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Here at AVANA, we recently celebrated 20 years in business. It’s a milestone that brings everyone at the company immense pride. In those 20 years, we grew globally, expanded our lending and investing solutions, were named an Inc. 5000 and weathered some pretty rocky storms.
Such storms always present companies and individuals with a choice: get lost in the eye or push ahead. The latter offers tremendous opportunities to learn, improve and evolve. That’s exactly what happened to us at the beginning of the pandemic; it brought us to a crossroads of opportunity and to our company purpose.
From Uncertainty to Opportunity
When the shutdowns first happened, we had an important company meeting. It centered around easing our team’s worry about their livelihoods and the state of the company. One key message: We weren’t doing any layoffs or furloughs.
Instead, brothers Sundip Patel CEO and Chief Lending Officer Sanat Patel announced they would pay salaries with any and all company profits and personal capital they had in the bank.
Despite the insecurity of that extraordinary time, they wanted employees and their families to feel financially secure.
“[Sanat’s and my families are] not any more important than our employees’,” says Sundip of ensuring all AVANA employees remained a priority – even when we didn’t know how the company would survive the pandemic.
“That’s where our purpose really crystalized,” he added. “Purpose is tested when you go through that type of phase. You have to live [your purpose]. You have to practice it when it matters.”
So as the world later pulled itself out of the pandemic and AVANA Companies approached its 20-year anniversary, we started doing some real soul-searching to truly define and articulate a company purpose.
“COVID brought a lot of reflection time to all of us,” says Sanat.
We pondered questions like, “Does what we do matter?” “Does it affect anyone?” “Are we doing anything as valuable as the nurses saving lives on the frontline?”
During the deepest lows of COVID, it was hard to anticipate tomorrow, much less farther into the future. Despite that, we actively worked to pinpoint our forward-thinking company purpose – one that would guide our products, relationships and culture.
Defining Our Purpose
Defining and crafting that purpose started with those soulful questions we asked ourselves (“Does what we do matter?” “Does it affect anyone?”). Another key question was, “What are our personal purposes, as individuals, that get us out of bed every morning?”
It was important we answer that truthfully and realistically to chart a course forward.
During this exercise, Sanat shared that his personal purpose is “to be a good person today to make tomorrow better.” For AVANA Companies, we loved that concept and what it meant for the present as well as the future. The trick was applying it to our world of finance.
At our basic core, AVANA delivers capital to businesses and individuals. Pure and simple. But the “how” behind that capital became essential to our brainstorming.
With every transaction we facilitate, our goal is to help borrowers and investors foster social and environmental impact.
Sundip says of why he started AVANA Companies, “It occurred to me that I needed to [create AVANA] so I’m actually helping people in business. I wanted to focus on if I could deliver capital and create something I could be proud of. I wanted to help businesses create jobs.”
To that end, AVANA started out by offering 504 business loans, then we moved into renewable energy. The simple reason we moved into clean energy lending and investing was to create a better world for our children.
All this culminated in the concept of delivering “Capital for a Better Tomorrow.” It just clicked. We realized this mission had forever been rooted in our company origins, personal philosophies and financial solutions. It was just a matter of digging it up, dusting it off and formally ingraining it into our DNA.
Growing Into Our Purpose
At the core of our purpose are key characteristics of empathy, compassion, collaboration and positivity. Applying that to every facet of our business takes time, diligence and measure. It’s a journey – and one that doesn’t come easy.
At AVANA Companies, we continue to view ourselves as a work in progress, but now we’re led by a united purpose. Our “North Star,” as Sanat calls it, is a beacon guiding us into a future of doing our part to make the world a better place for generations to come. After all, AVAVA translates to “preserving.”
There are many elements to us fulfilling our purpose, but one key goal is to grow our footprint. We’re expanding farther across the globe and with a clear focus on diversity and inclusivity, both in relation to our borrowers and investors as well as our internal team.
“The idea is growth but not growth at any cost,” clarifies Sundip.
Sanat adds, “Yes, we look at how we take our existing knowledge to create that opportunity many times over. We’re getting better at making decisions simply because it’s the right thing to do.”
And, for all of us at AVANA Companies, that’s a pretty fantastic reason to get out of bed every morning.
About AVANA Companies
AVANA Companies is a comprehensive lending and asset management platform serving entrepreneurs and investors. Comprised of a dedicated and diverse team with a unified mission – to create jobs, stimulate economies and contribute to clean energy – AVANA’s Family of Companies is focused on supporting American businesses and providing impactful, socially-driven investment opportunities that preserve wealth and create growth.