Plenty of first-time entrepreneurs I had a chance to meet at Startup Weekends and while facilitating corporate hackathons, fall short when it comes to validation of their market assumptions. There are so many unsuccessful business ideas but yours does not have to be one of them.
Most startup teams proceed straight from their idea to the production phase without validation of their target audience, product, or idea. This is a major problem, as the business will not know whether their idea is indeed a requirement in the market. To add, I see many “nice to have” ideas instead of “need to have”. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the problem your team is solving.
Any novel business idea is good but building something does not necessarily mean it will bring in the market. Take the time to validate your market assumptions and the product and it will save you plenty of energy, money, and time.
In this post, I’m writing about how to use Facebook as a validation tool as one of the ways how to test the waters.
What you should know about Facebook Ads
You can validate market assumptions and the product using several ways and Facebook is by far one of the cheapest options as you can even do it on a budget.
Facebook can be used to develop targeted ads for a specific audience that you feel would be your main audience. You will be able to gain feedback on your business on items such as proposition value, the product offering, the core messaging, and the main audience.
The knowledge of such information will be essential to the implementation of a stable content strategy for the business. It will also enable you to gain knowledge on how to connect your audience to your content depending on the consumers’ individual journeys.
Why Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads are the cheapest alternative and they enable you to target a specific audience on a micro level. You can send text messages to a particular group initially and later extend within a larger segment of your audience. With Facebook, you can establish your maximum budget based on the intended lifetime of your ads and allow running of the test then narrow the demographics down to the target audience.
Another advantage of using Facebook is that it is very easy and you do not need substantial tech expertise to run the campaign. Ensure, however, that you read on the best practices to take and monitor your efforts closely. I would really recommend taking a look Neil Patel’s blog post on running Facebook Ads.
Create a Facebook page
If you are validating an idea or starting up a business, there is no need to spend too much time creating content to add to the business page. You will simply need to go straight to the point while making sure it is short and clear without losing track. Create the page, put up extra information about the business, and finally add the cover picture and the logo.
Make an event
After building an audience actively from your site’s visitors, you can create an Facebook event later and promote it to them to increase potential first sale gradually. But first step first – create interest and test the waters if there is a demand for your service. Don’t wait, do it and figure things along the way.
You will notice that while creatin a Facebook event page, there is an URL section. In case you don’t have a website yet and you want a landing page for some reason, you can try using Typeform for instance.
In late April 2017, when Aleksander, Geza and I launched Startup Weekend MEGA concept in Copenhagen (the event took place in November 2017), we did not have a website. Therefore, we had to be creative.
We decided to set up a Typeform as our main landing page and through this form, potential attendees were able to claim their early bird ticket once the Eventbrite page will be set up. It was a pretty quick and inexpensive solution that worked brilliantly for us. We kept it simple by asking:
- What role describes you the best? (designer, developer, engineer, business, marketer, etc)
- Do you have an idea, you want to pitch for the weekend?
Join Groups and Post
One of the keys to making use of Facebook groups is exposing yourself to a potential audience so you can listen to what they have to say and find solutions for them.
Engagement and connection to the audience is the goal as opposed to forcefully pushing your idea or product down their throats. Certain entrepreneurship and business groups can have allowances for promotions but you have to confirm the group rules and follow them accordingly. Post helpful, motivational, and inspirational content to your specific audience and lend a hand where your abilities see fit.
Facebook groups are great in that they allow you to get in touch with an audience sharing the same interests, as you be it productivity, books, travel, crafts, business, or otherwise.
Ask questions and answer
Part of connecting and engaging with the audience is through asking questions and answering them. Ask definitive questions concerning issues other people have that are connected to the work you do so you can obtain insight. It is also beneficial to help when questions are directed to you and you are able to assist.
Choose certain groups that interest you currently and select the ideal ones to concentrate on when you have spent enough time gauging people’s connection and response to you.
Ever since building Community Canvas over the summer together with Aleksander and Geza, I shifted my focus heavily to community building. Moreover, I joined many Facebook groups and conversations that address building communities as a result.
By asking questions and engaging with the relevant groups, you can gain quite a lot of insights. In the Facebook post (pic above) in one of the community building groups, I managed to get 11 really relevant answers to my questions from community builders around the world.
Consider what your customers would find interesting and these interests will help take you to special groups with these customers. Join these groups and initiate conversations with group members related to your knowledge or area of expertise.
