Advantages of Strategic Planning To Fintech Start-Ups

Understanding the advantages of strategic planning is on its own a step ahead of the park. So many fintech startups have failed simply because they fail to understand the importance of strategic planning. I previously wrote about the uses and importance of budgeting to fintech startups and this article should be read in conjunction with that other article.

Strategic planning is all about looking ahead and scanning your environment for clues that will help shape an organization’s future activities. This article is not to written to teach you how to do strategic planning but to tell you why you must have some sort of strategic plan blue print for your fintech company.

Advantages of strategic planning11 Advantages of Strategic Planning To Fintech

  1. Know when to hire

Hiring can make or mare a starting business especially fintech companies due to the huge salaries that are paid to financial technology companies. Hiring too quickly or too late will surely have adverse effect on the bottom line of an enterprise.

Strategic planning helps decision makers identify when to hire and the type of workforce that is required; full time or part time for example.

  1. It forces fintech entrepreneurs to think ahead

Thought provoking questions are invoked during the process of strategic planning that often gets managers thinking about the future. Questions like ‘what will be the fate of our business if government decides to make X change to the current legislation?’ will no doubt force fintech entrepreneurs to start making plans for the rainy days.

  1. Better coordination

Different parts of a business are better coordinated when there is a clear strategic direction that has been in place from the beginning. The R&D department (laboratory for fintechs) for example will benefit from information supplied by the marketing department concerning the outlook of things for the next five years.

  1. Better use of resources

Strategic plan will help identify areas that need more resources. More resources will be allocated to training of staff members on how to use a particular technology if there are indications that this is where the trend has shifted to or is shifting towards.

  1. Helps identify risks

Risks are identified and mitigated against through a well structured strategic plan. The nature of business and transactions that fintech businesses get involved in can be quite risky. Things can easily go wrong without proper risk management in place.

  1. Targets to which all can work towards

Based on information that are collected through the application of strategic planning, a fintech can set the right target that all will work towards for optimal results.

You will agree with me that things will easily go wrong without targets- the kind of target am talking about is the type that is flexible enough to give room for dynamism.

  1. An opportunity to influence the future

A major advantage of strategic plan to fintech startups is that it provides an opportunity to influence the future of a business startup business especially those in the finance info tech world.

  1. Provides for consistency

A well documented strategic plan will help ensure that all actions are consistent with the overall mission and objectives of the fintech company. A fintech company with a strategic plan of becoming a differentiator will not be too bothered with cost of building that feature that is really valued by its customers that are willing to pay the premium.

  1. Removes ambiguity from objectives

Ambiguity will not take you to the desired place. A clearly written strategy go a long way in taking away guess work from the activities of striving companies like financial technology businesses.

  1. Overall can translate into positive customer experience and referrals

The whole point of having a business is to provide valued services to customers. True implementation of a robust strategic plan will always aim at adding value to customer experience.

An agile fintech company that anticipates the needs of a customer and provides it even before the customer asks for it will always have a special spot in the heart of its customers.

  1. Holds out the premise of better times in the future after initial hard work

You will enjoy the benefit of seeing the end from the beginning through the lenses of your strategic plans. One of the main features of a strategic plan is that it includes an exit strategy. This will allow a fintech entrepreneur know when it is time to sell the business for example.

In this article, we have highlighted and discussed the importance and advantages of strategic planning to fintech startups, but the advantages of strategic planning that are discussed in this article is applicable to any kind and type of business- big or small, all you need is a little tweak to suit your specific needs.

10 Uses of Budget to Fintech Start-Ups

One of the main reasons why fintech start-ups fail is the fact that they pay little attention to the nitty-gritty of budgeting. Uses of budget to fintech start-ups is not fully grasped by techie minded entrepreneurs as typified by the comment of a new fintech startup owner therefore, we can no longer leave the idea of budgeting for fintech entrepreneurs to meddle with.
Someone with accounting and finance background in the fintech industry will have to provide a sort of guide to fintech start-ups and that is where this article fits in.
Uses of Budget to Fintech Start-Ups Years ago, I wrote about the functions of budgeting and this article on the uses of budgeting in fintech startups is a complement to that article. A lot has changed since that article was written.

