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Chad Richison

Quit Job to Start
Doesn't Code
Year of founding:
Current age:
Net worth:

1. Background

Education: B.A. in Mass Communications

College: University of Central Oklahoma

Previous Career:

- Senior manager at payroll firm ADP

- Worked for a smaller, regional payroll provider in Denver, Colorado

2. Origin Story

The Spark

Post graduation, Chad Richison began his career in the payroll industry. He received an offer from ADP and worked there for two and half years. During the time, Chad noticed that there were many inefficiencies and problems in the process of payroll management systems. The companies using these software always complained about how it wasted too much of their time due to the manual entries that had to be done by the HR department. Chad Richison eventually moved to Denver and started working at a regional payroll provider. He realised that even his new clients faced problems similar to the ones that users at ADP used to complain about. Quick at spotting trends, Chad understood that there were limited number of companies who were focused on resolving this issue. That's when the idea for Paycom struck him. "A first-mover mentality guides winning entrepreneurs and is a foundation of success", says Richison.

The Market

A $20bn market of workforce management software in the U.S. was an opportunity that Chad Richison didn't want to miss. Motivated by the market size and the philosophy of having a first movers advantage, Chad moved back to Oklahoma and started to work on Paycom.

The Struggle

Since Chad Richison needed funds for sustenance and didn't want to opt for a job, he decided to sell his house in Denver and applied for a Small Business Administration loan and cashed out his 401(k). This provided him the required funds to keep building Paycom. He started using forms from other payroll providers as templates, and designed every page and button of the online interface himself. By using simple tools like Lotus Notes, Microsoft Word, and Paint, Chad Richison managed to create the workflow of the initial version of the Paycom's software. After completing the first version, the challenge was to look for clients who were ready to use his product. At the time, there were few prospective clients in Oklahoma City and nearby towns, but they didn't even have internet connection. However, Chad Richison envisioned that internet would eventually be adopted at scale, especially by small businesses.

The Launch

In 1998, Chad Richison launched Paycom as a payroll service provider for businesses. Later, Richison expanded it to additional offerings such as Employee Self Service (ESS) software, which was the original vision for Paycom.

3. Other interesting points

- Chad Richison played at state wrestling championships as a high school senior in 1989.

- About one out of every two of his new customers were poached directly from ADP, the company that he worked for previously, and Paychex.

-  At age 11, a young Chad used to haul hay for neighboring farmers.

-  At age 17, Chad Richison had earned enough money to buy his own truck - a Chevy Viking. Along with his high school friends, Chad built a small business that could haul up to 1,200 bales a day.

4. Quote

"For me, it is not what has been built, but what's left to be built." - Chad Richison

5. Company growth & sources (links)

Personal Story

How did they grow the company?