Now, more than ever, the economy needs protecting. Armed with an automated cashflow and credit management platform, itsettled is committed to providing business owners with the tools they need to take back control of their cashflow.
During 2020, the economy was pushed to breaking point on more than one occasion. For SMEs, in particular, the impacts of the past year have been significant, with even a small drop in revenue having a detrimental impact on the survival of their businesses. As small and large businesses alike struggled to adapt, those who faced late payments were forced to consider permanent closure.
Luckily, itsettled stepped in to help. As the UK’s first automated cashflow and credit management platform, itsettled provides businesses with an easier way to improve their cashflow. Understanding that the process of chasing delayed payments can quickly become a huge headache for business owners, the itsettled platform enables businesses to effectively collect their debts, saving time, hassle and stress.
Our Marketing Manager, Emily, caught up with Jonathan Wingrove, COO of itsettled, to discuss the challenges of starting a new business during the pandemic, and how they used digital to make the launch of their brand a success.
E: Tell us about your role at itsettled and a brief history of your career to date.
J: I originally graduated in 2000 with a degree in Graphic Design before moving into marketing and brand management. In 2019, I was asked to join Credebt, which is itsettled’s sister company. Now, I’m the COO of itsettled, where my role consists of overseeing everyone in the team and further developing our platform and offering.
E: itsettled launched in 2020, how has it been launching and starting a business during a pandemic?
J: Like many businesses, we’ve found the pandemic challenging – but it has also allowed us some valuable time for growth and expansion. We’ve welcomed four new members to the team so far this year, so that’s been really exciting for everyone.
We’re very lucky as we’re also on two NatWest accelerator programmes, one focused on the South West and one focused on FinTech. Being on the accelerator has been invaluable for us, especially given the ongoing situation with COVID, as we’ve been able to build a really strong network with our business neighbours here in Bristol, as well as further afield.
E: What challenges/obstacles have you faced launching a new business and what advice can you give to others starting a new business?
J: One of our first challenges has probably been our biggest as well. We really struggled to find a development team for our platform who shared our vision and would devote enough energy to itsettled. However, after a few wrong decisions, and much validated learning, we’re really proud of what we’ve created.
In terms of advice, persistence is key. Make sure you have faith in your product or business offering, as that’s what will get you through the challenging times. I’d also say that sharing decisions is really important. At itsettled, we make decisions together as a team and we drive the company’s direction together.
E: What is the main problem itsettled is trying to solve and how is itsettled unique to the market?
J: We founded itsettled to target the late payment culture in the UK. We’re unique because we’re the first of our kind – an automated cashflow and credit management platform. We’re rewriting the rules of the industry by improving our customers’ cashflow position and protecting them from future risks. We have a one-of-a-kind process that’s built on our experience in the financial industry. The itsettled platform doesn’t require any training to use it, so that makes us different, and to my mind, better – as our customers don’t have to spend time learning how to use our platform before they can start chasing their invoices.
E: Have you seen an increase in demand for support from businesses needing to adapt the way they control their payments? What have been their biggest frustrations and how can you solve them?
J: Definitely – the pandemic has really forced businesses to take a good look at their finances and their cashflow. There’s been a lot of government support for businesses, which is great, but at some point in the near future businesses are going to have to start repaying their loans, and I think that’s when we’ll see a lot of issues, unfortunately. With itsettled, our process is really easy to use, so busy business owners who perhaps don’t employ a credit controller can use our platform. We also offer a lot of valuable content for our members, with articles on topics such as common excuses for late payment, so our members have lots of information at their disposal which they can use with clients who are refusing to pay.
E: How have digital technologies played a part in attracting new users and communicating with existing users, and has there been a need to invest more in order to spread the message of what you do?
J: Digital technology is a massive part of itsettled – after all, we’re a digital platform! We do a lot of our marketing via digital channels, so it’s important for us to spend time on getting that perfect. We hired a digital marketing manager in February, so we understand the importance of investing in digital communication.
E: What have been the key messages or campaigns for itsettled in the past 12 months? What’s been on the agenda and has the pandemic shaped the focus of itsettled campaigns?
J: We launched our #GetTheUKPaid initiative earlier this year, in which we offered 1000 UK businesses the chance to get ten of their invoices paid for free, before the end of the summer. We were really excited by the response we saw, and the impact we made during that campaign.
We also launched our partnership with two accountancy software providers; FreeAgent and Sage, and we have many other partnerships on the way. To celebrate this, we hosted a series of webinars earlier in the year.
We also co-hosted a campaign with Leapers, a mental health organisation for freelancers and the self-employed community, for Mental Health Awareness Week – this is really important to us and a key part of our business.
E: Have you seen a shift in the need for apps to control finances for businesses and has there been a shift in the types of users?
J: Yes, definitely. With the rise of digital technology over the past ten years, there’s been a huge shift in how people interact with traditional services, such as banks. More and more people want digital access to services, and so apps and platforms like itsettled work great for those customers.
However, as the internet has grown, I also think the wealth of information available can be overwhelming for some. When you google ‘how to collect late payments from customers’, there are a staggering 484,000,000 results. The point of itsettled is that everything is written out for you, so you don’t have to waste time looking for the best way to improve cashflow, as you’ve already got the most effective process at your fingertips.
E: What will be the key focus for itsettled in 2021? How will digital play a part in this?
J: At the moment, our key focus is growth and building on our existing partnerships. We’re really looking forward to launching some exciting collaborations in the next few months with leading financial providers and institutions.
E: What does the future look like for itsettled? Any exciting plans we should look out for?
J: We’ll be continuing to grow, and we’re looking to introduce our customers to our sustainability targets very soon. Being a Bristol start-up, it’s very important to us that we share our environmental impact and our goals to improve it with our customers. We want to help as many businesses as possible and eradicate the late payment culture we have in this country.
Mostly we’re just really excited for what the rest of 2021 brings. You can find itsettled on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook at @itsettled.
With the rise of digital technology over the past ten years, there’s been a huge shift in how people interact with traditional services, such as banks. More and more people want digital access to services, and so apps and platforms like itsettled work great for those customers.