Steve Jobs, one of this century’s great visionaries, said “great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” Even for someone who was known to be confident in his own product designs, Steve Jobs acknowledged the power partnerships provided businesses.
Paypal, the market leader in online payments, started its business in 1998 and grew exponentially after being acquired by eBay in 2002. Its business solution was simple: provide businesses and individuals an online means to transfer money safely through their computers wherever they are in the world. Since then, it has innovated its product offerings and established itself as one of the most credible online payment brands in the global landscape.
In 2015, it separated from eBay and became an independently listed company. Despite being a market leader, however, it acknowledged that it could unlock its potential and grow further in scale by creating strategic partnerships. Forging relationships in the fintech industry isn’t rare as most companies, even competing ones, understand the need to merge as they share the common goal of improving their services to reach more customers.
A good example would be when PayPal Canada partnered with Canada Post to streamline their clients’ payment and shipping solutions. Paypal Canada noticed that a significant amount of their clients’ business hours could be made more efficient. Given the business need that Paypal Canada aimed to remedy, they were able to identify that a partnership with Canada Post was the most feasible to provide convenient shipping and payment solutions for small businesses. There was no need to set up their own facilities and the product yielded a cost-effective and time saving service.
They credited the success of the partnership to their shared goal of assisting the growth of small businesses’ operations and develop their e-commerce platform to strengthen their business. Through their common goal, both companies’ employees had become more supportive by positively taking on their roles.
In essence, partnerships ideally provide mutual benefits for all parties involved. Instead of incurring opportunity losses to support “more valuable” projects, businesses can gain resources they wouldn’t have had access to.
Balancing business operations and client relationship health
Partnerships for startups can be as simple as sharing your network of customers to provide complementing services. Both companies can benefit immensely from this without spending too much on marketing. While this might seem too bold a move for most, the good news is that partnerships do not just include symbiotic relationships that would merge assets to increase knowledge, skills, and technologies.
Your primary partners are actually your clients. They are your most valuable business partners in securing growth and sustainability for your company. They are not mere buyers of your products and services, but potential advertisers as well. They are the ones most likely to make a repurchase as opposed to those who your businesses haven’t reached yet or ones who have not yet found a good reason to try what you offer. Therefore, all customer relationships must be nourished.
Relationships require mutual investment. If your customer’s contribution is his or her purchase then yours could be in ensuring quality checks, delivering on time and providing a pleasant overall transaction process. For that relationship to blossom, however, you would have to continuously add something extra to excite and show care for your customers. Regular promotions and incentives or sincere calls to get feedback, checking in on their orders are definitely nice to have. They can merit loyalty and recommendations, which mean sustained and increased income for your business.
Balancing is tricky, but critical. At the end of the day, you could have the best product and the most enviable brand, but a bad customer experience from a sales transaction or call with one of your agents can negatively impact your business. It’s still impossible to ensure 100 percent positive rating on customer interactions to date, but regular training and setting core values for customer-facing employees can ease the job. The key is to ingrain in all that every customer, no matter how small or big in terms of their purchases, provides value to the company.
Rising by lifting others
During some cycles in their businesses, SMEs find themselves in need of financing. In the Philippines, many hope they could enlist their parents or other family members, and friends with deep pockets to fund their startups or fix cash flow problems. This eliminates the inconvenience of researching for the best bank options, time spent meeting bank personnel and completing requirements and the long wait for approval. Financing for business growth is always a good investment, nonetheless and the opportunity costs foregone are worth it.
But what if an SME business owner can get more than what they pay for? What if they invest in a good partner that would be quick to act and dependable in great times of financial need? At First
Circle, we provide financing solutions to business owners who encounter challenges throughout the course of their operations. We are driven by our unique proposition to grow by helping our clients’ businesses scale further.
Since we launched in 2016, we have been licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the Philippines. We have established our credibility locally as we are a finance partner of the Department of Trade and Industry. Equally important, we have gained the trust of global investors and the Philippine government that have allowed us to implement our mission of providing SMEs from various industries millions of dollars-worth of financing to date – and counting.
We would not be standing strong today without staying true to our mission of putting our clients first. What our clients most appreciate about our service is the convenience and speed we have been providing them. We release funding within three to five business days once applications have been verified. What’s more is that we make sure to build our relationship with each client, constantly improving the way we can improve our service, provide more products, and even give rewards.
For Kaydee Marie Velasco, chief executive officer of KMV Asia Development Corporation, “The biggest challenge I had when I started my company was getting financing and First Circle helped overcome that challenge. First Circle approved the loan in just three days: fast, simple and smart.”
Nothing makes us happier than creating shared value with our clients. That is why we continue to impact businesses positively by funding infinite possibilities.