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3 Tips You Can Use For Expanding Your Professional Network

Ask any business owner and they will tell you how important it is to build a solid business network. A great business network is high-quality and consists of a group of people you can count on. Building such a network requires commitment and consistency. Not to mention, a balance between giving and taking, not simply exchanging business cards and contact information. Here are 3 tips for building a better business network:

Be Authentic

When introduced to new acquaintances and businesspeople, it’s recommended to be knowledgeable and up-to-date. But it’s more important to be yourself. Sure, we all want to present a more refined and polished version of ourselves to the world, but it’s another thing altogether to mislead acquaintances about your goals and values. Understandably, there are many people we would want to impress, but the best relationships (yes, business relationships too) happens when you start with a natural connection and common ground. Being authentic also enhances your reputation to others in your field.

Bad Behavior Is Never a Good Idea

We hear of several charismatic yet overbearing and unpleasant business leaders. We start to wonder if such traits are perfectly acceptable, or worse, integral to success. Please don’t try this.

Being a jerk while taking benefits from your relations and not giving back is detrimental at any stage, but especially so when you are in the process of building and growing your business. You will get an unsavory reputation and trust us, your network will pass on juicy anecdotes of nasty behavior to their relations.

Thank your acquaintances when they have provided you a favor. Be kind to them even when it looks like there is no visible payoff for doing so. Being trustworthy and dependable has business value.

Get More Personal

Want to know a particular person better? Ask them to hang out together. You’ll have the chance for a more personal discussion. Be open to different ideas. Be willing to have someone teach you business models you may be skeptical of. Share your experiences, points of views, and professional plans to see if this is someone you want to share a more lasting business relationship with. Also, see if this is someone you can trust.


Building a solid business network doesn’t stop at exchanging contact information. It’s what happens after that matters most. Be authentic, be professional and responsible, and establish quality relationships with talented people who trust and inspire.

Looking for more business tips? Click here for how to maximize business productivity and here for ideas on growing a small business.

Saving In The Digital Era

We’ve all been there before: at first, we were just absentmindedly scrolling through our Instagram feed when we come across a beautifully made travel bag or trendy sneakers posted by a brand account. Next thing we know, we’ve placed our order and we’re ready to make a purchase.

Everything happened too fast! When the order arrives at our door, our satisfaction levels are high. But in mere days we realize we didn’t really need the product in the first place.

Temptation is everywhere in the digital era, and it’s becoming harder and harder to save money. With the rise of technology and social media, online shopping is just one easy click away. If you fall prey to too many ill-considered purchases, you will soon have bad financial habits.

So how do you save money in the social media era?

Set up automatic deposits into your saving accounts

Establish a budget, period. When you have an accurate view of your income and expenses, you can start improving your personal finances. Once you have set a budget and clear goals, get in the habit of saving money by automating the process. Set up regular and automatic deposits into your savings and investments accounts, either directly from your paycheck or from your checking account.

Get a money buddy

According to an MIT study, friends with similar traits can pick up good habits from each other. Financial planners also recommend having someone to hold you accountable for the task at hand to increase effectiveness and deliver stronger results.

Consider using the concept to save more money. You don’t need a finance whiz, you can find a partner in a friend, a parent, a sibling, or your own spouse. Set an achievable savings goal and ask your money buddy to monitor your progress and keep you on track.

Solo shopping

When it comes to shopping, it’s fun to shop with company. For the sake of personal finance, however, it’s better to shop alone. In a fun and relaxed mood, your friends might encourage you to buy more things than you intended. Obviously, it’s not healthy for your financial condition.

If you still want some company, ask your money buddy to accompany you. They are monitoring your personal finance progress, after all – chances are they won’t suggest shopping as a way to have fun in the first place.

When you get a raise, raise your savings too

Everyone says they would save more when they have more. But do people actually do it? When we get a raise, usually the first thing we do is buy something expensive to celebrate the occasion. Maybe a handbag, or plane tickets to a dream destination.