 

So this post will incorporate modern flavour and also briefly comment on the concept of beyond budgeting and why it should be given serious consideration by technology companies.

 
Budget means different things to different people thereby giving rise to some dysfunctional budget behaviours. In a bid to solve this problem, Hope and Frazer developed the concept of beyond budgeting which in its simplest form is advocating that managers should completely abandon traditional budgeting in favour of more ad hoc processes.

 
10 Uses of Budget to Fintech Start-ups

 
1. Helps to point our actions towards achieving organizational objectives
Budget acts as compass that helps direct the path of fintech start-up owners in the ever dynamic wilderness of financial technology. Without budget, the fintech start-up may significantly drift away from the overall objective of the company.

 
2. Forces us to plan
Many times we don’t realise how complex our intending action is until we actually doing something. Most fintech entrepreneurs take for granted the complexity of the venture they are going into because adequate plan has not been put in place from the beginning. Budgeting helps bring out potential hurdles that must be planned for from the word go.

 
3. Allocation of scarce resources
Fintech entrepreneurs often open shop with little or nothing as capital. This little resource will no doubt be wasted without sticking to an asset allocation plan. This asset allocation plan is contained a financial technology start up company.

 
4. Acts as authorization
Although most IT entrepreneurs act on a solo basis and by that do not really require authorization for most action. This however does not take away the fact that even as solo-preneurs that we still need to be disciplined in our dealings. A serious minded fintech entrepreneur will always refer back to his or her budget as a guide.

 
5. Medium of communicating ideas and plans
There is no better medium to communicate business ideas than through a well prepared budget. Fintech start-ups uses budget to clearly communicate their ideas and plans to their strategic partners- mostly banks.

 
6. Coordinates activities
One of the main functions of budget is that it helps coordinate activities of different parts in such a way that goal congruence will be achieved. Through budgets, different sections of a fintech startup will be well informed of what the other department expects from them.

 
7. Spurs employees into doing things that will help improve their performance
Budget acts as a motivating tool to employees. Programmers working for fintech will be motivated to meet an already agreed challenging but attainable target that is contained in a budget.

 
8. Provides solid base for responsibility accounting
People are made responsible for their actions if they know what is expected of them from the very beginning.

 
9. Helps in fairly evaluating employees
Employee evaluation can be tricky. Things even get harder when there are no set standard or target that employees are appraised based on. Traditionally, budgets contain estimated targets that employees’ performances at the end of an agreed period will be assessed.

 
10. Builds the foundation for system of control
The nature of the business that fintech startups are into makes it suicidal not to have a robust control in place. A budget acts as solid foundation upon which other control measures are built.

 
Comment on beyond budgeting
Due to the fact that traditional budgeting has some serious drawbacks, the idea of beyond budgeting was hatched and propagated. Proponents of beyond budgeting argues that time should not be wasted preparing a document that no uses in reality.

 
Beyond budgeting tends to favour the concept of rolling budget and zero based budgeting. Considering the fact that things change rapidly in fintech sector, it will not be a bad idea to give beyond budgeting a second thought.

20 Reasons Why Most Fintech Start-Ups Fail

In as much as financial Technology (fintech) companies have in recent time shown signs of revolutionalizing the way we handle our daily finances, it does not remove the fact that majority fintech start-ups fail. There are a number of reasons why most fintech start-ups fail but this article will concentrate on the most common reason why most fintech start-ups fail.

 
We know that fintech as a concept will not fail but start-ups that tries to dabble into it wrongly will fail. This post is written to bring to light those reasons why most fintech start-ups fail.

 

Reasons why fintech fail19 Top Reasons Why Most Fintech Start-Ups Fail

 
1. Overtrading
Overtrading in its broadest sense is when a company bites more than it can chew at a time. Start-ups are notoriously known to be too optimistic and fintech companies are not an exception. Whenever I look at the activities of fin techs, all I can see are signs of overtrading. Until this is changed, we will continue to have large number of fintech start-ups fail.

