There is huge pressure on innovators launching products to the fintech market to demonstrate what is it about their products that makes them more unique and game-changing than any other. As more brands continue to emulate competitors’ USPs, creating a saturated market of similar platforms and services, those with tighter budgets and limited resources are finding it harder than ever to stand out.
So, what can fintech businesses of all shapes and sizes do to create a fair market of competition, underpinned by customer-focused – rather than money-focused – innovation?
Embed, learn, build, challenge
To do so, you must truly understand your audience’s core market and the challenges they face every single day. Follow this with an open process of testing, feedback and sharing of insights to identify the ways in which your product can not just solve problems, but present the user with new tools they never even realised they needed.
For an innovation to work, it must be designed to change a user’s mindset and seamlessly integrate into their existing habits. Doing so is more likely to encourage early users of your programme to inform their peers about how it has fundamentally changed their job role.
Every accountant must learn the basics in exporting, manipulating then importing data to a range of software applications. However, there has always been needless repetition in data entry, manipulation and analysis tasks. This is why StatementReader was created – an intuitive and elegant software which doesn’t just aid analysis and save users endless hours of resource but upskills Excel users at the same time. Build new assets – and be prepared to fail
While every new innovator believes their product is going to change the world, each will face challenges. Perhaps it’s gaining market-wide acceptance of how the product fits within professional firms’ innovation strategies, or how to efficiently raise awareness of the product to a huge market. Maybe it’s how to effectively manage a client’s expectations within the limited resources of your small business.
You must quickly realise the benefit of building on your existing assets to extend networks and open new pathways. Consider your stakeholders during the ongoing development and finessing of your product, because each perspective has a place within conceptualising and implementing innovation. Identify the value each might bring to your product’s future, source people within their networks with the relevant skillset, experience, goals and passion, then find ways of collaborating with them.
Curate an attitude that promotes learning, development and partnership, and utilise the huge wealth of external teams and networks available to add a broader spectrum to your innovation.
However, to move forward successfully, all parties should stay alert to the end goal but also accept that it could, in its first few iterations, fail. To get past this stumbling block, apply a suitable timescale in which you accept a failure has happened, rather than continually promoting something which is demonstrating it simply isn’t right for your audience. Take a step back, reassess, then re-innovate, perhaps changing the very model that underlies your original approach.
Explore and reflect
Never take your eye off the future. Before your product or platform even has chance to enter its comfort zone, identify some simple methods for exploring the effectiveness of it within new, unexplored markets. Innovation means different things to different people, so you should also aim to see it from alternative viewpoints to prepare for your future.
Finally, consider how you could change your business model, marketing or product capabilities to gain a deeper understanding of your customers’ behaviour when using your product to gain clarity on where your next steps should take you. Channel your inner behavioural analyst, applying a user-centric focus from a diversity of perspectives. And stay aware of changing tools and working processes – particularly in the B2B space – to remain tuned to new integration and collaborative opportunities.
Innovation – no matter the size of your business and your future scope – requires bold instincts and the confidence to be a challenger. Whether you’re creating a niche or mainstream innovation, make best use of client relationships and your networks to gain the insight and tools available to change your target audience’s daily challenges, in order to create a self-supporting model that continues to feed your innovation.