Celebratory spending is fine. Some self-reward is healthy. But remember to increase your automatic monthly transfer to savings as well. It might be painful now, but you will reach your personal finance goals faster if you allot more money to your savings and investments from a younger age.


Ultimately, saving enough money comes down to willpower and contentment. Do you have enough willpower to save? Are you okay with not having more right now? If you can develop both these qualities, you will grow wealthy over time.

8 Principles of Investing for Beginners and Beyond

To start, there are no investment hacks and shortcuts. Investing requires time, research, and maintenance. Effort? Depends on the instrument. Stocks, for instance, would need more vigilance than bonds, which is mostly a ‘buy and wait for maturity’ affair. Overall, however, there are no instafix to get you high investment returns.

For beginners and those who want to refresh the main principles of investing, we’ve collected 8 crucial tenets.

1. Know that investing is a commitment

Investing can be compared to quality relationships. Both require patience and its close kin, time. There are more investment options available than ever on the market, with new ones like cryptocurrencies and P2P lending entering the mainstream. But before you choose “the one”, you must first determine your investment profile. Then, you need to mull over the pros and cons of various instruments before selecting those that best fit your purposes.

Time also applies to the investments themselves. Some investments allow you to cash out by a relatively quick maturity date. Others take longer. It also pays to take time and review your investments regularly. Depending on how the markets have moved, you may have to rebalance your investment portfolio to fit your personal risk tolerance.

2. Invest when you have enough savings

Everyone has a benchmark for how much savings is “enough”. But it’s essential to have several months’ worth of monthly expenses before you invest your money. Three months’ worth is a good minimum amount, six months’ worth is safer.

If your savings account is stable, you have something to turn back to if you have an emergency and need funds immediately. When all your money is tied up in investments during unexpected times, you may have to withdraw funds when the markets aren’t optimum or when your investments haven’t reached maturity – exposing you to hefty penalty fees.

3. Watch the inflation rate

The interest we get on our savings is insignificant and when you factor in banks’ admin fees, our savings usually stay flat over time. What doesn’t stay flat, unfortunately, is the price of goods thanks to inflation.

Inflation is why we invest; we want to stabilize our purchasing power in the long term. To do so, our investments must beat the national inflation rate. To solve this, balance an investment portfolio that delivers overall returns above the inflation rate.

4. Know your personal risk tolerance

Thereby, know the risk and return principle, which declares that the higher the potential returns, the higher the risk – and vice versa. Because of the risk and return principle, everyone’s investment portfolio will look different as every investor balances risk and reward according to his personal risk tolerance and future goals.

Aggressive investors will aim for instruments with the highest returns, no matter how risky. Their portfolio can consist of 80-90% high-risk instruments. Meanwhile, investors with a low stomach for risk will veer towards safer products.

Age is often, but not always, a factor in determining risk tolerance. Rationally speaking, someone young and healthy, with enough savings and a long period of productivity ahead of him can afford to take more risks.

The idea of establishing your personal risk profile is to support you in building your perfect portfolio – one that reflects your personal preferences.

5. Remember the risk and return principle: anyone promising extremely high returns either requires you to take an equally extreme risk or is selling an investment fraud

Certain instruments can be stable while offering higher returns relative to other instruments, but there is no magic instrument with high profit and no risk. It simply does not exist. Be instantly wary of suspicious offers. Investment scams tend to have several things in common: high and unsustainable returns (think monthly returns above 10%), lack of transparency, general product claims (gold, foreign exchange, etc), and no operational license.

6. Diversify, diversify, diversify

How do you mitigate risk? You diversify your investments. Diversification means allocating your funds among a variety of investments. The more diversified your portfolio, the more protected you are. Even if an investment fails, your overall returns stay positive.

Diversification is how you build your unique investment portfolio. Remember personal risk profile? Maybe you are risk-averse. You may want to compile a portfolio of 70% bonds and fixed deposits, 10% in cash and equivalents, and 20% in stocks. If I’m risk-averse, why not spend 100% of my funds on fixed deposits, you ask? Even “safe” instruments have risks. What happens when fixed deposit interests fall? Your portfolio value will be diminished. Spreading your investment across various assets will prevent this problem.