 
2. Lack of Managerial Experience
The fact one can coding very well does not make that person an expert in management. Although one does not need to be experienced to be an entrepreneur, but fintech is a specialised industry that takes a little more than entrepreneurial spirit to excel at.

 
There are business Angels and other venture capitalists that are willing to assist if they see the idea as being bright.

 
3. Pure Hype
A major reason why most fintech fail even before they take off the ground is because a lot of things that we claim can be done by fintechs are pure hype without real substance. The idea of ‘let me quickly take advantage of it now that everyone is talking about it’ has to be stopped.
But where will the innovation and creativity come from if many talented people does not go into fin tech you may ask, well, my answer to that is; if it must be done, let it be done correctly.

 
4. Not Performing Due Diligence
We all seem to be in a hurry that we tend to either ignore or forget to perform due diligence before launching our fintech business. We assume that because it is relatively new that people will somehow ignore our mistakes. Starting a business without proper due diligence is like sailing into an unknown territory without asking the right probing questions.

 
5. Rapid Change in Technology
Another factor that contributes to the high failure rate in fintech start-ups is the fact that we now live in a world where technology changes within a twinkle of an eye. What we consider novel today quickly becomes obsolete within months of being launched.

 

This is making it difficult for fintech spring out to cope with. The best we can do in this regard is to have open mind as fintechpreneurs and ready to quickly incorporate changes into our original plans.

 
6. Partnering with Inexperienced JV
One of the ingredients of succeeding as an entrepreneur is to find an experienced person or an entity in your area of interest to partner with. Fintechs for sure seek partners to help make their business launch a success but most times the partners are not experienced in handling startup payment processing outfits.

 
7. Expensive Law Suits
What would have otherwise been a promising payment processing start-ups end up being swallowed by legal heavyweights. The reason for this is the fact that many entrepreneurs tend to leave many stones unturned from legality perspectives. A common mistake is when fintechprenuers hurriedly adopt terms and conditions that they used in their other successful starts (non finance info tech related)

 
8. Inability to Raise Cheap Funds
Expensive capital is a major drawback that affects fintech start-ups. Banks and other lenders of fund would always raise the cost of fund. You would not blame investors and other sources of finance to ask for high premium from fintech as the risk of losing it all in this sector is quite high.

 
9. Making wrong strategic choice
Strategic choice can make or mare any business regardless of how brilliant the ideas of the founders may be. Wrong strategic choices are a plague that is very common with fintech starters. They always believe that engaging in price war will win the battle for them. Enough of trying to be a cost leader as this is obviously not working for many. I think it’s time to try differentiation technology strategic choice.

 
10. Poor Public Perception
Up until recently, the public have always approached fintech start-ups with caution. I remember back then how e-gold, libertyReserve and e-bullion all struggled to convince the public that they were legit. But would you blame the public? What then happened to these fintech pioneers? That would a discussion for another day.

 
11. Loosely regulated
There is no real regulation in the fintech industry as yet. All we currently have are indirect regulation and this has made it possible for us to have many entrepreneurs dabble into it. The number of payment solutions start-ups that have come and gone in this decade is phenomenal and mind blowing. A bit more regulation in this area will help straighten things a bit.

 
12. Poor Licence Management
Poor licence management has been identified by industry experts as a brutal killer of technically inclined start-ups. They either do make overly inadequate or make it too rigid that it scares prospective clients away.

 

13. Delay in releasing products
Fintechs operate in a dynamic and changing environment that requires constant innovation to be afloat for long. One of the reasons why Blackberry closed shop was because it took them too long to embrace the needs of Smartphone users. It became too late to recover from the lost grounds by the time they realised it.

 
14. Sloppy Change Management Process
Change management process is very important in the quest for survival of every business. Numerous fintechs have failed simply because they did not manage their change process very well. Things as little as rolling out new interface could cause a major problem.

