How to Make Your Startup a Success

  • Chris Skinner, Chairman at The Financial Services Club

  • 30.03.2017 07:30 am
  • Startup , Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News.

You have an idea. Let’s say that it’s to make nice wooden caricatures of famous politicians.  Something that historically would have been a niche trade for the odd craft fare.  It still is, but when you go to a craft fare, the usual practice is cash only.  Not any more.  Just in a few short years, we’ve seen most stall holders move from only dealing in cash to being able to take debit, credit, EMV and magnetic card payments thanks to PayPal, Square, iZettle and more.  It’s now easy, as long as there’s a network signal around.  That is transformational as it means anyone can become a merchant.

Now let’s say that your wooden caricatures are selling so well that you can’t keep up.  What to do?  Well, move to sourcing the production from a bigger facility, and the easiest and most cost-effective place to start a search for suppliers is on the internet via B2B sourcing platforms like , Global Sources, and  So now you’ve moved your production to China.  You have 1000s of caricatures being made.  But that’s now too much for craft fares.  You need an online store.  Easy.  Again, you can find website designers, search engine optimisers and more, or just become a seller on Amazon or eBay.Alibaba

Equally, you want to get your product known, so you come up with an idea for a model of the Houses of Parliament, Capital Hill and more in wood.  You can then arrange your house of funny politicians in front of the buildings in which they reside.  There’s a problem though.  Your Chinese suppliers say that just producing 100 of each building will cost $500 each, and you don’t have $50,000 funding to get started.  Easy.  Just launch an Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign to get it funded.  You now have your market of potential customers directly funding your idea, and no longer need to plead with a bank manager to get starter funding.  It’s sourced directly from your customers.

All is going well, so you decide to move ahead with creating a dedicated online store for your wooden politicians, and expand into wooden celebrities and more.  The store looks great, but the checkout process is difficult.  The bank has no ideas to help, but you hear that there are services out there like Stripe and Klarna that make it easy.  For example, Stripe generally can be added to any merchant’s website in minutes and makes checkout easy with a great user interface.

You’re all set.  You’ve got a great manufacturing outfit doing all the work in China (sourced through Alibaba); a growing core loyal customer base (who funded you to get started via Kickstarter); a great website with easy purchasing (via Stripe); a recognition as one of the bestselling novelty products (through your listings on Amazon); and a strong presence as craft fare merchant of the year (through the analytics of your Square sales metrics).

Today, the village craft fare; tomorrow, the world.  And no, it is no joke.

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