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The financial services space is one of the most dynamic and rewarding industries to be in today, brimming with opportunities at every nook and corner. With the rise of fintech, neobanks, and more, this industry has been transformed beyond measure in recent years.
From hassle-free international transactions and remittances, to robo-advisors and digital current accounts, the changes are immeasurable. With that said, however, entrepreneurs in this space have to contend with a unique set of considerations, which are quite unlike any other.
In this article, we take a deep dive into this space, and all that it holds in-terms of opportunities, advantages, challenges, and other considerations before you decide to take the dip.
Pros of Starting a Finance Startup
Starting up in the financial services space offers many advantages, making it an attractive and potentially rewarding proposition for entrepreneurs. These pros underscore the financial services industry’s vast opportunities, market potential, and innovation possibilities. Some key highlights include,
- High Barriers To Entry: The financial services sector typically requires high levels of regulatory compliance and expertise. While this may discourage some entrepreneurs, it also acts as a barrier against newer entrants. Establishing a reputable finance startup can give you a competitive advantage and instill trust in your clients.
- Diverse Business Opportunities: Finance is a broad field encompassing various services, including the likes of wealth management, fintech, insurance, lending, and more. This diversity allows entrepreneurs to choose a niche that aligns with their expertise and interests, catering to specific target markets.
- Potential For Innovation: The industry is witnessing a digital transformation, with technology driving innovations. As a finance startup, you can leverage cutting-edge technologies like AI, blockchain, and data analytics to offer unique solutions that disrupt traditional financial models. As of today, there is literally trillions of dollars in potential value that remains to be unlocked within this industry, across the globe.
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Cons of Starting A Finance Startup
While opportunities are aplenty, challenges are just as many. Some of these can be so daunting, in fact, that many budding entrepreneurs consider abandoning ship midway through their ventures, unable to exhaust more resources or energy in pursuit of their goals.
- Regulatory Challenges: It is no surprise that the financial services sector is one of the most heavily regulated in our modern economy, second only to medicine and pharmaceuticals. This is essential to protect consumers, maintain trust in the financial system, in addition to ensuring its overall stability. The same, however, becomes a complex bureaucratic web, with complex legal requirements, endless licensing and compliance procedures, all of which can be very time-consuming and expensive.
- Risk Management: The core essence of this industry involves assuming a variety of risks, ranging from market volatility to credit risks, and cybersecurity threats to fraud, theft, and other types of criminal activity. It is precisely the assumption of this risk and its effective management that helps create value for the broader economy. Risk management, however, is far from a straightforward science, and if there is anything that we’ve learned from recent bank failures, it is that even large, well-established and capitalized institutions struggle with it, making it erroneously more challenging for startups.
- Intense Competition: Despite being heavily regulated and having substantial barriers to entry, the financial services industry involves stiff competition from a handful of established players, making it difficult for new entrants to get their foot in the door.
New players will have to raise substantial capital to spend on advertising and marketing, to get the ball rolling in their favor, which could take a few years to successfully achieve.
Other Key Considerations
In addition to the factors discussed above, startups in this industry have a few other key considerations before they consider hitting the road.
- Domain Expertise: Founders of finance startups should possess in-depth knowledge and expertise in their chosen field. Understanding financial markets, regulations, and customer needs is vital. While this holds true for all businesses this day and age, it is particularly crucial for finding success in the financial services industry.
- Technology & Security: The use of technology to offer efficient digital services to customers is the core value proposition that small players in this field have against their established counter-parts.
This, of course, is far from straightforward, with plenty of tools, solutions, and services, each with their own set of pros, cons, and set of other considerations.
The technology and security concerns off-late have since prompted the FTC safeguards rule, which requires extensive systems and measures, all aimed at ensuring data and information security.
- Customer-Centric Approach: Building a customer-centric approach is paramount in financial services. Understanding client’s needs, offering personalized solutions, and providing excellent customer service can help establish a loyal client base, while providing upstarts with a leg-up in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
- Compliance & Risk Management: To ensure smooth operations and long-term success, compliance with regulatory standards and effective risk management practices must be prioritized. Employing experts in compliance and risk can aid in navigating these challenges, in addition to various tools and solutions to deploy effective controls.
IMG Source – https://unsplash.com/photos/OmPqCwX422Y
The fintech and financial services space is brimming with opportunities, but making headway in it can be a daunting task, and not for the faint of heart. For a seasoned, committed entrepreneur, however, this is the perfect challenge to put their skills to the test, while earning handsome rewards from the same.