 
15. Targeting of Wrong Market Segment
There is this idea by CEOs of fintech start-ups that a one cap fits it all when it comes to marketing their products. This has made it eminent to target the wrong audience thereby leading to wasting resources on wrong advertisement.

 
16. Working on Thin Margin
There is this believe that IT product has to be cheaper than its competitors to be appealing to the market and this is shrinking the profit margin of many IT related start-ups including the financial technology. Fintech start-ups will continue to struggle until this mindset is changed.

 
17. Inadequate Security
Security will always be an issue for financial software companies. One of the reasons why Bitcoin has still not blown is the fact that headlines are always made of one Bitcoin or the other being hacked. Complete security of financial software cannot be 100% guaranteed but there is massive relentless work going on to significantly improve the level of financial software security.

 
18. Insatiable Taste of Millennial
Millennial are in constant search for excellence and this is putting a lot of pressure on developers of financial services software especially mobile payment innovations. One of my millennial friends was complaining the other day that ApplePay is not flexible enough to meet her busy schedule. This just tells you that we are in a very insatiable world of IT finance.

 

19. Over Hiring
Premature hiring of high flying professionals is another thing that kills new finance Technology Company. In the rush of adrenaline of that brilliant idea, founders start hiring top end staff under the delusion that the more smart people you have on ground the more the public will embrace your product. In as much as it is good to hire smart people for your business, it has to be done at the right time.

 
20. Over Remuneration of Founders
Founders and CEOs of Fintech start-ups are guilty of over paying themselves at the very early stage of a company and this is really causing lots of financial problems for these new companies. Most of them do this just to get the money and experience and then start something similar with the money and experience that has been gathered.

Conclusion
This article has dwelt on reasons why most fintech start-ups fail. We don’t need to say that avoiding the problems identified in this article will make things a lot better.

Financial Technology (Fintech) – Why We Don’t Have to Worry

Financial technology or fintech as it is popularly called are those aspects of financial service industry where IT specialists have made their weight felt by developing ubiquitous tools that one in their right senses will want to ignore.

 
Hardly would you find any financial institution that does not have an app, social media platform and a website just to mention a few. Even independent financial intermediaries have developed apps and other mobile applications that allow for easy financial transactions.

 
We have overtime come to trust middlemen in our financial dealings and other online transactions that we easily give access to our digital self. Take the uber and Airbnb as examples.

 
There are nay sayers that constantly instigate fears in the mind of people that the whole world will come to an end due to fintech.

 
Enough of nay-saying and time to recognize and embrace the commendable efforts of the FinTech guys; and that is exactly what this article is set out to do as it is written to reassure the fintech community that all hope is not lost as often propagated by FinanceInfoTech doom sayers.

 
10 Reasons Why Fintech has come to Stay

 
1. Increased public awareness: through the help of all fintech stakeholders, sizeable general public have been made aware of the existence of cyber threats and also made aware of how to protect themselves. Banks for example on a regular basis send out mails containing tips on how to be safe online to their customers.

 
2. Boom in the millennial: the millennial who happen to be majority of people that lely on fintech happen to be born with them. My 2 year old lovely daughter knows how to turn on a laptop and play her favourite nursery rhymes. I know that there are prominent IT research institutes who carried out research and concluded that the millennial are more at risk of being hacked due to their youthful exuberances but the fact that they have been using theses gadgets from birth and have been made aware of the security risk ameliorates for this threat.

 
3. Lower costs associated with the deployment of fintech: advancement in IA and technology in general have seen the costs associated with implementing IT infrastructure for smooth deployment of fintech projects plummet over the last two decades. This trend will continue as more and more talented individuals are attracted to fintech.

 
4. Ease of using fintech: nothing is more appealing to the general public than the ease of usage that they now experience in the world of IT. Unlike the DOS era when only the brave dare to use computer and mobile devices (as if there was much then).

 
5. Increased desirability of mobile working: we all enjoy doing things from the comfort of our homes. I would rather make that money transfer using online banking than go to the bank for this and I can almost guarantee that am not alone in this.

