Cutting through the noise in any market has become extremely challenging. Both established businesses, as well as startups, need to invest in innovative pathways of disrupting the market. Innovation requires you to cause chaos.
My business partner, Frank Restuccia, and I have this big hairy goal of being the ‘Amazon of Comparison.’ We want to help people in making better decisions and make a big impact on the world. This audacious goal required us to initiate a shift in the values which underpinned our relationship with financial products.
We began with Credit Card Finder in 2006. This was the first iteration of Finder and was born out of a simple concept of helping university students choose the right student credit card. At the time, there was a large number of credit cards available, but many students didn’t know how to choose.
So, Frank and I did our research, read through countless product disclosure statements, analysed data, and pushed our first guide live on the internet regarding student credit cards. We did things that no one else was doing, in turn disrupting a market. We were listening to our audience and answering their questions through content, tools and guides. We started doing things a little differently and went further and deeper than any of our competitors.
Leading disruption requires you to have an agile mindset without fear of failing. Frank and I were never afraid of failures. We both love them – we encourage them. There’s a real opportunity to grow and learn from the mistakes you make. This mindset, in addition to our ‘Go Live’ value, allowed us to disrupt the market. We were constantly finding ideas and testing them out, and if they didn’t work, we pivoted and tried something else. Remember to continue to disrupt your own patterns of thinking.
Another key value that enabled us to lead disruption is that our work is truthful and unbiased. The most important value in any business is building a brand that people can trust. By ensuring we always commit to giving our audience unbiased and accurate information, we have built an incredible audience who love what we do and join us for the ride each time we evolve.
Disruption also requires constant re-invention. The final key-value which has allowed us to become leaders in our market is to continuously adapt and evolve. To build a sustainable business, you need to keep staying relevant. Consumer behaviour will continue to change and you need to keep studying your audience and adapting to their needs.
For example, we’ve been studying a trend where consumers are moving towards services that help them get what they need with fewer comparisons. They are expecting more help and want technology to tell them the answer. So we’ve been developing the Finder App, which is a first in Australia to combine personal finance management tools with automatic comparison. We are listening to what people want and consequentially we are disrupting the market at the same time.
Money, as we know it today, is becoming more digital, the reality is that your physical wallet will slowly die off. Instead, we will start to see the commoditisation of banking, a plethora of different companies will have bank accounts or digital wallets inside them. Banks will start to almost become API rails, or an infrastructure that doesn’t psychically speak to customers, rather banks will communicate through another customer-oriented service.
Advancements in technology will be built on the infrastructure of the banks, insurance companies and telephone companies (telcos) in such a way that is seamless and convenience is paramount. It will be one click to buy, one-click to transfer and one click to pay.
I indulge in futurism and envision a robot who essentially sits over the top of your finances and you program it, talk to it, giving it instructions, and it goes ahead and regulates it. In the same way, your body regulates its temperature, the robot will conduct the same feature for our money.
The Finder App is the first iteration of this. It will disrupt the comparison market and allow Finder to reinvent itself for the future. Our vision for Finder guides us to develop new methodologies to better serve our customers, ultimately guiding us to keep disrupting the market with what we do.
Leading disruption requires entrepreneurs to be agile, self-reflective and constantly re-inventing themselves. As a disruptor, a key takeaway I can pass on is that you need to be constantly scanning the landscape and market for ways to cultivate an opportunity for disruption to create better products.
Fred Schebesta is the Co-founder of Finder, Australia’s most visited financial comparison website, and has spearheaded the Finder App.