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What Working With A-List Celebrities Has Taught Me About Running a Fintech Company

At first glance, the fintech industry has nothing to do with the hospitality and entertainment industry. But a keen entrepreneur should always reflect and take a closer look.

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There are many hurdles when running a fintech company, especially when a myriad of startups, neo banks and technologies like blockchain revolutionize the sector. As a result of these countless new players and technologies, many people share a healthy skepticism of fintech companies. Trust needs to be developed for all stakeholders of a fintech business, from team members to business partners and customers. 

A few years ago, I was working as an operations manager at one of the most prestigious venues in Melbourne, owned by the award-winning entertainment group Crown Resorts. During that time, I had the pleasure of looking after many A-list celebrities — from athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo to musicians like Ed Sheeran and Drake, to name a few. Operating in this environment has given me many fundamental business insights that I still value to this day. 

At first glance, the fintech industry has nothing to do with the hospitality and entertainment industry. But a keen entrepreneur should always reflect and take a closer look. Here are three strategies that I’ve learned over the years and currently apply at my fintech startup. 

1. Everyone should receive VIP treatment

As an operations manager at Club 23, I had to look after the needs of famous people. I had to pay close attention to the way they were treated and the service they were offered. I knew they expected the best from our company and, of course, I wanted the company to meet their expectations.

But here’s the thing. Every client is expecting the best from your company, not just celebrities. Perhaps not all of them truly aim at feeling like a VIP client, but, if they’ve all found their way to the services that you have to offer, the least you can do is treat them like they deserve, regardless of status, age, race or background.

What's the difference between your celebrity clients and your other clients? They’re all clients, after all. They’re all VIPs.

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A special treatment makes memories for people. And you want them to remember you and your firm for the next time they (or someone they know) need you.

Celebrities are used to many things that come along with their celebrity status, but they will remember unique events. You want to create unique events and special moments for people with celebrity status — that is, every client that comes to you.

Be creative. Even ideas that don’t seem to have any practical use can help you provide your clients with a special moment that will stick with them for a long time. 

2. Exceptional service makes clients come back

Competition is high in fintech. This is why your fintech company must be different from the rest. Even if you provide the same services, you can always provide them in a unique way that amazes the client.

Overpromising can be a source of stress for a team, but overdelivering is relatively simple, and it’s a great way to give a good impression, especially to new customers. An exceptional service that exceeds their expectations will not be easily forgotten and is key to winning and binding clients.

So what makes a service exceptional? Generally, you want to keep in touch with your clients to be aware of their needs and desires. Great communication is essential to provide your services as effectively as possible.

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Excellent communication will prevent misunderstandings, unpleasant feelings of dismay (there can be a lot of things at stake in fintech) and unnecessary delays. And in these demanding times, your clients will greatly appreciate your responsiveness.

Additionally — and this ties into the VIP treatment — you should know that inflexibility is always frowned upon. Be supportive when it comes to special requests, and your client’s gratefulness will surely translate into customer loyalty.

3. Exclusivity grabs attention

Exclusivity can be a very efficient marketing strategy at the beginning of a business. The meteoric rise of the social audio app Clubhouse is a perfect example of this. The app was initially released in April 2020, and just over a year later, in May 2021, it had over 10 million weekly active users. It achieved this immense growth because people need an invite from someone already using the app to gain access, which makes people perceive it as exclusive.

Another very popular example of this invite-only strategy is Facebook. Back in the social-media network's early days, you also needed to be invited by a member.

If your product or service is perceived as exclusive, it automatically catches people’s attention. Standing out from the crowd is the No. 1 thing that will make celebrities (and regular customers) remember your brand, which of course massively boosts your brand awareness. But most importantly, as the examples of Facebook and Clubhouse show, it is a fantastic way to incentivize word of mouth and referrals. 

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A fintech company, for example, could create exclusivity around its brand by offering beta access to its products or product features to only a small group of community members. Alternatively, fintech businesses could reward core community members with exclusive insights into the company's developments and future plans. This will keep customers close and increase the number of loyal customers every month.

Even if you’re working in a complicated industry like fintech, there are strategies that can help you overcome the challenges of developing a business involving novel technologies that are not widely known or trusted. You can find some strategies in marketing books, but some of the most useful methods can be found in real-life experiences.

Exceptional treatment, features that create special moments, excellent service surpassing expectations and a sense of exclusivity will all help you gain and retain customers, boosting your fintech business for the long term.

Gehan Rajapakse

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Gehan Rajapakse is the founder and CEO of precog.finance, a fintech startup that automates the arbitrage between current crypto pairs and their futures. Rajapakse has extensive leadership and project management experience across the tech, property and hospitality industries.