7. Reinvestment is essential

When your investments generate earnings, you have several options. You can withdraw and cash out. But if you want long-term benefits, you should reinvest those earnings so they generate more earnings.

Say you invest SGD 10,000 into bonds with 7% annual interest. After a year, you have earned SGD 700 in interest. You decide to reinvest the total SGD 10,700 into the same bonds in year 2. SGD 10,700 now reaps SGD 749 in interest earnings rather than SGD 700 and you didn’t do anything.  Over time, you would double your starting principal or more. The key is in diligence and frequency.

8. Invest early because time matters

The reinvestment principle especially shines when you start investing early. Let’s say person A invests in an instrument with 5-6% annual interest at age 25 and reinvests every year. Then there’s person B who does exactly the same with the same initial amount starting age 35. Various graphs show that when they are both 60, person A would have nearly double the money of person B.


Remember: start early, commit over the long term, have enough savings, know your risk profile, be wary of suspicious offers, diversify to build an optimum portfolio, and reinvest your earnings.

Funding Societies Surpasses $100 Million in SME Crowdfunding

Funding Societies welcomed the start of the year by crossing the SGD 100 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. This is the highest total crowdfunded amount achieved by any peer-to-peer lending platform in Southeast Asia.

In line with the platform’s goal of responsible growth, Funding Societies expanded its crowdfunding book by 400% in 2017 while maintaining a default rate of 1.5%.

You can watch their milestone video below:

Founded in 2015, Funding Societies provides business financing to underserved SMEs for their working capital and expansion needs. This is done through its digital marketplace platform where retail and institutional investors come together to lend to the SMEs. Businesses can avail loans ranging from just SGD 5,000 going up to SGD 1 million and at reasonable rates of interest. Funding Societies platform has facilitated funding across industries including Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction. Professional Services, Wholesale and Retail Trade amongst others. Most of the SMEs which Funding Societies has funded do not receive adequate financing through traditional options. Others have existing bank loans but approach Funding Societies for fast and short-term bridging loans.

Reynold Wijaya (left) and Kelvin Teo (right) at the tunnels of Harvard Business School where they conceptualised Funding Societies in 2015.

According to a Visa and Deloitte study, four in 10 SMEs in Singapore are unserved by existing financial institutions when addressing their financing needs. This problem is compounded, with 72% of Singapore SMEs requiring funds to better manage their working capital and cash flow. The lack of access to financing faced by SMEs is an issue that needs to be addressed. Alternative financing providers like Funding Societies are addressing this gap by providing funding solutions for the growth of local businesses.

Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder and CEO of Funding Societies, commented, “We started Funding Societies while at Harvard to positively impact SMEs in Southeast Asia. 2017 has been a strong year, as we gained global recognition for our efforts including our loan mobile app FS Bolt and our chatbot Miyu. We’d work even closer with the SME community in 2018, in line with our motto ‘Stronger SMEs, Stronger Societies’.”

Funding Societies received many local and global awards in 2017. At the end of 2017, its Indonesian entity, Modalku, won the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom. It is the first and only Asian startup to win the award. The company was also included in CB Insights’ Fintech 250, a select list of the top FinTech companies around the world working on groundbreaking financial technology. It also won the Best in Customer Experience Asia award from Retail Banker International and was conferred as the Hottest Startup in Singapore by Singapore Business Review. The local and international awards highlight the impact of financial technology on society.

New To P2P Investing? Start Here.

You’ve probably heard about Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending  as an alternative investment.

What Is P2P Lending?

P2P lending allows investors to earn attractive interest on their money by lending it to businesses with growth potential and plans.  Returns come in the form of regular repayment of interest and principal. For any given loan, there could be hundreds of investors who put up the money and share the risks and returns of the investment.

Peer-to-Peer lending is enjoying increasing interest and participation in Singapore for a few reasons.

