Cisco Canada Blog

What the startups know, that we could all learn from

April 20, 2017

If you’ve been paying any attention at all lately, you’ve probably noticed that the number of Fintech startups is multiplying like bunnies.

It’s not just mobile payment anymore, it’s apps that help users track spending, personalize their health insurance, and even pool money with other investors. There’s a wealth of apps (see what I did there) making people’s lives easier and their popularity is booming.

And it’s because the clever guys and gals behind the startups understand one equation that everyone in finance could learn from: agility plus user insights equals success.

What does that mean? Well, they’re responsive, they’re nimble, and they’re not afraid to rejig their offerings until they get the right mix of finance expertise and customer need that can really drive profits.

Take Toronto-based League. Founded by serial entrepreneur Mike Serbinis, League started off as a way to connect healthcare professionals with customers. To borrow a term, it was meant to “Uber-ize healthcare.”

But it didn’t work.

What did work? Listening to their customers, the market, and finding a gap where they could fit in something special. A few retools later, and League is on its way to disrupting the health insurance model.

What can other financial services companies learn from League’s experience? Plenty.

In a market where trust is hard to come by, where people are unsure of where to put their money, where to turn for insurance or real estate advice, it’s important to listen, react, and adjust. Start conversations, get to know your customers – you rely on them, just as much as they rely on you. And you can give them the answers they were looking for to questions they didn’t know they had.

Start collecting data. Big Data is the cornerstone of today’s marketplace: the more you know your customers, the better you can serve them. But it goes beyond social listening (although that is, of course, essential). You have access to their transactions, to their real priorities, to their unique personal digital fingerprints – use those insights to find your niche and fine tune your business model and offer truly personalized products and services.

Small and midsize business have an advantage that the bigger guys can’t even touch. Your size makes you nimble, makes it easier to be responsive. You don’t have year-long decision making cycles, you can do it in a month (a week, maybe even a really great day).

And be quick about it. Because if you don’t find your market segment, someone else will.

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