SME lender Prospa recently won a number of awards at the inaugural FinTech Australia Finnie awards, including for the “best fintech place to work in Australia”. In this piece, joint chief executives Greg Moshal and Beau Bertoli share what they’ve learnt about building the right culture for their growing business.
As a business owner, you’re not often judged formally on the culture you’ve created. You’re judged on things that can be counted and measured, like revenue, market share and profit.
The irony is, your culture forms the backbone for everything quantifiable. If your team is happy and engaged, they’re much more likely to deliver better customer experiences, be more creative and work more efficiently.
In terms of building a positive work culture, these are some of the most important things we’ve learnt along the way.
Clarity of vision
Some of the most vital things to remember when building a business are: understanding the value you create; bringing your people and customers on the journey with you; and laying the foundations from day one. A clearly articulated vision will help everyone understand what you’re trying to do, and why it matters.
For example, we’ve always been very clear that we want to change how small business owners experience finance.
This approach should extend to all facets of your business. Whether you’re on-boarding new employees, talking to customers or pitching for investment, a clear company vision is essential.
The right people
Attracting the right people is one of the biggest hurdles for any business. Potential employees need to have the right skills, and they need to be a cultural fit in order to complement your existing team and bring out the best in each other.
Defining your values is critical in building a world class team. These should be clear from the outset, even before you hire your first employee.
Once you start building a team, it is then about ensuring that you get the best out of it. We ensure everyone in the company has a voice and the ability to make an impact with the work that they do. The gives them a stronger sense of self-worth and pride.
Innovative people benefit from being autonomous. By fostering an environment where your employees can make their own decisions and implement them, you’re ensuring your business always has momentum.
Customers are key
Without customers, you don’t have a business. You need to understand exactly who your customers are and what drives them. If you understand what they care about and what pain points they’re experiencing, you can solve their problems before they become aware of them.
This means you’re adding real value, and your customers will want to have an ongoing relationship.
It’s important to choose external investors as carefully as you select new employees, to ensure they’re also a good cultural fit. You should understand exactly what you need before you actively seek investment, and communicate this clearly.
We recommend thinking about whether you want hands-on involvement in your day-to-day business operations, or whether another attribute like industry connections is more important for your business.
Stick to your guns
Building a successful business goes way beyond the numbers. It’s about understanding the value you create.
And while every business is different, if you invest in your people, invest in knowing your customers, and get the right kind of investors, then company culture and success take care of themselves.
Greg Moshal and Beau Bertoli are joint chief executives at Prospa.