“What’s the secret for TeamApt’s success” is one of the questions I get asked quite a lot, especially now that more and more people are aware of the scale of what we do. In answering this question, I always credit how we approach problem-solving as one of the key factors. From how we think about our customers’ problems (i.e identifying, understanding and solving problems they face), hiring decisions, market opportunities, new product development, and international expansion among others.
The first thing we ask is if the problem actually needs solving and then if it is big and widespread enough to warrant a tailored solution. The other key aspect of our approach is “not to follow the crowd”. Just because other people are doing things a certain way, it doesn’t always mean that is the only or best way. By going back to basics and understanding the problem rather than simply looking at mirroring the competition we can come up with genuine solutions that set us apart.
This “TeamApt Way” of thinking and problem solving is guided by the “first principles thinking” approach which will be very familiar to anyone who follows Elon Musk; a deep thinker that I truly admire. Essentially, it is about unpacking a problem so that you truly understand it. Asking why over and over. By the time you have answered “why” five levels deep you will be able to see how the problem connects with other issues and, at its core, how it can be solved. It allows you to step back and break a problem down into its core parts.
An example of how we have applied this approach was our thought process prior to launching our initial credit products. The businesses we worked with at that time would come to us and say things like “the banks won’t give me a loan because I haven’t had a loan before, so I can’t point to a track record of paying it back”. Rather than accepting such statements at face value, we stepped back, looked and asked why banks would make such a decision. And we kept asking why until we truly understood the issue and then started asking ourselves if there was a way we could solve the business access-to-credit problem by doing things differently. Once we truly and deeply understood the problem, the multi-billion dollar Small and Medium-Sized business (SMB) credit market opportunity and the impact access to credit will have directly on the business owners, their employees, suppliers and on the broader economy, we were ready to start thinking about a solution. The solution was also based on the “TeamApt Way” and incorporated multiple brainstorming and product discovery sessions where we constantly asked “why” over and over again, a bit of creativity mixed with technical knowledge, pilots and testing of different iterations with actual businesses etc and finally we ended up with tailored credit products which are already unlocking access to credit for SMBs.
This approach to the issue of SMBs credit is a constant theme in the day-to-day lives of our team who are working hard to understand SMBs and their problems deeply in order to come up with relevant solutions. And while we can’t solve every problem an SMBs may have, we want to be their partners of choice so that together we can build a new financial system powered by a suite of tailored products and tools they need to succeed.