JCW had a fantastic day speaking at Vedanvi’s monthly Financial Services & Fintech Leaders Roundtable.
Vadanvi, a specialist fintech advisory firm, host these monthly forums along with JCW, to bring Founders and Leaders within the fintech space together to tackle the biggest hurdles facing the industry today.
The roundtable discussed various topics around how to successfully scale a financial services business. For a lot of business leaders, scaling up is on their ‘want-to-do’ list, yet scaling successfully in business is rare.
“Out of 35,210 scaleups in the UK. Only 1 in 40 Scale Up”
Source: Scale Up Institute
What fintech business leaders learnt at the roundtable
First, Vedanvi looked into why the scale-up figure above is so low and summarised the main challenges involved in a scale-up which included:
- Intense competition
- Tight regulatory climate
- Leadership capacity gap
- Talent and skills gap
- Financing gap
Vadanvi and JCW summarised the principles of how to effectively scale up your fintech business into seven key areas.
1. Identifying your market
When upscaling, you need to identify the right market for your business and ensure that you are targeting the right people. Once you have refined your market, it’s important that you create a purpose-driven mission and establish a clear and compelling business message. Onboarding marketing skills within your company and developing a marketing strategy requires attention if you wish to scale.
2. Operational Precision
Business operations will need to be organised around delivering on your brand promise and factoring in a process for remarkable customer service. Speed of execution must be factored into your operational strategy with feedback loops, as well as a method of working which ensures financial control that both generates and preserves cash.
3. Regulatory Resilience
In an ever-changing regulatory landscape, this is one of the toughest hurdles financial services business leaders face. To overcome this, foreseeing regulatory changes should be a strategic imperative and built into the culture of the company. Avoid commercial exploitation of regulatory change and put measures in place to identify non-compliance quickly. You should also make the time to forge a healthy relationship with Regulators Regulation.
4. Hiring a talented team
First, a high energy and high growth mindset cannot be driven from the bottom up but instead top down by the CEO. To support your organisational structure, you’ll need to start by identifying your employer brand. What makes you different? Why should people work for you over your competition? What can you put in place to attract and retain top talent?
Research what incentives encourage employee loyalty and make plans to be flexible about this. Think about what you can implement that will grow and nurture the skills and work experience of your employees. Once you have had a go at tackling these issues, it’s important to find innovative resourcing solutions and take the hiring process itself seriously. Headcount is often the biggest cost to your business, so get it right with a well thought out hiring process.
Your plan to upscale should factor in your efforts around building your brand and your business message. Watch out for new products religiously, keep an eye on emerging markets and find the time to create new partnerships regularly.
6. Nurturing Success and Protecting Risk
You should maximise success but while doing so, dedicate resources to mitigating risk. Reactive behaviour to problems is costly and can halt scaling altogether. Conduct regular risk assessments and risk registers and have a process in place for issue escalation and resolution. Factor risk into your business infrastructure and invest in outsourcing or hiring a risk consultant if necessary.
7. Evolve or Exit
Whether you have plans to exit your business or not, you should be prepared to evolve or exit the company at any point. You should have an exit strategy in place way before this happens including shaping the business structure around enabling an exit. Planning an exit strategy should also encourage autonomy and self-sufficiency amongst employees and make your business model itself more efficient. If a business cannot survive without a few key members, your current structure is weak. Be prepared to pivot quickly when necessary, and plan for the event of growth by geography, merger or acquisition and IPO.
Bringing it together
Implementing the points covered at the roundtable may seem like more work from you, but ultimately, it’s working smarter not harder. More of it is about ensuring that your leadership team is shifting their decisions around the issues we’ve discussed and incorporating the right skill sets and people into your business to deliver on your growth objectives.
How Vedanvi and JCW can help you
For a full consultation to discuss how to successfully execute these seven key points and scale your financial services business, get in touch with Vedanvi today.
If you would like help to develop your talent strategy to help you grow, get in touch with Fred Vinall, Principal Consultant at JCW at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how he can provide advice about securing the best talent on the market for you today.
Judging by the positive feedback, it looks like the monthly forum will prove highly valuable in helping people scale their financial services business, and we look forward to the next roundtable on the 24th of January 2019.
Nicola Lawler, Head of Marketing at The JCW Group
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