Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


On Being an Evergreen Company

Actually, we haven’t changed at all, but now there is a term that describes us…Evergreen.

We’re the same old company that we’ve been since we were founded in January 2008.  While reading the September issue of Inc. magazine during my noon workout this past Thursday, I came across this article entitled “The 7 Defining Characteristics of Companies That Will Be Around for Years to Come.”  It’s as if the founders of the Tugboat Institute, Dave Whorton and Chris Alden, reached out from the page, grabbed me by the collar and said “come with us, you belong here, you are an Evergreen company!”.

Dave and Chris define Evergreen companies, and the CEO’s that run them, as:

“…purpose-driven leaders with the grit and resourcefulness to build and scale private, profitable, enduring, and market-leading businesses that make a dent in the universe. They put their people first and avoid raising capital that puts money before mission and imposes a growth-at-all-costs or exit-oriented mindset.”

They go on to describe the 7 P’s that are the defining characteristics of Evergreen companies:

Purpose – Being passionately driven by a compelling vision and mission.  017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44

Private – Taking advantage of the ability of closely-held private companies to have a longer-term view, greater confidentiality around strategies, and more operating flexibility than public or exit-oriented businesses.  017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44

Perseverance – Having the ambition and the resilience to overcome obstacles and keep pursuing the mission indefinitely into the future.  017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44

Profit – Not mistaking profit as the purpose of the business; but recognizing it is essential to survival and independence, and the most accurate measure of customer value delivered.  017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44

People First – Engaging a workforce of talented associates who excel as a team and are motivated by the mission and the culture, as well as total compensation, in the belief that, by taking care of them, they will take care of the customers, suppliers, partners, communities and their families.  017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44

Paced Growth – Having the discipline to focus on long-term strategy, balance short-term and long-term performance, and grow steadily and consistently from year to year.  017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44

Pragmatic Innovation – Embracing a continuous-improvement process built around taking capital- efficient, calculated risks to innovate creatively within constraints.  017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44017834-blue-jelly-icon-symbols-shapes-check-mark8-sc44

When I read these 7 P’s to my wife she said “if they don’t have a local chapter you should start one!”.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that exercising is good for you.  You never know what you’ll learn while on the treadmill.