Listen to episode 19:
This week, Jamie talks to David Brear, CEO of 11:FS about the future of digital banking, the grit it takes to run a small business and start–up culture.
David M. Brear
- 11:FS is a fintech that look to rethink problems that exist in the financial industry.
- They believe that digital banking is only 1% finished and that there are many more opportunities to come.
- They currently have around 160 employees and are growing fast.
- Founders of the company include those who have worked in big banks, as well as challenger banks such as Monzo and Starling.
- They build the technology behind banks, create content to attract new audiences and much more.
- David knew he wanted to be his own boss, but worked in the financial industry in order to gain experience and find his niche.
- He treated every job he worked in as a learning experience, developing his understandings that would inform his future plans.
- So much of running a small business is about learning and developing and a lot of that is done through having an environment that encourages honesty among colleagues.
- You don't have to be the smartest person in the room, but you do have to be the person who's willing to go the extra mile to make things work.
- In 11:FS, 100% of David's time is spent moving the business forward.
The grit of small business owners
- For those running small businesses, there is no plan B.
- This drive to make things work is what allows small businesses and start–ups to succeed.
- The beauty of running a small business is that you can be more efficient with your time.
11:YEARS financial crisis documentary
- 11:FS recently produced a documentary called '11:YEARS' about what happened after the financial crisis.
- Click here to watch the full documentary.
- The freedom to be creative with the way 11:FS produces content is something that is really important to David.
- 11:FS built 'Mettl' for NatWest, a business bank account tailored for the businesses of today.
- Mettl is a challenger bank within a traditional banking organisation.
- Big banks have clunky application processes that do not suit the needs of modern business owners and consumers.
- The big difference between traditional banks and start–up banks is culture.
- The start–up mentality is to do the most with the little that you have.
'Don't just do one thing'
- Many start–up founders are told to just focus on one thing, but David disagrees with this advice
- "If that thing turn out to be a dumb idea, you are screwed. It's the equivalent of going to a roulette table and putting all your money on one number."
- Never turn down opportunity, you never know where it might lead
- Master something as quickly as you can, operationalise it and then look to the next thing.
- Create a culture that continually looks to evolve and improve, failure to do so can result in your business becoming redundant
Competition in the digital age
- In the digital age, with a good website, voice and authenticity you can compete with anybody.
- 11:FS competes with companies worth as much as £60m.
- Don't just be a cheaper option, be better.
David's tips for small businesses
- Make sure you know your industry: learn as much as you can about it from the inside, it will make your own business more powerful when you start it.
- Be unique, bring something to the table that hasn't been done before.
The big biz whiz quiz
Brilliant or bonkers?
"We must not allow other people's limited perceptions to define us."
– Virginia Satir
Jamie Maddison is Head of Content Marketing at iwoca. He's written for a range of publications including Lonely Planet, Geographical, Diplomat, and Hidden Europe – and is the host of the ‘9 to when?’ podcast.
Article updated on: 26 November 2019