 
6. Emergence of digital wallets: we have gone too far into the work of financial technology to go back now. You will understand how appealing it is to have a digital wallet if you have ever lost your ordinary wallet that is cash laden before. I have lost one and would rather not go back to that old way of life.

 
7. Improved fintech security: the IT security community are matching very move made by the bad guys pound for pound. Though the war will continue forever but the good guys will always be victorious.

 
8. The sharing economy: this phrase was originally native to the coding community but has now found its way into the mainstream economy to mean many things to many people. In this context, sharing economy means buying things through your connected devious from anywhere in that world that you maybe. This new habit of ours will continue to grow that we will do anything within our power to collectively squash any ‘attemted-attempt’ to stop collaborative consumption that we all love and enjoy.

 
9. Increasing government support to make our cyber world safe: the department of defence and other governmental agencies are doing their best to make our cyber environment safer.

 
10. Rapid increase in the IoT: the number of things that have been estimated to be connected by 2020 is mind blowing. All sorts of items that we once never thought could be connected are now finding their way into the realm of internet of thing (IoT). I can monitor what is cooking in my microwave in the comfort of my sofas through my smartphone that is somehow connected to the microwave.

 
Let us hear from you
I am convinced that you have things to say after reading this, please drop your thought in the comment box below. Thank you

IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) IN FINANCE AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

The
importance of information technology in finance

became pronounced immediately the line between accounting, finance and InfoTech
was removed from the business world. The advent of information technology
removed boundaries that have for ages been a major barrier to globalized
trading and business. In fact, it is difficult to imagine what business executives
will face if IT is completely isolated from businesses now. I can assure you
that the global business networks will crumble in a twinkle of an eye. Finance and
IT have become manmade Siamese twins that will take divine intervention to
separate.

Though the importance of
information technology in businesses and finances are somewhat obvious, not
everybody appreciates these importances of IT in finance. This article is
written to bring together the importance of InfoTech in finance in such a way
that everybody will understand. The article is divided into two sections; one
section dealing with the positive roles of IT in finance and the other talking
about the negative roles of IT in finance.

POSITIVE
ROLES OF IT IN FINANCE

Under this section, the
praises of IT will be sung. Seriously, we all need to sing this praises as the
introduction of computers, information
processing
equipment and other communication gadgets gave all and sundry
deep signs of relief.

EFFICIENCY IN BUSINESS
OPERATIONS

Efficiency which is one of
the key success factors of a business
strategy
is greatly improved by the use of information technologies in financial management.