#1 Higher Returns Than Traditional Investment Instruments

P2P loans could yield returns in the region of 10 to 14% per annum, which is very attractive, given the low interest rate environment.

#2 Short Investment Time Horizon

Compared to other investments than require you to hold an investment for years before seeing a substantial return on investment, yield from P2P investments can start to stream in months after the initial investment.

#3 Huge Capital Not Necessary To Invest

For as little as $100, you can begin to invest in P2P loans. This makes it ideal for young people who do not have alot of cash to spare and beginner investors.

#4 Relatively Simple Investment Mechanics

Investing in P2P loans do not require knowledge of technical analysis, performing stock valuations, or an advanced knowledge of finance. For each P2P investment, investors can examine a comprehensive factsheet that spells out vital information about the company and the terms of the loan. You can then decide for yourself if the returns promised is worth the risk will be taking on.

Interested To Learn More?

If you’re interested to learn more about P2P lending and how you can get started, Funding Societies is organising a seminar titled “What is Peer-to-Peer Lending?“.

Date: 24 January 2018
Venue: The Working Capitol (1 Keong Saik Road)
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
(Registration: 6.30pm – 7pm)

Agenda:
– What is Peer-To-Peer Lending? – A global and local perspective
– How does investing in P2P lending work?
– Returns and risks in P2P lending
– How you can invest on Funding Societies’ platform
– Q&A session and networking

Drinks & light snacks will be provided.

You can head over to the event page for more details and register! The event is free of charge.

About Funding Societies

Founded in 2015, Funding Societies is an award-winning digital lending platform that enables SMEs to get unsecured loans and invoice financing, crowdfunded by individuals and institutional investors. It is licensed and operating in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia (as Modalku).

Backed by Sequoia Capital, it was the recipient of the MAS FinTech Award (SME category) and is also the only digital lender in Southeast Asia to be recognized as top FinTech 250 firms globally by CB Insights.

The Myths And Misconceptions About FinTech

Ah, financial technology – better known as FinTech. A very booming sector, and there are many thoughts and perceptions about it. Unsurprisingly, there are misconceptions about the industry ever since it shook up the financial world.

We can’t deny that FinTech is indeed disruptive and revolutionary, but is it truly going to destroy traditional financial institutions? We don’t think so, thus we invite you to take a look at these four common myths and misconceptions about FinTech.

It’s stuck in a bubble and will burst

The concept of “bubbles” in markets was introduced during the “dotcom” era, when growth and funding in startup websites were climbing steeply. The rise of FinTech has been compared to the dotcom bubble. Yet there are now more than 45 FinTech unicorns (each valued at more than $1 billion) worldwide. Five of them have gone public, proving that the industry is not going anywhere. Not only do the numbers speak for themselves, the FinTech industry has given the world new business models. For example, companies like StudentFunder enables access to education for students who can’t find proper funding elsewhere.

FinTech is not secure

FinTech may be relatively new to the financial world; that doesn’t mean it’s not secure. Yes, new technology is never completely safe from the possibility of cyberattacks, but FinTech is no more exposed to these threats than any other sector. Besides, any reliable FinTech company will have security and identity checks in place.

Trying to learn more about how to protect your business from hackers? Read “How to Protect Your SME from Cybercrime”

It’s only about lending and payments

In the US, lending and payments dominate the FinTech industry by 80%. However, other areas like insurance, market provisioning, investment management, and capital raising are also making significant progress in FinTech. In fact, The World Economic reported that insurance is one of the biggest disruptors in FinTech, as advanced algorithms and computing power are changing the industry. There are also new financial management systems that are able to help people save money and time, boost credit scores, and detect fraud all in the same place. FinTech can also provide superior data analytics. Thereby the assumption that FinTech is a limited sector is simply false.

It’s waging a neverending battle with banks 

Some conventional banks feel threatened by the rise of FinTech, since FinTech is always seen as the “disruptive” one. In reality, banks and FinTechs are getting along quite well – fintech and banks have recently been making collaborative partnerships for the financial industry. Why? FinTech builds products and services with cutting-edge technology that people need but platforms often lack distribution capabilities. Which party has large distribution capabilities? That’s right: banks.