Create an ad
Develop a message your potential clients could identify with. This could be easy for you if you have talked to other business owners or potential customers to find out what is needed. Establish a campaign to obtain likes for your website using the ad.
Move over, ensure you address the problem faced by prospective customers and mention a probable solution. Identify and use a hook in order to get more people to click to become fans enabling you to directly message them.
It has never been cheaper to test an idea
Try using Facebook Ads next time you have an idea or when you are about to do a market validation. To add, Facebook even gives you a rough number of how many people your targeting and your potential market size. Go and try to create an ad. You will be able to get some stats for your potential market.
It’s pretty cheap and easy not to test before investing time and money building something. The next step is to figure out exactly how you are going to solve the problem you found, and that’s the epic part.
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Jeff Bezos, who is the founder and CEO of Amazon, was the opposing idea. He did not value communication within the workplace and followed this up by creating a two-pizza team rule.
- Communication is the main issue. As groups increase in size and number, the communication deteriorates. Experts attribute this deterioration to the links within the group. A group of six people already has about fifteen links. For each person to communicate, it may take a lot of time, energy, and the difference in opinions might even cause conflict. To coordinate such a large group in the performance of a single task will lower the general productivity of the entire team.
- Frustration and stress. Experts are of the view that people in teams tend to be more stressed and frustrated. Taking into account the number of links within the team, there is bound to be one individual who may feel left out or underappreciated.
Tips to Selecting A for Pizza Team Startup
- Set the standard magic number- This four people pizza rule was coined by Bob Sutton, who is a Navy Seal. He supports this by stating that single digits work better. He equates the number to that needed during combat. Thus, if you have large teams start splitting them into sub-groups of four people.
- Cheers rule- This rule aims at bringing the members closer. This rule is a form of team building. Creating tasks that the members can perform together. The idea is to make the four people tight-knit in that they will feel the need to support each other gradually through tasks.
- Transparency as the secret ingredient-The teams needs to come up with systems that will help them access data and forecasts more openly with the aim of managing their work. Miscommunication and misinformation are very common in groups that have more linkages. Smaller groups tend to accommodate “self-service transparency”. This is the type of transparency that distributes information and power via tools, processes, and systems, which help people move forward as a team
Stipulated Tasks for the Four People Pizza Team Startup
- Hustler– This team member works to convince the prospective customers to purchase their goods or subscribe to their services. The hustler should be very convincing by simply using their words to wheel in the buyers.
- Visual wizard– This member is responsible for creating the brand of the team. The wizard should be creative and innovative enough to come up with ideas and bring them to life. The wizard should be able to come up with ideas from scratch.
- Technical magician– This is the programmer of the team. He or she should be well versed with technology as it advances. They are responsible for creating the team system that will cater to the work transparency, security of ideas and finances, among other things. They should also be exceptional coders, who are able to spellbind different APIs.
- Growth hacker– This member is responsible for the online image of the brand. They should work with the hustler to make sure that they market their brand properly to attract the highest number of clientele base. They should strategize plans with the hustler to come up with ways of handling digital channels and social media platforms.
Do you know and understand what drives your business?
Are you aware of the health of your business?
Do you know how to measure the return on your marketing investments and sales?
Numerous underlying values and factors affect how your business runs. Very few business owners are able to predict the state of their business in the near future. The idea is to move away from the usual growth rates, revenue, user engagement numbers, total user figures, and EBITDA, among others. Relying on this limits the health prediction to its current state instead of the future. This is a leeway for future losses. Secure your business by applying the LTV: CAC ratio.
What Is The LTV: CAC Ratio?
This ratio will help you work out your return and predict your future return. Subscription companies popularly use this ratio. It works out the connection between the customer’s Lifetime Value (LTV) and the Cost of Acquiring the customer (CAC). Most companies and businesses are faced with a lack of knowledge of the right amount to spend on the customer. These two concepts need to be appreciated one at a time in order to achieve successful results for your business.
What Is The Lifetime Value?
You need to have some insight on the time and value that an average customer places on your services and products. This period has a close relation to the value that the customer brings to the business; the longer the period the more the value. Below are a few steps to knowing the lifetime value of your customers.
