SilverEdge SilverEdge logoWAS A TRADITIONAL payments services company in Colorado.  From that history as Payment Solutions, they’ve reinvented themselves under a new name as a payment technology provider for small- and medium-sized businesses.

I saw that they were growing swiftly – they made the Inc. 500 in 2012, the Mercury 100 in 2011 and were awarded the Mercury Fastest Growing Company in 2012.  But I hadn’t paid much attention.

This is an impressive business.  Fast growing, focused, and solid in their convictions.

A few weeks ago I met Ken Salazar, president and CEO, and was impressed with the values foundation they have for the company.  So I was glad I had a chance to meet with him and dig into the topic.

Ken SalazarOn their website (and walls and everyplace else) you’ll find their “4P’s”:

  • Live with Purpose
  • Be Professional
  • Stay Positive
  • Work Passionately

Yes, that all sounds well and good.  Who doesn’t try to motivate employees with statements like this?

This company goes well beyond, because they’ve created systems to balance and reinforce these values.  After all, it’s possible to have purposeful, professional, positive and passionate employees – but an unhealthy business because you’re so internally focused.

Above that are the Core Convictions of SilverEdge:

  1. Create tangible value by offering products and services that increase the profits of our clients
  2. Hire and develop for the 4 P’s
  3. Continuously improve products, people, processes, partners, and performance
  4. Give back to the community through service and economic support

I’ve worked for companies where profitability is the top goal, but notice a crucial difference here:  The focus is on improving profits for the customers.  The logic is straightforward:  By improving the customer’s business, they’ll bring more business to us, and we’ll be sustainable and profitable ourselves.

Isn’t it amazing what a slight shift in emphasis can do?  This combines together customer value, customer satisfaction, sustainable business, and profitability all into one balanced statement.

Likewise, the second and third convictions (4P’s and continuous improvement) deftly capture the balance of different stakeholders, changing needs, and business priorities.  And each statement can be easily segmented into clear areas for action.  Not a word goes to waste.

United we giveCommunity support and service is more deeply embedded than you typically see.  Yes, they’re aggressively working to increase their ability to monetarily support United Way.  More importantly, they encourage everyone to become personally involved, supporting paid volunteer time and project engagement.  They’ve set up a website to help customers become part of their giving campaign.

This is a team focused on making real contributions, not just getting a plaque to put in the lobby.  They have plenty of those, of course, but it’s not the point.

I always try to understand what these profiled companies are working on for future improvement.  There’s an incredible amount of change in technology these days.  Witness the growth of Square and its competitors, and the announcement of ApplePay last week.  Helping customers navigate through this space is complex.

As you’d expect, Ken also pays great attention his rapidly growing workforce.  It’s not easy finding the right people who easily fit in to the company culture, who quickly develop trusting relationships with each others and customers, and who have the capacity for rapid change.

But with such great clarity, they should be able to pull it off.