The fintech industry is currently facing several macroeconomic problems, including global economic inflation, skyrocketing cost of living, companies cutting workforces and a potential recession on the horizon, not to mention the war in Ukraine. All these factors have led to fintech mergers and acquisitions decrease 30% in the second quarter of 2022, the lowest point since the third quarter of 2020.
This is not the first time that the economic climate has deteriorated so rapidly. But if we look at the overall performance of the sector compared to previous years, the current downturn is no different. What can founders do to help their business thrive during this time?
Hire high-performing talent
The deteriorating financial environment is causing leading fintech companies to suspend or reduce their workforces to avoid cost overruns. The industry saw 1,619 jobs cut in May, compared to 440 in the first four months of the year.
Workforce losses have also impacted the Ukrainian startup ecosystem. More than one in ten start-ups in the country have had to leave their companies since the beginning of the Russian invasion, and since then the number of companies with up to five team members has increased, while companies with larger teams have dwindled.
Nearly every founder agrees that layoffs are a difficult but necessary decision in times of crisis, as labor costs can be redirected toward growth or job retention. But if you look at it long-term and look past the current downturn, your startup is likely to have a better chance of survival if you retain specialized talent. And sometimes hiring a new employee can provide a new perspective that can help you spot problems within your company.
Ukraine has a huge pool of talent and thousands of specialists are currently looking for an exciting project to join. So instead of closing the doors as you navigate this crisis, consider it an opportunity to bolster your business with dispersed, high-performing talent.
Develop and prove the quality of your product
Crises are also times of opportunity – you just have to look closely to see a golden egg. Crises give founders a chance to focus on building robust products, because times like these usually reveal issues that need a viable long-term solution, and startups can start building instead of focusing on continuous growth.
The cruel truth is that tough markets are also clearing the hundreds of startups without a solid product polluting the market. This gives top companies the opportunity to develop an even more comprehensive package of products and services.
Develop a solid strategy
To run a business sustainably, founders need to drive business development and manage risk well. That’s why in times of crisis, startups that have focused on developing solid business strategies and products usually come forward to win the market over those that didn’t.
I know it’s hard to focus on developing a strategy when there are so many external factors impacting your business. But the fact is that companies that focus on strengthening their business plan and solidifying their strategy are more likely to bounce back and come out stronger than before compared to those that hibernate.
Individuals and businesses thrive in crises by managing their resources, analyzing the situation they find themselves in, and recognizing potential opportunities regardless of the amount of noise and chaos around them.
Tough times allow teams that set big goals to recharge and see things from a different angle. For example, as yourself you can: What is the unique proposition of the product? What can we do to get the most out of the current market? What can we do to further catapult our product as the market recovers?
Despite all the setbacks, founders can excel in business by following three rules during a crisis: strengthen your workforce, develop a better product, and work to solidify a business strategy. While these are not laws or miracle cures for all problems, I have found them to be very effective in difficult times.