- Churn rate– This is the rate at which customers cancel subscriptions within a period. This period is calculated in months. For example, if your business has five hundred customers and in a span of one month, twenty of them cancel their subscription then the rate will be four percent monthly churn. Working out this equation in an inverted position helps to work out the period that customers will stick around for your services.
- Gross margin– This margin is measured in percentages. It is the residual profit percentage after paying service and product costs.
- Average monthly payment for each customer– This record is also necessary to determine the lifetime value. Just as the name suggests, it is the average subscription payment made by each customer per month.
Thus, all the above values play a part in determining the lifetime value. The equation for determining this is as follows:
Average Monthly Subscription value per customer X (1/Monthly Churn) X Gross percentage margin
The lifetime value is dependent on the level of the business. At the beginning of the business, this value is very minute. In fact, it is lifetime value of the business increases with the growth.
How to Calculate the Customer Acquisition Cost
Calculating this is much easier and direct in comparison to the lifetime value. It includes the entire marketing and sales budget divided by the total new customers within a particular period. This calculation works well for enterprises with a short marketing and sales budget.
This ratio helps enterprises to maintain their numbers with respect to their return in a certain period. Experts advise on recovering the CAC within the first year or so of the business. Therefore, the ratio should technically be LTV: CAC= 3:1. This means that a customer’s value should be substantial enough for an enterprise to acquire the customer. This means that if this ratio gets to 1:1, then the enterprise is spending too much on customer acquisition and will most likely not be able to recover this amount within the stipulated time. It would be beneficial to note that this value does not include fixed costs such as rent, infrastructure or even company salaries. It specifically sticks to
How Does The Cost Affect Business Operation Costs?
Entrepreneurs are bold and confident about their services and products. This makes some of them believe strongly that they do not have to pay a cent in the acquisition of customers. They assume that customers will hunt them down for their services and goods. However, this is far from the real approach. This mentality makes entrepreneurs fail at the onset of their business startups, which is why they have to start appreciating the beauty of investing and reaping from their efforts after the customers make their purchases and service requests.
These values are handy for business owners who own enterprises that have a direct connection between the growth of users and revenue. This means that people who own advertising businesses are not likely to benefit from such calculations. Thus, the business that should use these calculations should be able to market to their customers in order for them to get the services and products. The aim of the calculation is to create a new plan that will make the future project of your enterprise more sustainable.
Fintech has rapidly exploded over the past couple of years. Several Fintech startups have emerged to feed and develop the trend. Fintech has been seen to revolutionize how we approach banking and many people are moving from the old banking ways to more tech-savvy ones. This has led to the rise of Fintech accelerators throughout the world.
Since my last LinkedIn post “Reinventing The Banking Sector” I started to dig deeper into a fact that more banks want to explore accelerator and incubator model to accelerate their business.
Let’s start at the very beginning
Startup accelerators assist entrepreneurs in their journey toward building and running successful companies. The work accelerator and incubator have been used interchangeably to mean the same thing in various forums. However, the main difference between the two is the time they take with entrepreneurs. Accelerators usually take entrepreneurs through programs lasting from three-four months with some company ownership structure while incubator programs generally last more than accelerator model and months with much less strict KPI’s and goals for your company.
Below are a few of the Fintech accelerators and incubators you may come across.
Located in New York, London, and Asia Pacific, this fintech incubator offers a twelve-week mentorship program. Created by Accenture, the program gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop and prove themselves alongside the world’s leading banks.
This accelerator claims to be the world’s leading accelerator focused on financial innovation. Their 3-month program helps entrepreneurs with free office space, mentorship, global network access, and funding. They also offer money for the team to relocate, partner services and in return, ask for equity stake in the entrepreneur’s business. Startup Bootcamp has fintech programs in Singapore, Mumbai, New York, Amsterdam, Mexico City and London. Check out for current open applications.
Located in London, this fintech accelerator claims to be the largest in Europe for finance, cyber-security, and future cities technology. They have a tailored curriculum, expert mentors, and events aimed at supporting entrepreneurs. Level 39 is wholly owned by the Canary Wharf Group and was launched in 2013. It has had over 90,000 visitors and hosted over 1000 events since its inception.
Located in London, New York, Cape Town and Tel Aviv, the Barclays Accelerator focuses purely on Fintech startups. It has a 13-month program that is designed to give the enrolled entrepreneurs access to the bank’s network and mentorship from some of the smartest people in the Fintech world.
