The pandemic has affected businesses of all shapes and sizes and in all sectors. Many have been pushed to the edge of survival. Start-ups are no exception and are certainly no stranger to uncertainty.
Writing in TechinAsia.com, Jason Thompson, CEO of Indonesia’s leading payments platform, OVO, describes how the crisis has not only brought about a re-evaluation, but has also forced businesses to be more comfortable with the unknown, and to rediscover hunger and the ability to be nimble and think fast.
OVO, Thompson says, has faced unprecedented challenges and adapts at a rapid pace, experiencing a steep learning curve in the process. While the circumstances confronting the business can’t be changed, Thompson writes, the outcomes going forward can be influenced.
He describes three fundamental lessons learned, which he believes can help fintech start-ups survive and thrive post pandemic.
Firstly, face the disruption head-on and be agile in your response. Fintech start-ups should make use of their flexible structure to examine and address changing customer needs. They “need to constantly revisit their product roadmaps and reconsider their business strategies, not only during the COVID-19 period but also as we gear up for a vastly different future,” Thompson says.
He points out that an event such as the pandemic can profoundly change people’s needs and preferences, permanently. In Indonesia, he says, a Kantar study found that despite half of adults not having a bank account, 66% have a smartphone. With the pandemic as the catalyst, the high penetration of smartphones is helping to bring about increased socialisation and the use of digital tools to carry out daily tasks, a trend that is expected to last.
Secondly, realise you are not alone. Start-ups, Thompson says, have just as important a role as bigger companies in gaps unaddressed in the post-COVID-19 economy. They can play this role through strategic partnerships with governments and like-mined companies.
“Businesses might let partnership prospects take a backseat during economic uncertainty and focus instead on how to keep operations running the way they are,” he writes. “But in our experience, we’ve found that keeping the bigger picture in mind has not only helped our community during this time of need but also allowed us to grow during the crisis.”
Thirdly, look inward to keep the lights on. Remote working will become the rule, not the exception, Thompson believes. This makes it important to “constantly look inward and make sure our employees are well-supported in times like these”.
He suggests, among other things, investing in people development, and “virtual town halls” to hear from staff and spread positivity. OVO has found bringing in external speakers such as business leaders and government ministers has been effective in boosting morale and engagement.
In conclusion, Thompson says, “Perhaps the most useful lesson to keep in mind as we prepare for what lies ahead is also the most rudimentary: the driving force behind how you innovate should be your consumers and the community around you.”
Sourced from TechinAsia