Ask the expert: what can I do to ensure my fintech is protected during these challenging times?
Greg Watts is our resident expert. He is the founder of Demand Creation Partners, a London-based growth consultancy that helps fintechs and paytechs to scale. A visiting lecturer at the American University in Paris and regular industry speaker, he was previously head of market acceleration at Visa Europe.
QUESTION: What can I do to ensure my fintech is protected during these challenging times?
Coronavirus aka COVID-19 is dominating the airwaves, crippling industries, sending stock markets crashing and putting people’s livelihoods at risk.
It’s all everyone’s talking about – and for good reason.
So, what can fintechs – and indeed other businesses – do to protect themselves and their employees during these unsettling times?
In this column, I’ll look at ways in which fintechs can navigate the chaos, support and protect their teams, help revive the economy, and come out the other side stronger.
- Focus on your people
A business’ number one priority must always be to ensure the health and safety of its people.
Against the current backdrop, it’s imperative that fintechs provide their people with the resources, structures and support mechanisms to carry out their work seamlessly from home.
More than anything, it’s important to maintain a calm, “business as usual” attitude – albeit with less physical interaction.
There are many ways a business can do this:
- Check that all team members have access to good Wi-Fi and network connections and have the tools they need to work remotely and collaboratively, such as Slack and WhatsApp. Distribute a checklist of requirements, and if anything’s missing, provide it.
- Schedule start of the day, virtual “stand-ups” where priorities for the day and achievements from the day prior are shared with the team. This will ensure communications remain clear and that team members feel they have a structure to work from.
- Similarly, encourage individual team leaders to hold beginning and end of week virtual calls with their teams to set priorities and check-in on progress.
- Continue your culture of reward and recognition for great work – for example, a weekly award for people who have gone over and above. Small gestures – which don’t require human contact – will lift spirits. Send flowers from Bloom & Wild, a box of Crosstown Doughnuts or delicious postal cookies from artisan baker Alchemy of Sugar.
- Finally, ensure your teams know they can phone you any time. In times like this, some people may just need a friendly ear or want to chat.
- Step up partnership and customer discussions
Amidst the economic turmoil, it’s actually more important than ever to step up conversations with potential partners and customers.
The fact is, the virus will recede. And when it does, fintechs need to be prepared to continue to scale and grow.
With so many people working from home, now could be a good time to reach out to prospective partners and customers who might be more receptive to a conversation. There’s no reason efforts should slow down just because you can’t meet face-to-face.
Indeed, over the past week, I’ve been involved in more partnership conversations than usual with people working from home who are perhaps a little more receptive to taking a call.
If you don’t already have a target list of potential partners or customers – or if needs refreshing – now could be a good time to get one in place. We’ve previously written about the power of Account Based Marketing, which you can see here.
- Secure further investment to accelerate growth
Similar to stepping up discussions with prospective partners and customers, now could be a good time to do the same with potential investors who might be looking at alternative forms of investment.
For example, as we come to the end of the tax year, if you have any remaining SEIS or EIS allowances, it might be worth considering how you can create a campaign to target investors who want to make the most out of potential tax efficiencies.
For more advice on how to develop your investment strategy, see my previous column here.
Bringing it all together
As a growing a fintech, you’ve worked hard to get to where you are. Coronavirus or not, you mustn’t let momentum slow.
There are still plenty of commercial and investment opportunities available if you look in the right places and take the right approach.
Your number one priority must be to ensure – as much as possible – that it’s business as usual, with the welfare of your people at the top of the list.
For now, stay safe and carry on.