Getting To Know You: Catherine Pinkney, co-founder of Paycircle

Cat Pinkney, co-founder, Paycircle

What do you currently do?

We’re launching a disruptive payroll platform amongst other things. I’m co-founder of Paycircle, and we write compliance software with a funky vibe. Our stuff is easy to use and helps SMEs have more control around things like running payroll and the new pension auto enrolment rules. We remove fear of doing these things and make them super simple – because we care and see things from a business owner’s point of view.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Seeing SMEs being forced to grapple with some more red tape and pay through the nose for it in time and cash (new auto enrolment rules). We had developed a pay platform that we were using for our own clients – we decided to give it a makeover and thus enable business owners to DIY.

It bothers us to see things being overcomplicated and people making money off the back of it. SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy and they need as much support as they can get. We are totally motivated to help the SME sector and create beautifully simple products that give business owners control and at really low cost. We want to change the way many professional services are delivered; payroll is just one of them.

Who do you admire?

Any business owner who works their nuts off to see their company grow and provide a decent environment for their team. Some of the things people go through to get their businesses off the ground is awesome and truly inspiring. I also admire anyone – or group of people – who are setting out to change something, and people who meet challenge head on and persevere, even in the face of adversity. That ‘never give up’ attitude is very admirable. We all have it in us but when someone finds that thing, that passion to change something, it’s amazing what people can do and what they can achieve. I also admire my co-founders and all of my colleagues; they are all awesome for this very reason.

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently?

Focussed on a single product sooner. Three years ago we were developing a few things at the same time, now all of our focus is on Paycircle so our small team’s efforts are no longer diluted and we can make much faster progress. This isn’t necessary advice for others, it’s just what we ought to have done.

What defines your way of business?

Making the complex easy, even enjoyable – putting the customer in control and making everything transparent and obvious. It’s about enabling and empowering. We never patronise people. It’s about being human and real. We have real empathy and put people first no matter what we are doing. We are not greedy. We have a very open and sharing culture.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Really understand what you are passionate about, what you do that no one else does or does as well as you. And set about telling people how amazing your thing is and why it matters so much to you – one person at a time if necessary. Don’t procrastinate, get on with things, take advice from the right people – people who genuinely have your interests at heart and don’t just see you as walking cash. Be brave and bold, surround yourself with awesome people and enjoy every day of your journey.