Because fintech is online-based, eventually they can reach prospective clients more widely and more quickly. According to CB Insights data, six major banks in the US have made strategic investments in more than 30 FinTech companies since 2009. So much for enemies!

The world, especially advances in financial technology, is moving fast. Watching the journey and further innovations of FinTech will be an exciting ride.


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Reviewing 2017 Business Performance, Achieving 2018 Goals

Is there a better time than the first work days of the year to reflect on business goals? If you spent the final days of 2017 scrambling to collect data and make reports, it’s time to review the past year’s business performance. For many businesses, this is the only time of the year when they have a complete set of accounts. Through them, you can see how much money you are making and spending; specifically, where the majority of your profits and revenue come from, and where your money is being spent – and if some of the expenses are unnecessary and can be cut.

You can also use 2017 reports to check on business health. Here are 3 tips to help you start your business on the right track in 2018.

Check the Health of Your Business

Other than revenue, profits, loss, available working capital, total assets, and debts to pay off, other factors within your financial statements can help you determine business health. For one, check the balance between revenue and expenses overtime. With business development and expansion, it’s perfectly normal to spend more on expenses. However, a healthy business will balance its revenue and expenses, with spending under control.

But more than financial ratios, comprehensive market research and understanding of clients bolster business success. It is paramount for a business to have a strong and well-thought-out business plan to cope with supply and demand uncertainties. A clear business plan helps align goals and unites your team by having their responsibilities defined and working towards a common vision. Haven’t got a business plan? Take the time to make one – it is of utmost importance.

Read more: “How Healthy Is Your Small Business? 5 Signs to Look For” and “Business Planning 101”

Better Manage Working Capital

Efficient working capital management ensures business liquidity. Liquidity may often be overlooked, but it is arguably as important as profitability. A business needs cash to cover short term expenses.

To figure out where you stand, calculate your current working capital ratio. Divide current assets such as cash, inventory, and accounts receivable by current liabilities. If the ratio is less than one, your business does not have enough working capital to settle short term debts. While the standard varies across industries, a ratio greater than 1 implies the business is in good financial position.

If you are struggling with managing working capital and need more cash, try looking into your stock inventory and invoice management practices. Perhaps you are carrying more inventory than needed and should adjust orders to optimize storage. Or perhaps much of your income is tied up in accounts receivable.

Read more: “How to make working capital work for you”

Consider a Business Loan in the New Financial Year

If your business goals for 2018 include big projects and development plans, maintaining sufficient capital is key. Depending on the amount of capital you need, you may need to apply for a business loan. Here are some instances where the timing may be right to start researching for suitable business financing:

  • You are looking to fund capital expenditure to optimize business productivity, (i.e, you need more equipment to accommodate growing sales volume but current profits are not sufficient to cover the costs).
  • You want to start business expansion or expand your product offerings. To do so, you need enough capital for various expenses, such as research and development, building new outlets and channels, hiring more human resources, launching marketing campaigns, etc.
  • You need to fix some cash flow issues, perhaps if invoice payments are late or consistently get stuck. Business solutions that allow you to convert accounts receivable to cash, such as invoice financing can help you enhance cash flow while you put a more efficient invoice process in place for your company.

The start of a new year is a hopeful time. You haven’t missed any deadlines and the days feel full of opportunities. This is the time to (a) discover problem points to fix, (b) understand how healthy your business is right now, and (c) know what to do in order to achieve all the targets you have planned for 2018. Good luck!


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Managing Personal Finances for Millennials

When it comes to personal finances, millennials often struggle. Older generations sneer, saying that the youth’s money problems stem from their own spending habits, from frequent eating out to coffee shops. That criticism has some merit. A recent survey conducted by Bankrate show that the average millennial eats out or buys take-out food 5 times a week.