Located in Tel Aviv, aims to accelerate innovation through comprehensive programs and partnerships for entrepreneurs. They started their accelerator program as a way to participate in the tech ecosystem and first launched in 2013. They have launched 3 classes so far, graduating 33 startups from their four-month program.
In 2016, Denmark opened its own Fintech Hub as a joint initiative of the Danish Banker’s Association, the City of Denmark and Financial Services Union Denmark in a bid to spur innovation in the Nordic capital.
Copenhagen Fintech is a non-profit organization with partners from different sectors. It is member-driven and aims to connect its entrepreneurs with regulators, policy-makers, educators, researchers, policy-makers and Fintech companies both in Denmark and abroad.
With all these accelerators and incubators situated all over the world, Fintech is sure to grow and develop even more than we can imagine. For entrepreneurs with Fintech solutions but no funding and in need of mentorship, these Fintech accelerators are a good place to start their journey to build their successful businesses.
This blog post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Over the last five years, financial technology, better known as fintech has exploded. We have seen a rise in very many fintech startups, many of which have proven a threat to the traditional banking sector. In Europe alone, VC-backed fintech deal rose 124% compare to 2012’s total invested money. Just in 2016, European fintech companies raised $1.2B among 179 deals in total.
More and more, we are seeing people moving away from the traditional finance models to a more peer-to-peer model including crowd funding and contact-less payments. This has not been driven by corporate financial giants but by startups such as Kickstarter and Funding Circle.
There are many changes that occurred when it comes to banking in recent years thanks to startups. However, there is one sector that I think has felt the biggest change: loans. The traditional model for giving loans by banks and other financial institutions involved offering loans to borrowers at a higher rate than that offered to savers, thus making a killing off it. Banks were thriving with this model. Then came these startups that were offering a different model peer-to-peer loans.
This meant that you could, through online applications, receive a loan at a much better rate than what the banks were offering. Not only that, while it would take you weeks, to get a bank to approve your loan request after they have thoroughly vetted you, now, these startups are offering you loans in less than 24 hours.
How do these startups do this, you ask? Well, the answer is simple: Data. Using data mining techniques, these companies can easily pull data about you from the internet to get a better understanding of your finances. From your eBay sales and ratings to your Facebook data. This was virtually impossible to do 10 years ago.
What does this mean for banks?
Banks have started to recognize the amount of talent these startups have, and short of hiring them to lead departments in the bank, some of them have started adopting fintech services.
With all this in mind, fintech companies are not about to completely eradicate traditional banks. This is an uphill climb with a lot of traction to overcome at the start. No Fintech product feels as safe as a current account at a bank. Some banks will also gain from the rise of these companies, for example, Square makes it easier for small businesses to receive card payments, thus boosting the bank’s transaction volumes.
However, the Fintech disrupters will change and reshape the finance industry in many ways. Here are three of them:
- They will cut costs and improve the quality of financial services offered – fintech startups do not have the same regulations, restrictions, and legacy IT systems that banks face. Nor do they have the need to protect the existing business. While banks tend to operate within a specified period of time during the day, these startups function virtually all day every day.
- They have the advantage of so much online data available to assess risk – They can evaluate your business through social media pages, checking your ratings and getting a general sense of how viable your company is. For banks, risk assessment takes a long time and sometimes, they do not have enough information to go on. Fintech startups can, however, trace your digital presence using data mining techniques
- Fintech companies will create a more diverse and stable credit base. Banks tend to take in short-term liabilities such as deposits to turn into long-term assets like mortgages. Fintech companies, however, match savers and borrowers directly.
In conclusion, although banks have experienced some unsettling by Fintech companies, both can benefit from each other. One thing that Fintech companies definitely do not have yet, it the large client-base of banks. 42% of financial institution surveyed in Fintech Disruptors 2017 Report, want to explore potential partnerships with fintech startups.
A side note: Within the same report, we can find that 42% of surveyed banks, wants to set up a fintech incubator which honestly for me is quite a high number. Perhaps it is not really surprising data since there are so many corporates who are looking into an incubator model. My worry lies in how much bigger the incubator/accelerator market actually can be and how strong is the market need aka startups needs for such support. Will be interesting to see how “startup programs” for VC-backed and growing startups will develop over the next years.
