Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia
The world is rapidly becoming a very different place and businesses will need to adapt fast to survive. Never has the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ been so literal, for so many.
Over the coming months (or years?) many businesses will encounter survival pains that would have been unthinkable several months ago. How the fintech community responds to these challenges will also make or break many new startups in this space.
One trend that I think is prime for an agile fintech in the SME space to jump on, is the increasing importance of ‘know thy customer’.
In the pre-COVID-19 era, where commerce trundled on blindly, you didn’t really need to ask too many questions about whether customers were ‘good for the money’, especially from your regular book of clients. How things have changed.
In the world of COVID-19, many businesses and industries have found themselves on the wrong side of the essential services line, with governments everywhere shutting down some operations overnight. This is having a waterfall effect on SMEs cash flow, many of whom have lost vital business already.
Going forward, SMEs who can adapt will be rethinking who they do business with far more carefully. This will be on both a local and global level, with business risk now significantly linked to how each nation’s government is responding to COVID-19, and their ability to contain or not contain.
What many SMEs need right now are tools that can help them understand the risk in their client book, the probability of payment in the short term and the long term.
Building on from that, SMEs need ideas on how to adapt, and connections to other businesses that will lead to viable partnerships. Take my local coffee shop, for example, which is now acting as a pick-up point for a fresh fish delivery service.
They have recognised a key shift in behaviour that is keeping people within a short radius of their homes when it comes to shopping. Staying local is key, and if I can replenish my fridge and pantry without visiting a supermarket, why wouldn’t I? I don’t know about you, but grocery shopping is hardly fun these days…
Community and connection is key right now. That is where the seeds of new COVID-19 era commerce will be found. Fintech has a role to play in building the new connection rails.
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