Every aspirational young tech company claims to be a disruptor, and FinTechs are no different.
But what does it really mean to disrupt an industry? And how does a new company actually go about doing it?
The truth is, there is no magic formula to completely overhaul any business sector. But there are a few things you can do or look out for if you want to make an impact.
We’ve put together seven of the best to help you turn your startup into a billion pound behemoth.
1. Do your research
Knowing your market is crucial.
It’s no good coming up with an amazing, original, disruptive idea if somebody else has had it already. Because then it wouldn’t be very original at all!
A full understanding of the market will help you truly comprehend what your potential customers’ pain points are, and how best to communicate your solution.
Doing the background will also mean any potential competitors aren’t going to jump out further down the line.
2. Watch out for “category killers”
This is a term that has its roots in retail, but is often now applied to tech too.
Put simply, it means that a company has so much market penetration that it’s considered to have rendered the category uncompetitive.
The most obvious example in the tech world is, of course, Amazon. Any e-commerce site starting up now would clearly struggle to make a dent in Amazon’s business. But then, Jeff Bezos has taken out a few category killers on his way to the top.
So what’s the answer? Should you avoid category killers or try to disrupt them?
Well, a prominent category killer will certainly make it more difficult to get funded in your early stages. So if you’re going to fish in their pond, you need to be confident you can get some traction on your own in the early stages.
3. Look for opportunities to create a market
Often great disruptors will find an opportunity to go around the competition rather than straight through it.
One way of doing that is by creating a new market.
Think of the way companies like Uber recruited both drivers and passengers – or AirBnB signed up householders as well as travellers.
Taking on both supply and demand is, of course, a constant balancing act – and is never likely to be easy.
But if you get it right, you can often take a legacy industry by surprise. And of course, once the market comes to fruition, you’ll be in an incredibly profitable position.
4. Focus on being good at one thing first
A common mistake startups often make is trying to do too many things at once.
In the early stages, a company’s resources are super valuable, as they’re so limited. So the ability to focus on what’s most important is crucial.
Getting it right will mean the business manages its resources better – and will have a much clearer message to send to customers in its early marketing.
5. Become a problem solver
Looking for everyday problems is a great place to start if you’re trying to be disruptive.
Any area of business that has little annoyances that force people to endure excess friction could be ripe for disruption.
This is particularly true in tech, where speed is everything. Making a financial process work faster, better, or more efficiently is always likely to be a pretty good start.
6. Be prepared to put in the hours
Nobody said it would be easy. Starting a business in an established sector with a well-understood route to market is hard enough.
Doing it with a completely untested prospect hoping to change the world is another thing entirely.
Whether it’s creating a market or a category, or simply trying to sell something people don’t readily know or understand – a truly original business proposition will require a huge amount of work to get it off the ground.
For hyper-conscientious people, it’s an exciting challenge. But for those hoping for a quick buck and an easy life – buying a lottery ticket might be a more sensible option.
7. Believe in yourself
Self-confidence is second in importance only to hard work for people who want to get an original idea off the ground.
There will be ups and downs over the course of any startup – and disruptive finance technologies will likely have more than most.
A great, new, exciting solution to a problem will seem totally compelling to those on the inside – but convincing the rest of the world to believe in it might not be as easy as it first seems.
So belief is essential. It’s belief that will carry an entrepreneur through the dark days, and inspire their first members of staff to follow them into the future.
And, of course, that same self belief is what will eventually win over new customers too.