One antidote to the recent troubles facing the marketplace lending industry is constant self-evaluation.
Is the company competitive? Is it responding to the needs of consumers by providing good service and products which meet their needs? Is it adjusting to the marketplace?
I recently spoke with Fundbox Vice President of Marketing Jordan MacAvoy about his company’s evolution. While the conversation occurred before the troubles at Lending Club, it was still a timely lesson on the steps companies can take to stay in step with their customers.
Mr. MacAvoy said an important part of Fundbox’s growth strategy is constant differentiation.
“That keeps us from being just another company out there lending money.”
Maintaining a customer-based perspective is the key to Fundbox’s growth and the company has not forgotten that.
Fundbox has gone live with a fully integrated solution with QuickBooks, the first financial solution to offer such a detailed level of collaboration, Mr. MacAvoy explained.
“We’re a platform for small businesses to get the money they need on their terms, and the relationship with Intuit is one way to do that.”
A company in search of financing who uses QuickBooks and comes to Fundbox finds a light administrative process, Mr. MacAvoy explained. After they supply five pieces of information, Fundbox allows the wealth of data available in a company’s books to do most of the work.
“The credentials of the bookkeeping system allows us to build a picture,” Mr. MacAvoy said. “The integration with QuickBooks online brings us one step closer to the invoice.”
That invoice is a communication mechanism, and the closer one gets to it the better control they have over financing. It also allows that financing to come sooner, a key selling point.
“If a small business issues an invoice, there is no reason the technology should not allow them to get 100 percent of the financing the next day,” Mr. MacAvoy said.
Key to the process is Fundbox’s relationship with Intuit, and the depth of that solves a real problem, Mr. MacAvoy added.
“Small business needs access to working capital to address cash flow gaps. The reality for a lot of businesses is they do not need $150,000 of growth capital – they need money they’ve already earned.
“That translates nicely into what this product does.”
Say a company needs to meet payroll by the end of the week, Mr. MacAvoy said. Week’s end also happens to be when the invoice needed to meet that payroll is due. Go into your QuickBooks, click on fund 100 percent of the invoice and be assured that money will be there when you need it.
And a solution to that problem solves the two biggest problems for many business owners.
“Access to working capital and cash flow are the two biggest concerns of small business,” Mr. MacAvoy said.