This blog post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
GenieBelt are sharing the considerations that you will have when you are starting up. GenieBelt participated in Startup Weekend back in 2012 (then it was GenieInspect).
According to recent reports, more and more people are looking forward to starting their own companies. In case you too are thinking of setting up your own company, it is essential to note that: the distance between the thought of starting up and finally being able to take action is usually extremely vast. In addition to this, there is the sad reality that majority of the people presently thinking of starting their own companies would never see through their plans.
In case you are amongst those who are launching their businesses then welcome to the adventure. First off, it is essential to understand the fact that the odds are not in your favor but again that is precisely why you are doing it. In the event that you decide to bridge the gap and take the plunge know that you are definitely on the right track.
In addition to all of the above, below are the top 10 considerations when starting your own company. They include the fact that:
1. Your business might fail.
In the process of planning to start your company, you should know that in case you fall in step with some of the finer details, chances are that your business will most definitely bite the dust. As a matter of fact, according to reports, the overall business failure rate is set at around 90%. These statistics factor in issues such as the industry type and failure time frame. In addition to the general fact that your business risks failure, it is essential to understand the fact that timing is equally of significant importance.
2. You are bound to have competition.
In case you are thinking of starting your own company, do not think that you are the only one with that idea. Just so you know, at any given point and time, there are usually several others who are competing for the same customer base. As a matter of fact, some of your competitors may even be better than you. For instance, their branding may seem snazzier than yours; their marketing budgets may seem larger than yours etc
Since you can’t possibly avoid or get rid of the competition, the best thing to do not to be discouraged by it. Just so you know, without competition, you could easily become lazy and lose your edge. This being the case, it is strongly advised that you embrace the competition and improve because of it.
3. You will need to embark on learning more than you already know.
According to reports, many entrepreneurs who set out to start companies do so because they have a detailed overview of the kind of business niche that they are venturing into. Having the talent alone and the expertise to accompany it does not necessarily serve as a guarantee for success when looking forward to setting up your company. Just so you know, you will need slightly more in terms of scalability, marketing, software, sales, laws and software in order to make the business a success.
4. You will need a significant amount of money to spend
Companies can be bootstrapped (launched with nothing more than one’s existing cash or resources). What’s more, these same companies usually require a significant initial capital apart from good financial planning. One perfect place to get the initial capital for setting up a company is leveraging small business loans. Take note, you should prepare yourself to spend money and also protect it being the valuable resource that it is.
5. You will not immediately succeed.
You will agree and support the fact that the title of business owners is usually in most cases associated with Bentleys and Rolexes. Take note, the harsh reality of the matter is starting a company is more of a soul sucking adventure rather than an income boosting experience. Take note, even though riches may be in your future, fact is, the path to achieving them will most definitely be long and hard.
6. You will need to obey laws.
Just so you know, in each and every country there are business regulations which you would need to comply with in case you are looking to start a company in any particular country. Taking this into consideration, it is strongly advised that you perform due diligence in order to have a clear idea of what compliance in the region you are looking to invest in entails. In the process of doing this, it is strongly advised that you closely pay attention the company registration, licenses as well as taxes. The last thing you need is finding yourself in legal mire as a result of your own laxity.
7. You can never do it by yourself.
The lone ranger entrepreneur is usually such an extremely romantic image. Even though it may seem extremely economically provocative, it is not accurate. Just so you know, on average, startups with a single founder usually have such a high likelihood of failure because of the emotional pressure which startups are known to exert upon individuals. At the bare minimum, start your business with a founder or even three. In addition to this, employ several different independent contractors alongside your preferred service providers to supplement your knowledge, time, commitment and talent.
8. Your target customers won’t immediately come flocking.
It is essential to understand the fact that regardless of how innovative your idea may be, it is not a guarantee that customers would immediately find you and start flocking your way.
9. You would be tempted to quit.
In case you are looking forward to starting your own company, you should let this be the last course of action. Just so you know, at some point of time, expect to be tempted to quit, in fact, you will be racked with doubt forcing you to consider jumping ship.
10. Staff Classification
You should also pay close attention to how you staff classification is done as this is the only way through which you would be able to make good of your idea once you plan is in motion.
Everything taken into consideration, it is essential to understand the fact that it is only you who can make it happen for yourself.
