How to Find Opportunities in a Financial Crisis

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Market conditions, rising inflation, and global uncertainty due to war and supply chain issues are impacting businesses of all kinds and sizes. Some investors and boards are advising companies to cut costs and freeze hiring, and some companies have already started laying off large parts of their staff. According to the estimate of some experts, the American economy risks entering a new recession.

But, as in all times of change, opportunities exist: some of the most successful companies in the world were born during episodes of crisis, such as Airbnb and Uber (recession of 2007-2009), or Microsoft (recession of 1973 -1975), among many others.

This week Most Innovative Companies podcast, Joe Percoco, co-founder and co-CEO of Titan, shares his thoughts on why, while a financial crisis is undeniably a challenge for businesses, it can also bring key opportunities for growth. His company, Titan, is a consumer fintech that gives users access to expert investment advice. Operating in this space means that Percoco has seen this crisis through the eye of the storm.

“Internally, we use weather analogies a lot,” says Percoco, comparing the financial landscape of the past few years to a sunny day. “It’s 72 degrees, you’re on the beach and everything you’re doing is up and to the right. And now the weather has changed. It’s rainy, cloudy, there are a few thunderstorms. You can almost think of now as game day for the operators.

Yet despite market conditions, Titan has done more than retain users. “If you look at us internally,” Percoco says, “we’re on the verge of the highest level of production ever, right now, during a recession.” Since its inception in 2018, Titan has grown 6x year over year and now has nearly $1 billion in assets under management. This is largely due to the company’s innovation of not only opening up access to investments, but also accessing financial market information and the decisions Titan makes when investing the hard money. gained from its users, which they have been doing throughout this market downturn. .

Percoco also credits Titan’s success to its ability to stick to the principles that made it successful in the first place. In particular, those of thinking and building for the long term, while remaining in tune with the reality on the ground. “One of the main themes for our leadership team is how we get information, driving information traffic to our business, both in terms of market signals and what customers value, how they feel, these need to be super clear leads for the information to get through,” he says.

Comparing business to a ship that sets sail, Percoco says that while there are limits to what a business can achieve during a market downturn, there are also opportunities. He recognizes that while capital and resources are limited, companies should not bloat their organization with headcount, and instead find ways to do more with less. “That means you have to take fewer bats,” he says. “From a process perspective, focus becomes key.” But, insists Percoco, “if you want to do something big, if you want to do something societal, you need, against all odds, a puzzling event to build something transcendental.”

“It’s wise to make sure your ship is strong and can withstand a storm,” says Percoco. “But, if you give up on your customers, give up on innovation, you are giving up an incredible opportunity for growth not just from a business standpoint, but also from a mission standpoint.”

Listen to the episode to learn more about the interview.

You can listen and subscribe Most Innovative Companies on Apple podcast, embroiderer, Spotifyor wherever you get your podcasts.

James Vincent is the guest host of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies podcast. He is also a partner and CEO of FNDR, where he’s helped the founders of some of the world’s biggest companies, including Airbnb and Snap, use the power of storytelling to express their vision. Before the FNDR and for more than a decade, James worked alongside Steve Jobs to build the Apple narrative.
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