The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as an independently owned and operated business with less than 500 employees and $7.5 million in annual sales. As such, the small business community comprises the vast majority of businesses throughout the country. It’s an even greater privilege to have operated Big Sky Commerce as a small business for 15 years in the Treasure State, with its myriad of recreation options and vibrant entrepreneurial community.
When I founded Big Sky Commerce in 2003, the financial technology (FinTech) sector was burgeoning with few players on the scene to handle online payment processing.
PayPal and eBay were growing exponentially, while Amazon was still in its infancy. Most every business owner I encountered wanted a web presence and an online storefront. I knew a niche was needed to efficiently provide payment processing solutions to many industries and business types, and at a fair cost while backed by knowledgeable, accessible support. After all, we’re moving payment transactions fast and efficiently, and clients like to know how to connect with their service provider when questions arise!
I had recently been laid off (along with dozens of others) from a struggling Montana Internet Service Provider, and my wife Carolyn and I had two newborns to feed and a mortgage to pay. We knew at the time that starting our own business would allow us to dictate our own career fate while enabling us to raise our kids in Montana- a commitment we made together at the time.
Starting a FinTech company in 2003 wasn’t as glamorous as it is today. We didn’t have the social media tools, fanfare, and resources like the Missoula Economic Partnership that exist today. Frankly, I started the business in 2003 out of necessity and as the ticket for our family to remain in Montana. Fifteen years later, we’re thrilled to have lived that dream so far.
Our kids have grown into fine young adults after thriving in Missoula school systems and the nourishing environs of Montana, and our business continues to grow thanks to our dedicated staff, reliable partners, and wonderful clients. Today we’re proud to serve hundreds of clients throughout the U.S. while we effectively compete with big banks and large international payment processors.
Our focus today still involves providing merchant accounts and secure payment processing solutions to most industry types, including retail, restaurant, ecommerce, fueling and convenience stores, professional offices, medical, dental, manufacturing, automotive, and the list goes on. In a nut shell, we’re able to provide innovative payment processing solutions and consulting to most any size for-profit business, non-profit organization, and government entity accepting payments.
Cybercriminals are increasingly savvy as we see with frequent data breaches in news headlines. Our clients place great value in Big Sky Commerce as a guiding resource with our many fraud-prevention tools and compliance measures. Risk management and secure, encrypted transactions are our top priorities for our clients in varied industries.
Our company benefits from the tremendous support and resources Missoula offers, including skilled interns from the University of Montana and area high schools eager to embrace and deploy innovative FinTech solutions to a wide array of business clients.
As an independently owned business, it’s a special joy to have family as co-workers while it’s also important to define boundaries and roles to keep relationships strong! Big Sky Commerce would not be where it is today without the work of my wife and business partner, Carolyn, who manages all the back-office complex projects. Our team knows that family comes first and we’re
always flexible when it comes to requested time off for personal commitments.
When I mentor startups and fellow entrepreneurs, I emphasize the importance of remaining committed to their vision, maintain a healthy work-family balance, and never be complacent. It’s wonderful to operate a lifestyle-based FinTech company in Montana, and it shows through our terrific staff, partners, and clients!
By: Kevin Davis, Founder/President of Big Sky Commerce Inc.