Don’t forget you can stay tuned with Startup Weekend Copenhagen, on social media with #CphSW
This is part of our challenges for the upcoming Startup Weekend. This challenge is provided by Nets. They will also be present during the weekend as mentor on Saturday, so the teams has a chance to talk about solutions and ideas.
Payment terminals have been there forever. We experience them as solid, secure and trust worthy. Some years ago, everyone also had secure and trust worthy dial phones, that phone companies saw un-wired by GSM, wireless and ultimately mobile phones. Amazon recently launched the Amazon Go store where, using biometric and cognitive technologies, un-wired the traditional store, rendering payment terminals/cashiers, un-necessary.
Can you un-wire stores, but do it simpler than Amazon, un-wire the store without changing it?
- What underlying technologies are needed to replace terminals? Are these technologies readily available to all consumers/shops?
- Are these technologies secure/reliable enough? If not, how would you improve security/reliability? What technological advancements are needed for these technologies to be more secure/reliable?
- What kind of products/services/shops can be good candidates to replace their payment terminals? What would they require/have instead?
- When, if at all, will consumers find use for a terminal free world? What’s in it for a consumer? Consider:
- A millennial
- A busy parent on the way to making dinner
- A senior citizen
- When, if it all, will merchants find use for a terminal free world? What’s in it for the merchant? Consider:
- A big supermarket chain
- An independent clothes shop
- A restaurant/bar
Blockchain, or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is advertised as a game changing technology. Its inherent properties: security, immutability, transparency, infinite audit trail , make it ideal for a range of financial use cases, as well as a disintermediating effect on many of traditional services by Banks, insurance companies, stock exchanges, clearing houses.
Today, exchange of value is done via Fiat currencies. The currencies we all agree on and are regulated by the national bank. To exchange value on DLT, one would need to augment the it with traditional fiat currency systems. Yes, thers’s Bitcoin, but it will take some time before we get our salaries in Bitcoin….
How can we transform DLT into a true value exchange, and not only value recording/management, system? What, if any, are the use cases for a digital currency? Consider:
- What is the scope? National, municipal, local neighbourhood?
- Who would be interested in such a currency, within the scope e.g. authorities, municipalities?
- Should it be issued by a central authority? If so, why? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- What can be pragmatic applications of such a digital currency, within the above assumptions? Consider:
- Sharing economy
- Digital public sector
- B2B/interbank trading
This is part of our challenges for the upcoming Startup Weekend. This challenge is provided by SDC. They will also be present during the weekend as mentor on Saturday, so the teams has a chance to talk about solutions and ideas.
FAMILY BANKING SERVICE CONCEPT
As one very known man said: ”People need banking, but they don’t need banks”. This is right now becoming reality for many banks, so what can we do? We still have to have money to pay bills and buy goods. Many families are facing the same challenges in their daily life as they wish to fulfil their dreams of being married, going on vacation, saving for a specific thing and a lot of other dreams.
- How can we make one or more unique concepts for the next generation of families?
- How will the future families look like and how will they use the banks?
- How can we use technology to help the future families in their daily nancial life?
- You have to consider that the trend is that more and more people don’t want to own things.
- You have to be aware of the growing use of social media as part of the concept.
- You might also consider whether you, in your solution, can integrate one or more of the following value adds:
If you are in the tech ecosystem, you have probably experienced wave after wave of new buzzwords that sometimes seem to come out of nowhere! Well, that is the way of the tech space. You just need to dig your heels into the ground and take a third person view of all the happenings before diving in. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in all the flurry and excitement.
There has recently been a lot of talk about insurance tech – how it is getting to the peak of its cycle and how tech entrepreneurs can greatly benefit from it. Insurance has been, for a long time now, regarded as a very out-dated, dreary consumer service that is still in existence. What techies are doing now is to try and stir up the sector and hopefully come up with some revolutionary concept such as Blockchain.
There are many areas of opportunity in the insurance space. The benefits that are driven from it are great, so it is likely (hopefully) something that is here to stay, and not just a trend.
First things first. It’s a huge market! How many people pay insurance premiums ever year?
Probably more than those that pay taxes. Even with it being such a big and pertinent sector, it has somehow been able to go unnoticed by technology trends. Until now.
From selling to collecting insurance, the processes involved are slow and inefficient. You will find that if you scrutinize these systems, many employees and processes will be rendered redundant.
