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Dan Price

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Dan Price is the CEO and co-founder of payment processing company Gravity Payments. Price, son of well-known consultant and speaker Ron Price, was homeschooled with his four brothers in rural Idaho. During his high school years, Price played in a rock band, an experience that would inspire his passion for working with small businesses. Playing at local coffee shops and music venues throughout the country and working with record stores and independent music retailers, Price began to get a taste of the important ways independent businesses improve a community’s quality of life.

Inspired by his experiences on tour, Price started seeking avenues for serving these small, independent businesses. He started undertaking tech projects and negotiating with payment providers in an attempt to get better service and lower fees for his clients. His procurement and tech skills, combined with an absolute devotion to customer service and satisfaction, earned him a loyal, growing client base. Soon, Price’s clients were encouraging him to transition out of managing the payment processing relationship to developing a means of providing it himself.

Price listened to his customers, and in 2004 he developed his own payment and credit card processing service, Gravity Payments. With the help of his brother, Lucas, the 19-year-old entrepreneur launched the payment processing and point-of-sale business out of his dorm room at Seattle Pacific University. Ten-years later, Gravity Payments was one of the top 50 credit card processors in the United States, with customers in all fifty states. They offer clients a comprehensive range of payment processing services, including credit and debit card processing, electronic check payment processing, gift and loyalty programs, e-commerce and an iPad point of sale. Charging lower fees, eschewing difficult to follow bills and policies, and placing a priority on efficient, personal customer service, Gravity Payments continues to work towards its original ideals of creating payment processing options that support the efforts of independent businesses.

Price’s success with Gravity Payments has earned him wide recognition, including Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. He also received Seattle Business Magazine’s 2014 “Executive Excellence Award,” Inc. Magazine’s 2013 “Hire Power Award,” GeekWire’s 2013 “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” designation, and the National Small Business Administration’s 2010 “Entrepreneur of the Year” designation. In 2008, he was honored for his entrepreneurship and the continued success of Gravity Payments by President Barack Obama.

Companies and Investments

Gravity Payments (Founder, CEO)

Lessons Learned

Success alone doesn’t amount to happiness. In getting closer to your goals, what matters is how much you give and put yourself out there to help others. Try doing something for someone everyday while at the same time being appreciative when others do the same for you. As Guy Kawasaki puts it, when someone thanks you for helping them, instead of saying “you’re welcome”, say “Hey! It’s no problem…you would have done the same for me.” (Dan Price on helping others and building relationships, in an article on FlipTheMedia.com)

First and foremost, trust is so much more efficient when you know someone has your best interests and the interests of your business at heart. A customer will relax and allow you to help them out as much as you possibly can, if you build a strong relationship based on honesty. Being transparent with our customers has been the number one way we’ve helped save them time and headaches. But, there are a thousand different things that have come from building this trust with our customers. That has included automating their point of sale system in a way that drives more revenue, makes their business more efficient, and provides better data or analytics to the business owner.

We also invest our own funds into our customer’s businesses through a Working Capital program. Whether they need a hand up on anything from expanding and building onto their business or fixing a broken fryer, it saves them the stress and headache of applying for a small bank loan or putting it on a corporate credit card. Being able to provide a really efficient financing mechanism amongst our other added values have all been ways that we’re helping our customers to be successful.

But, the most rewarding thing has been just being there for them. I have one customer who called me and said they feel like our customer service team is sitting in their car waiting outside whenever they call. And that particular customer maybe calls us once a month or every several months. But, just the fact that they felt like Gravity knows them, cares about them, and we’re waiting to help them in any way we possibly can is, I think, the best way we’ve been able to serve them. I heard another quote from a customer who said, ‘Your team would come and paint my roof if I asked them to.’ We’ve been able to help our customers the most simply by doing whatever it takes. We’re not asking questions about whose fault it is when something goes wrong. Instead, we just roll up our sleeves and figure it out. We understand that if our customer has a problem, then we have a problem. (Dan Price on building a strong relationship with your customers based on trust, in an interview on BusinessInterviews.com)

I just love the feeling that I get from it. It’s addicting. I remember one of the first businesses that I helped out was a retail coffee shop. At the time, the high school band I was in would play acoustic shows there, and the woman who ran it was the nicest, sweetest person I ever met. She would give us free coffee when we performed and would go out of her way to help us in any way she could – she was a phenomenal person. She was really passionate about her business and loved her customers, but she was not a good business person in the sense that she was not super sophisticated or financially savvy. One day, I was in her coffee shop and noticed she was having some issues with her business. I didn’t know much, but I just rolled up my sleeves and helped her anyway that I could. The fact that I was able to help her out and do something for her that she maybe didn’t have the time or energy or focus or background to do for herself felt really good. And she never forgot about it and always appreciated it. It was an amazing feeling to be able to give back to someone who had given so much to me. The passion behind what I’ve built Gravity Payments on is simple: Find someone who needs help, and help them in any way you possibly can. (Dan Price on making serving needs, helping others, and creating something useful a central part of your business, in an interview on BusinessInterviews.com)

I think it’s really important for each of us to have some self-awareness and learn about ourselves. More often than not, those that care about others and care about the impact they have will be a lot happier and have a better life. You know, we all get so focused around accomplishments and goals, but at the end of the day your life is relatively short and you only have a finite period of time. One question to think about is, “How am I going to have the most enjoyment of my life while I’m here?” I think for most people, helping others will lead to more enjoyment than other types of activities that you could be doing. (Dan Price on the fulfillment of building a business that prioritizes being of service to something greater than yourself, in an interview with BusinessInterviews.com)


Inspiring Quotes

Dan Price's Quotes

I’d say a big part of leadership is empathy.

Dan Price

For me, having more empathy is one of the most powerful things I can do to improve as a leader.

Dan Price

Were trying to make an industry that is evil a little bit less evil. But Id rather make it good.

Dan Price

You have to listen and be open-minded always, but you also have to develop your own conscience. That involves making mistakes, but those mistakes will be yours, not someone else’s, and you will learn and grow from them.

Dan Price

As hard as this may sound, the more effort you put in, the more support and encouragement you will receive to keep you moving forward. It was my responsibility to build a lasting trust with each of my clients. And years later, this focus on trust remains strong.

Dan Price

Influential Books

Chip Heath - Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Mentors

Dan Levine

References


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