Five steps to shaking up an industry

When something that could be greatly improved hasn’t changed for a long time, the easy thing to do is get frustrated and presume it can’t be changed. The smart question to ask yourself is how you can change it.

There are few industries that are changing as quickly as finance, a sector that is ripe for disruption. It’s why Virgin Money has been working hard on building a better kind of bank, and why there has been so many exciting developments surrounding the future of money, from bitcoin to local currencies.

These five steps to shake up the market could apply across many industries, but they are particularly useful for the financial sector.

Image from Virgin.com

Purpose

Virgin Money are always looking for new ways to adapt how banking works for their customers, making small changes that add up to a better experience overall. Whether it is using simple, straightforward language, or treating customers as people not numbers through their Virgin Money Lounges, they focus on making managing money easier. They created Virgin Money Giving to enable everyone to be able to give a little more to good causes, and wholeheartedly believe that banking should be a force for good in the world.

Image from Virgin Racing

New technology

New technology can give a company an edge – as long as it offers a simple, seamless and intuitive solution to a problem. Customers aren’t bothered about why you’re able to offer a better product - they just care about getting better results. So make sure your new tech is durable, reliable and simple. Customers need to be able to use it comfortably on the first try, without help.

Image from Virgin Money

Timing

Disruptive innovations that succeed usually arrive just as the public is growing familiar with a new technology and is ready to experiment with it. For example, an international money transfer start-up I recently invested in called Transferwise is only able to produce impressive peer-to-peer match rates because users trust the service. 

Image from Virgin Money

Scale

Companies need to be able to attract users beyond early adopters. One of the reasons so much disruptive change is happening across industries isn’t just because the internet changed the world, but because better connectivity and the rise of smartphones has  created the critical mass required to make many new business models viable.

Image from Virgin Money

Teamwork

Having the right idea, the right technology and even the right purpose doesn’t mean you’ll create the right business. It all comes down to one key ingredient: people. Whether your sector is finance or fly-fishing, if you build a great team they will build a great business.

What are your top tips for shaking up an industry?

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