Not only that, you will ask yourself why an insurance company, in this century, will ask you to fax them a document. In a world where you can buy yourself a plane from the comfort of your home, with all your particular specifications, why can’t we apply for insurance online on our mobile device?
An estimated four in every ten U.S. adults do not own life insurance policies, and I can bet it’s nothing to do with cost. People want to purchase things easily at the press of a button, not stand in line or wait for an insurance salesman to walk up to them.
What are Possible Areas of Improvement?
All the problems mentioned above are areas that can be greatly improved by technology. Insurance is a large sector and it’s impossible to cover all of it in one single article, but we’ll mention a few areas that seem to be hot.
- Leveraging data platforms – One of the major components of insurance is data. Insurance could leverage data to improve operations such as sales and underwriting. Nowadays, you can tell a lot about a person using technology. With wearables in the market and social media platforms showcasing people’s lives, this should definitely be explored.
- Digitizing processes – I remember filling out insurance forms; I not only had to answer every single question by hand, I had to manually fill in two other copies. For Pete’s sake, why couldn’t I, at the very least, just make copies of the already-filled version? But, no, these are the processes they have been using for years.
- Customer relationships – Yes, some people still believe that human interaction is the best way to manage customer relationships, but in an age where people are more focused on their screens, I don’t think face-to-face conversations about insurance is a good enough reason to look up from your screen. Insurance companies can use mobile app interaction for those services that do not actually add value to customer interaction. IoT sensors are also another technology that can be leveraged.
These are only but a few of the possible changes that can be made. As mentioned, the insurance sector is a blue whale waiting to be explored. Just make sure that you have the consumer in mind, comply with regulation and build a solid business model around your idea.
The year of 2005 gave rise to a new technology that would take the financial sector by storm. Fintech was the buzzword of that year, with companies either uttering it out of fear or jubilation at what was to come. This breakthrough in technology saw technologists in t-shirts and jeans competing with the suits in the highly corporate banking sector to offer the same services at a fraction of the cost. Consequently, Fintech services are changing how many industries conduct their business, from loans to investments and so much more.
Imagine a scenario where you need to urgently buy a home appliance but you do not have the full amount at once. Your options are to either take out a loan or go to the store and pay for the goods at unfathomable interest rates.
Some B2B Fintech companies have come up with an innovative solution to this. They enable online retailers to instantly offer monthly repayment plans for goods at checkout on a shopper’s existing credit card. This bears no risk to the seller as customers use their current credit cards.
Also, breaking up payments into smaller installments attracts more customers to you and your net sales will increase. Fintech services such as these are proving to be quite disruptive to the market.
2. Money Transfer
In this digital age, it’s no longer a viable option to have to wait days or even weeks to send money overseas, nor can you incur such high costs. Without banks as the middle man, Fintech companies have come up to fix this problem by offering affordable rates for sending money and also fast transfers – in a matter of minutes!
Send money in your currency and the recipient receives it in their currency.
Let’s face it, paying off loans is not a bed of roses. Half of the time, you do not know what your repayment rate is and the other time, you spend dreading to go to the bank to repay your loan or even find out how much you need to pay. Fintech companies like CommonBond have come up with an innovative way to help students get out of this fix.
They pay off the borrower’s lender and then deal with the students at a more personal level. This works well the borrowers as they are assured of the whole repayment, and the borrowers can easily get all the information they need about their loans.
CommonBond also offers other services such as funding students in need and helping them identify job opportunities.
4. Mobile Payment
So you are a small business and have no idea how to go about receiving payments from your customers. How are you ever going to consolidate all those payments? Well, not to worry, Fintech companies are now helping small businesses operate like large companies all from the comfort of your tablet or phone.
They let you accept both card and cash payments once a customer has browsed your products, chosen what to buy and is at checkout. The customer then proceeds to receive a receipt either physically by mail or printed.
Have you watched one of those movies where you see stock traders huddled in a room trading and making lots of money from it? There are several Fintech companies that enable you to trade via their platform from your laptop or phone.
What’s better, is that they give you information on trading trends at the click of a button so you can have information on all the stocks you are trading and users can slowly build their portfolio.
Fintech is definitely here to stay. The rise of Fintech services is sure to grow in the next couple of years and we will see many businesses adopting Fintech services due to their accessibility, low cost and efficiency. This is good news for both business owners and customers, as they will be able to offer their services and goods at reduced costs.