as they do.

#3 Know What Your Weaknesses Are.

If you want to surround yourself with the right people with differing skills, you have to admit what your strengths and weaknesses are to yourself. If you can identify that, then you can improve on your weaknesses and associate yourself with people that fill those holes.

#4 Develop A Relationship With A Financial Institution.

If you start building a relationship early on with somebody so that they know you, they’ll know your character. They won’t just know your financial wants; they’ll know you as a person. Also, look at programs like the Dakota CDC (Certified Development Company) or SBA lenders that are out there that can provide some significant help to start.

Dakota Business Lending, a local loan agency in Fargo, helped us put together a package for the Blarney Stone which reduced the amount of money we had to put down and gave us a lower interest rate. Those are huge things for new entrepreneurs looking to put a deal together.

#5 Look For Something That Others Aren’t Providing.

If you look for something that nobody else is doing, you’re going to build a want and need in your area through a new market. When we began Blarney Stone at our first location, there wasn’t anything like it in the area. Now, we’re going to create an entirely different product in downtown Fargo that isn’t there right now.

When asked about mentors Poolman has had throughout his journey, he cites his father as his biggest inspiration. “My dad was a long-haul truck driver who created his own business. He always paid in cash for anything he couldn’t finance. If he had to finance something, he would rush to pay it off,” Poolman said. “I’m a first-generation college student. My parents, as well as my grandparents, never went to college. While my dad didn’t have a formal college education, he built a pretty decent business for himself. So, I learned a lot of what I’d call non-college educational experience from him that I was able to use.”

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Written by Grant Ayers

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