Boost confidence

Allows for planning

Creates jobs

Removed guess work

NEGATIVE
ROLES OF IT IN FINANCE

Breeds criminals

Can make businesses more
vulnerable and volatile

Can become cost
ineffective

Posses a treat to business
privacy and trade secret

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT TIPS

Information management skill has never been so important in the past as it is now. What is news now, quickly become outdated in the next few minutes. Managers always find themselves in a tight corner trying to grasp with as much information as is possible for them to get. Business managers has been exposed with more resources to the extent that of “data” is no longer an excuse for not making an informed economic decision but, inappropriate use of those data.
Business managers are faced with the challenge of effectively and efficiently managing their information need. Development of Business Intelligence (BIs) by different software vendors has been on the increase. Competitors activities is always calling for the attention of the business manager. Our customers are constantly demanding more information concerning our products more than we can relinquish for the fear of our competitors.
Amid all these challenges, what will a business manager DO and NOT DO to to excel in the area of information management? Listed below are important steps that a business manager needs to remain competitive in this “information jet age”:
(1) Constant refinement of the information selection (filtering) skill. Managers should improve on their necessary information filtering skill. Never waste your time analysing every data that comes your way unless you have all the time in the world. See how this can be done in the next paragraph
(2) Deployment and good use of state of the art technology. Business Intelligence (BI) is a good tool to use. BI when plugged into a system that filters information to the need of the manager can help reduce the amount of work that the manager needs to do on information management.
This is important because the amount of information that floods the desk of an average manager per day cannot be utilised to the tune of 5% of the whole information. Many of these tools requires you to impute certain keywords/variables/tags as a criteria for filtering your information needs. Though this on its own tends to create a fresh problem of possibly filtering useful in formation that does not contain the criteria for selection and allowing the useless ones that contains the variable(s) stated in the selection criteria. This problem can easily be taken care of by quickly glancing through the blocked data before they are finally discarded. As a business manager, never ignore the emergence of new technologies. Always embrace them.
(3) Develop the skill of getting information from informal sources. It was once reported that a cleaner in a factory help the company save up to 21% of their running cost by asking them to always turn off the lights in the factory where robots are used for production since they don’t need light to work. Never be too rigid in your judgement criteria. As a manager, see every employee as a potential vital information provider. In fact, always ask for their opinion (this will not only give you useful information but will help motivate your subordinate and they will love and respect you for this)
(4) Work with the trend: This will save you a lot of headache trying to analyse one data or the other. Most of our business information needs are embedded in the trends. Remember that the trend is your friend.
(5) Securing your information: Company’s vital business secrets not not be leaked out for any reason. Try as much as possible to get them best hand and tools to manage this aspect of your business. And make sure you treat them well.
While you get busy with your information management, never forget to: Get motivated, Stay Motivated and Enjoy all the good things of live.

GOOD ASSET MANAGEMENT TIPS

Assets are those resources that we control as a result of our past actions, from which we expect to get returns from in the future. I am not going to bother you with technical terms here. My aim is to make sure that you understand how important it is to manage your assets properly. I will try as much as possible not to let my training as an Accountant affect my explanation here I promise.

To start with, I will give a simple definition of what an asset is. An asset is any resource by us that we expect to get future or immediate economic benefit from. This can tangible or non-tangible asset. Common sense will tell us that these resources if not controlled or managed properly will not bring the desired result/ benefit. So in this article, you will learn to mange your assets for optimum result.

Tangible assets are those resources that we can touch and feel. The rule of thumb here is to make sure you always go for the best quality. Quality saves- both Time and Money, even stress. Is not enough to only go for quality, the following tips are also invaluable.

Always employ the service of a qualified technician to service and maintain the asset whenever the need arises.

  • Insure the asset(s): this will help re-instate the asset back to its original position in the case of the occurrence of the event insured against.
  • Provide physical security: is a good practice to place your tangible asset under lock and key when they are not in use. Large companies even employ some biometric measures to protect their assets.
  • Motivate your staff to put other asset to its best use. Your staff is your most important asset that never appears on the balance sheet. Take good care of them, and they will surly take good care of your asset (business in this case).
  • Do not use your asset beyond the threshold specified by the manufacturer. Your staff inclusive.

Applying the above simple yet powerful techniques will help maximize the returns from your fixed/ tangible asset without wearing them out.

Intangible assets on the other hand are resources that we cannot touch or feel. Some examples include: time, patent, trademark, ideas etc

One funny thing about non-tangible asset is that once you don’t care for it, it quickly goes to another owner that will value it. Time management is one area that we cannot allow to go unattended to. Successful people will tell you that time is money, take care it today and it will take care of you today, tomorrow and beyond.

Patent and trademark are intellectual asset/ property that are mainly protected by law. They emanate from ideas. Good ideas if well managed translates into intellectual properties. The fact that the law protects them does not mean we are not going to manage them. Good practice in the management of non-tangible asset includes management of brand. This applies to both individuals and corporate bodies. Manage your brand and you are just fine.

Money is another asset that is worth mentioning. Money is the most liquid form of asset. It is the oil that greases the wheel of every other asset. Some technical skills are involved which is beyond the scope this article. But not too worry, as long as you make this site a regular visit, read all relevant articles, those skills will in no distant time be yours.

I will like to state it clearly at this point in time that asset management is not something you can master in one article like this. The secret to mastering it is to LEARN. So always make it a date to come back here for more insight. Stay motivated and enjoy.