Yet at the same, millennials earn 20% less than the boomers generation did at the same life stage, despite being better educated. No wonder young adults are so stressed out. They even spend four hours a week on average poring over personal financial matters at the office. With all the financial pressure, one’s daily lattes become less an indulgence and more of a self-care method.

What if you are a millennial looking to cut back on unnecessary spending? Good for you! It’s never too late to start managing your personal finances. Here are some tips to help you on your way.

Set a Bulletproof Budget

This one is an oldie but goodie. Setting a budget doesn’t mean obsessively tracking every penny or balancing your checkbook before bedtime. It means knowing how much of each paycheck should go towards savings, bills, shopping, and other needs. You’ll also need to prioritize which segment needs the most money. Basic needs such as food and shelter should become your priority, and then you can move on to internet and phone bills.

Budgeting will give you a good idea of where you might be overspending, so you can trim those expenses and possibly put that money towards a saving account or an investment.

Always, Always Pay Yourself First

When you’re young, there are many temptations. But while going out and spending money is fun, 5 years from now you will wonder why you didn’t start saving sooner. Start putting aside some of your income in a savings account. Your savings double as an emergency fund in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

How much money should you put aside in a saving account?

The safe answer would be as much as possible. However, a more practical amount would be 3-6 months of living expenses in savings. The savings account should also be easily accessible in case of an emergency, such as job loss, a car wreck, or medical needs.

Invest as Early as Possible

Saving money is important, yes, but it’s not enough to help you achieve long-term financial stability. As the years go by, inflation will make consumer goods more and more expensive. Grow your money by investing. The topic of investing sounds daunting for beginners, but it isn’t as complicates as it seems. Just spend some time researching and gaining at least the basic principles.

Take the time to know your personal risk tolerance, the risk and return principle, and how to diversify and reinvest your instruments. Investment products like time deposits and bonds are considered safer, so you can look into them if you are a beginner. But bear in mind that the return rates of these instruments are lower than riskier products.

Take Advantage of Finance Apps

If there is one thing millennials are most famous for, it would probably be their tech-savviness. They are eager for tech solutions that make life simpler and easier, including personal finance. In general, most millennials consider themselves more than qualified to handle their own finances. They just want a clear view of their financial situation. Fortunately, many startups have built finance apps to satisfy that demand. The Mint app helps you categorize your spending and keeps tabs on which category you are spending money on. You Need a Budget is an app that will help you stay aware of where every penny of your money is going.

Handling personal finances can be intimidating. But if you find it too stressful, don’t hesitate to ask for help from people you trust. Let’s start saving (and investing) as early as possible for a better financial future!


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Building The Best Team, No Matter How Small Your Business

A rookie mistake often made by those just starting a new business is thinking they can handle everything on their own. It’s still a small business, after all, so why would I need more people to help me, they think. As a small business owner, I should be able to wear many hats, they say.

However small a business started, it will eventually grow. So will yours. And every entrepreneur wants his business to consistently and steadily grow. Without the right team on your side, quality business growth is unlikely to happen. You need a great team and you can’t waste time when building one.

The thing is, building the best business team isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do you find the right people? How do you get them to work well together? How do you build the best business team even if your business is small?

Employing staff isn’t just about filling a role

Don’t rush into employing people just to fill a role. Ask yourself: what skills do I lack?

Answers to that question will help you identify what roles you must fill, along with the type of work you need the new person to do. In a small business, it’s important that the employees fit with the company and with each other, so make sure the people working with you believe in your business idea and vision. If they don’t, they won’t feel engaged and won’t bring additional value to your business.

Read also: Is Having No Job Better Than A Bad First Job?

Understand the strengths of each individual

It’s a given, each of your employee will enter the workplace with different personalities, quirks, and sets of values. Therefore, they will have different ideas about how to do their jobs. As a business owner, it’s important to recognize this, even if the way you work clash. People have different strengths and so long as your employees are contributing to your business in a healthy way, you’re on the right track. Just create an environment where people can channel their strengths and discuss their ideas or disagreements in an open, healthy fashion.

