How to grow your fintech product
Creating a software product doesn’t originate with building it. Nor does it originate with designing it.
It actually all starts with strategy — with having a comprehensive plan for taking a product idea to launch and from launch to growth. Building that strategy successfully demands tapping lots of different kinds of expertise — technical, data, industry, management — that just one, two, or even three individuals aren’t likely to have.
That’s particularly the case in fintech, given the sector’s regulatory complexities, the lightspeed at which the competition moves, and the importance of taking stock of every data point along the way.
Benefits of product growth strategy services in fintech
Many companies that operate in non-fintech sectors still require fintech solutions (like payments), but they don’t have a seasoned fintech project lead they can turn to when they’re rolling up their sleeves on that functionality. As for fintech startups? Sure, they often have fintech experts among their founders or the CTO, but that doesn’t mean they have all of the expertise they need in-house.
That’s why the most valuable strategic decision most fintech startups can make is enlisting the aid of a fintech advisory — people who know the ropes when it comes to fintech, whether that’s a nuanced understanding of analytics or an appreciation of the nitty-gritty of compliance.
Fintech consultants can provide context and firsthand knowledge of the options you’re considering — they’re positioned to supplement your own knowledge and help you make the calls best suited to your unique vision. Moreover, an experienced consultant will be familiar with product evolution and how a solution can change as it interacts with the real world. Often it takes a few brains, each with a different set of experiences, to anticipate bumps in the road and head them off.
You’ve got an idea for a product in the fintech space, but do you know what it’ll take to take it from idea to MVP? What about bringing it to market? What about the lay of the land in the market you’re bringing it to?
There’s a world of questions you need answers to before you make a step toward developing your product. Especially in this industry, where developing fields like data science are upending some traditional finserv paradigms entirely, knowing the pool you’re diving into is mission-critical.
As the saying goes: Failing to plan is planning to fail. That’s why step one is research to determine a few project vitals:
Who: A good fintech advisor can help you think through the two critical who’s that inform your product development: who your end user is (it might not be exactly who you think it might be) and who your competition is (also often not who first leaps to mind).
Sure, this isn’t rocket science, but it’s also easy to have blind spots when it comes to identifying your audience. Same thing with existential threats: An advisor who knows the landscape might be able to identify who you need to be worried about better than you can.
What and when: Quick math: “What is it going to take to make this thing?” + “When do our dev goals need to be completed?” That’s how you solve for scope and make sure you’ve got the runway you need to make it to launch and keep flying after that. Failure to set scope means running the risk of delays, launching with an inferior product, or not getting to launch at all. Create achievable timetables and realistic budgets at the start and everything from not having the devs you need when you need them to security headaches are far less likely to hobble you.
Where? Financial compliance and regulations vary all over the world, and that’s before we start talking about international regulatory standards. What regions you’ll be working in and providing services determine the regulatory and compliance needs of your business to a large extent, and you need to stay on top of new developments in every market you work in, like in the US, where the OCC is opening an Office of Financial Technology in 2023, which will no doubt be huge for the industry (hello, crypto meltdown!).
Sound like a lot to keep on top of? It is. Learning it all while also juggling business considerations and day-to-day ops is a massive task. If you share the load with a fintech advisor, creating an efficient roadmap will come much easier.
Choosing a tech stack
Choosing a tech stack for your startup is its own kettle of fish: You want to select one that gives you the flexibility to adapt to unforeseeable changes during development, but that still leaves a lot of options to choose from.
Financial services publication Bankers By Day provides an in-depth analysis of different coding languages in fintech. The two most popular are of course Python and Java, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options that could serve the specific needs of your product just as well or better. On the flip side, don’t write off the popular kids right off the bat. For example, Python is highly conducive to AI/ML and data science apps, making it a great option for fintech companies that are planning on using those types of solutions.
Also important to the tech stack decision? Information gathered during the research phase, like what platform(s) you’re developing for. Factoring in the cross-platform compatibility of a coding language language is one of many technical considerations your tech stack has account for.
If you’re not sure which stack to go with, or if you want to make sure this hurdle gets the undivided attention of an expert, that’s exactly what fintech advisories are there for: You can tap the expertise of people who have worked with the programming languages you’re considering, so they’ll know the pros and cons and be familiar with field-tested methodologies.
Building your product development team
Next up? Building your team of devs. Sure, you likely want devs with the right tech stack experience, and you want devs who are experienced with startups, but it also will likely behoove you to hire superstar fintech engineers specifically — those with must-haves like knowledge of financial industry products and a deep understanding of cybersecurity protocols. Fintech advisors can help you identify what the Goldilocks combination of skills you need at various stages in your production cycle.
Once you’ve established who you need in terms of skills, it’s time to decide on the optimal hiring model.
Building an in-house team. Yep, that’s everyone’s dream, but there are lots of downsides: An in-house team is pricey and finding, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding devs takes an epic amount of time — and that can slow you down significantly.
Hiring a remote team. Going with a remote dedicated team has its downsides (“remote” being key to those), but it also has lots of upsides. Granted, we’re biased, but remote teams can keep costs down and augment your existing team with skills you can’t find easily locally. Plus, with a remote team, you can grow your team quickly with pre-vetted expert devs when you need to rather than waste time on a hiring process that moves at the pace of molasses.
Fintech advisors can talk you through the details of the pros and cons of those options.
Design and marketing
With over 26,000+ fintech startups globally, and over 10,000 of those in North America, it’s simply not enough to make a great product. A study conducted by market analysis group Statista found that 65 percent of consumers now use online banking — a fact that reflects on the importance of UX, no matter if you’re in B2C or B2B — and of getting your product in front of users who will come to rely on it.
Now we’re in the realm of design and marketing — yet another one where fintech advisors can help show you the way.
A good fintech advisor has likely helped dozens of fintech products launch — and likely worked with lots of top-notch designers along the way. Those years of insight, coupled with direct access to UI/UX experts and designers, can go a long way towards priming you for growth — and making tweaks that optimize your fintech solution along the way.
Similarly, an experienced fintech advisor will have the big picture understanding of go-to-market strategies — what needs to be in place for launch and how to establish trust and credibility among users, both of which are essential with a fintech product.
Both marketing and design are, of course, massive fields that require experts speciizing in those fields alone to create optimized go-to-market (GTM) strategies. That’s why this part of product strategy benefits hugely from external fintech consulting — it really is key to fueling critical growth when the business needs it most and making sure it hits the market the best it can be.
Optimizing product growth in fintech
Growing a product, especially a fintech product, is about assessing your resources, identifying opportunities, and capitalizing on those opportunities to open up new ones in the next phase. The most effective product growth strategy often calls for resources — like expert talent — that a startup doesn’t have in-house.
That makes fintech consulting one of the biggest force multipliers for fintech product growth, and it’s not utilized nearly enough. From determining how far your resources can go to the most effective ways to get there, make sure that you’ve got financial services expertise informing your product strategy.