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The PayNW Principles - The Foundation of Making Lives Easier

The PayNW Principles - The Foundation of Making Lives Easier

One of the less visible, but most impactful things that help build the foundation of PayNW is our adherence to the concept of being an evergreen company. Our evergreen principles are what truly shape our culture, and are what help us achieve our mission of making lives easier.

Our evergreen principles aren't about our deep Pacific Northwest roots (which we have), or that we actively recycle (which we do), but instead, they're about our core ambition to build a company that endures and thrives for the long haul.

The Foundation of PayNW

Traditionally, there are two paths for a company: either become a small business that makes a nice living for the owner or take on a lot of outside money to fuel to a major, lucrative exit as your company is bought by the public.

"Neither one of these paths felt particularly satisfying or fitting to me," said Mike Anderson, founder of PayNW "and certainly neither matched my overall vision when I founded PayNW in 2007. "

"If I had a dollar for every person who asked me 'So, you’re trying to build this company to flip it to a larger company?' or for every private equity fund or individual investor who wanted to have a conversation about providing us more capital, well, I’d the money to make that quick exit! Instead, I’ve chosen a third path – that of the evergreen company." He said.

Origin of Our Evergreen Principles

From the time Mike was first exposed to the principles of evergreen companies as espoused by the Tugboat Institute, he knew that he had found a set of beliefs and a framework to match his vision.

According to Tugboat, evergreen companies are defined by the 7 principles (7P's). It is these 7Ps that guide PayNW every day, driving decisions, and helping PayNW live out its purpose to make lives easier.

These principles allow PayNW to:

  • Attract and retain top talent and leaders
  • Better attract customers looking for a longtime partner
  • Better able to assure our vendors and suppliers that we’re here for the long haul
  • Better able to connect with our local community

"Put simply, following the 7Ps makes us a better company.' Said Anderson.

The Seven Evergreen Principles

So, briefly, what are these 7Ps?

Here is a quick rundown of how these principles drive the business for enduring, sustainable value creation for our customers and company. 

  1. Purpose. We believe employers deserve a partner who can help them run their business better.
  2. Perseverance. We are ambitious and know that resilience and agility are key ingredients to sticking around (we want to be around for 100 years for goodness’ sake!).
  3. People Powered. People are at the center of and are the reason for, all we accomplish. They are the real difference maker.
  4. Private. We remain a private company which allows us to have a longer-term view, gives us greater independence, and lets us operate with greater flexibility and purpose (see #1).
  5. Profit. We operate profitably because that is essential to long-term survival and independence, and it lets us know that we are adding value for our customers.
  6. Paced Growth. Hyper-growth or growth-at-all-costs kills organizations. At best it leads them to losing their independence. On the other hand, no growth or stagnation is a recipe for trouble. Planned, paced growth keeps us relevant and competitive. PayNW’s 5-year compound annual growth rate of 35% is something we are proud of – not because it is mega-high, but because it is just right.
  7. Pragmatic Innovation. We don’t do blue sky R&D here. We look to innovate in service of our customers and in ways that have meaningful, incremental impact on their businesses and jobs.

For a deeper dive, check out The Tugboat Institute’s website.

"PayNW intends to be around for a very long time. Far longer than me, the founder. Longer, actually, than anyone currently working here. To do that, we need to continue building and developing based on a set of principles that serves our customers and our larger purpose." Said Anderson.

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