In late August, many of the world’s most powerful financial players gathered in Jackson Hole, a mountain resort in Wyoming. While hundreds of top economists, lawmakers, and policy analysts debated monetary reform at the Fed’s annual conference, CFSI’s Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) winners gathered down the road to discuss key challenges impacting their organizations – and ultimately, their ability to improve consumer financial health.
The theme of this meeting was “learning from each other,” making the low-key, relaxed atmosphere of Jackson Hole the perfect setting. Each company presented an idea or challenge to harness the group’s collective experience and expertise over the day-and-a-half long meeting. For many attendees, though, the most valuable feedback was exchanged informally on hiking trails and bike rides in-between sessions.
While the nature of this meeting was largely confidential and company-specific, we’re able to share a couple of takeaways we found interesting:
On Building a Team
Learn to negotiate wisely. As a young startup, you can’t always compete on salary or the stability, predictability and perks that come along with a big tech company or corporate firm. But you can compete for employees who are motivated by something greater. Figure out what your differentiators are and focus on them aggressively.
Acquiring — and Keeping — Customers
To move from customer acquisition to customer retention, you need to find what Malcolm Gladwell calls the “stickiness factor.” Maybe it’s getting customers to enter account information to see the full value of your product or service. If that’s the case, figure out how to make the account set-up process as easy as it can be. At the same time, check your assumptions. A tutorial video may not be as helpful to your users as an onboarding call. Test different strategies to find what works.
Valuing Skeptic Feedback
While founders need to be passionate believers in their business and instill that passion in their employees and investors, it’s equally important for founders to balance that passion with skepticism. This is a common challenge for entrepreneurs and even the most disciplined will still have blind spots. Push yourself to seek out the skeptics – whether it’s an advisor, colleague or friend. Their feedback will help you see your business from a different perspective – and sometimes, a much-needed one.
CFSI’s Network Summit
On October 6-7, FinLab winners will have the opportunity to meet and connect with industry leaders at CFSI’s Network Summit in Chicago. Joining leaders from across the financial services industry, FinLab winners will share knowledge and ideas with their peers, build connections, and learn about the most current research, trends, and best practices in the underserved financial services marketplace.
Keep up with the latest!
Stay engaged with the FinTech community. Join the Financial Solutions Lab email list and get regular access to the latest insights in innovation and be among the first to learn about the Lab’s next challenge!
Check out the “FinLab Snapshot: Solutions to Manage Household Cash Flow” for a look at consumer-focused financial technology in the United States today, including the areas of Planning, Credit, Payments, and Savings.