Explain your business goals

Before you officially start working with the new team, make sure everyone is on the same page. Let them know what they are aiming for and help them understand the goals of your business. It’s better if you have already created a vision of where your team should be —six months, a year, or two years from now. This will give your team a feeling for the situation in which they are working and the goals they are working towards.

Read also: Life At A Fintech Startup: 5 Interns Share Their Lessons Learned

Define roles as clearly as possible

Once everyone understand what the goals are, you can start bringing out the best in them. Make sure everyone is clear about their responsibilities, what is expected of them, and what is not. If you don’t make this clear, your team will work in confusion. They are not sure of their respective roles and boundaries. On a larger scale, business progress and efficiency will be affected.

Don’t forget that team roles are not static. As a business expands and various players show their strengths and results, you will need to periodically update roles and task list.

Are team building exercises necessary?

Here’s the honest answer: it depends. Small businesses are often fast-paced environments, so you need to get your team working together quickly. Team building exercises can help, but consider your budget to calculate whether you can afford them. Sometimes providing snacks when staff has to work late, or going to karaoke on a Friday night, is enough to get the band together and show that management cares.

In order to improve team performance, ask them to provide feedback. Listen carefully to what everyone says. Use the feedback to evaluate not only team performance, but also your own effectiveness as a leader. Last but not least: have fun building and growing a business with your new team!

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

P2P Lending, on a Global Scale

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, banks started making consumer lending stricter. Cheap, quick loans became difficult to acquire. Some consumers found it difficult to get loans even though they had good credit history. The environment of scarce credit and lengthy approval process became an opportunity for the alternative finance market, resulting in the growth of the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space.

P2P lending utilizes online platforms to connect investors and borrowers, solving the issue of costly and time-consuming credit approval. The business model offers a cheaper and more accessible alternative credit solution. P2P lending has grown worldwide, and has become one of the fastest growing areas of alternative finance. But will this growth continue in the future?

The Growth of P2P Lending

P2P lending connects individuals with surplus money to invest with those seeking a loan. Depending on the P2P lending platform, one can apply for personal loans or small business loans. Add technology and alternative data utilization to the mix and you have a powerful new credit solution.

What was once a form of alternative finance is now entering the mainstream. The P2P lending industry is transitioning from its startup phase into adolescence and is moving fast towards becoming a high growth, mature, and stable market, which will bring great benefits to consumers of financial services.

So far, the industry has grown up without any significant growing pains. Defaults have stabilized and the market has continued to grow.

Global Opportunities

Globally, the market has shown tremendous growth. While the P2P lending industry has not fully matured, the situation has created enormous investment opportunities worldwide due to lending gaps and borrowers’ increased interest in P2P lending services.

In different parts of the world, P2P lending is looked at differently. In Canada and the UK, for example, P2P platforms are regulated as an intermediary, while in Germany and France, regulators regard P2P lending as similar to banks. In the United States, regulations vary from state to state. India has a significant estimated worth of P2P lending volume in just two years while China’s P2P market has grown exponentially over the past few years. The above shows how far P2P lending has grown since 2005, when the first P2P platform began operating in the UK.

Challenges for the Industry

As good as the P2P lending market appears right now, there’s still a long journey ahead to tackle. The P2P lending market hasn’t yet reached its full potential. There are many out there who still aren’t comfortable enough with the relatively new business model to use its services.

Additionally, there are several factors that will determine the future growth of P2P lending.  If interest rates rise, the number of loan defaults may also increase. Leading P2P lending platforms need to work around this or risk having the bubble pop. Either way, if the economy is overall doing well, the number of defaults would remain stable.

Another factor is competition from banks and other financial institutions. As P2P lending platforms gain mainstream attention, financial institutions have begun to take notice. However, many banks have chosen to partner with strong P2P players to widen their reach to the underserved segment at a lower cost.

So, will P2P lending continue to grow in the future? All signs point to “yes” – as any market experiences a transition to reach maturity, new risks will emerge. But so long as platforms continue to guard and innovate against such risks, the future of P2P lending is bright.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.