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Category: Advice

27 Jan

FemCity | Jan 2022

Luvleen Sidhu is the Chair, CEO and Founder of BM Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BMTX), one of America’s largest digital banking platforms. At the time of BM Technologies’ listing, Sidhu was the youngest female Founder and CEO to take a company public. She has been recognized by many awards, including being named one of PaymentsSource’s Most Influential Women in Payments: Next in 2021 and one Crain’s New York Business 2021 Notable Women on Wall Street. She is a member of YPO and is also passionate about mentoring women. Sidhu has been featured frequently in the media and speaks regularly at conferences, including LendIt Fintech USA 2021. She holds a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government from Harvard College.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from 2021?
To be grateful for every challenge I face! I get to decide if I turn my challenges into opportunities or let them weigh me down. Choosing to find the opportunity in every challenge is a game-changer. Instead of battling how uncomfortable a challenge can make me feel—I embrace it! Challenges help me grow and as a result make me stronger to tackle what’s ahead. For example, in 2021 we were one of several banking partners slated to launch a new program in partnership with Google, which Google ultimately decided to wind down. As one can imagine, this was disappointing news to hear, but I knew BM Technologies (BMTX) was continuing to pursue various growth strategies and initiatives, and this would not impact our ability to generate meaningful revenue and EBITDA at that point and in the future. Also, more times than not, challenges open new windows of opportunity and force me to think differently to help me level up. When reflecting back, many obstacles I faced in 2021 were blessings in disguise and others, while difficult, allowed me to learn and grow personally or professionally.

How are you preparing for 2022?
I am preparing by actively being focused on what’s next for us in the fast-paced fintech space. 2022 is going to be an exciting year for BMTX! We recently celebrated our 1-year anniversary of going public (NYSE: BMTX) and announced a strategic merger with First Sound Bank in November to become a chartered fintech institution. That transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022, so our team is working hard to ensure we successfully execute on that. Additionally, we’re focused on enhancing our technology and expanding our products/services in line.

What advice would you give other female founders that are looking to create big success in 2022?
Stay focused and stay on course. Be ready and prepare for any new changes. Continue to grow and add new skills while learning from your environment. Appreciate the support you receive from your customers and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.

What’s your 2022 mantra?
Saying “I get to do x,” instead of “I have to do x.” It’s a shift in mindset to feeling lucky and appreciative of having the opportunity to tackle what’s in front of me, rather than feeling only the weight of it all. It truly helps to make working through things more enjoyable and my days more satisfying overall.

Orginal article can be found at:

26 Dec

CEOWorld Feature

Lessons From Launching The Fastest-Growing Mobile-First Bank

We live in a world of industry disruption: from Amazon forcing brick-and-mortar stores to close their doors, to the likes of Netflix and Hulu disrupting traditional television distribution, to ride-hailing apps grabbing 75% of the ground transportation market share, to digital media platforms rendering newspapers extinct. Granted, there are companies struggling in the face of such transformation but more importantly, these disruptions are addressing and providing solutions to changing consumer behavior and needs.

The banking industry is antiquated, and has been long overdue for disruption. On average, customers visit bank branches 1-2 times per year; comparatively, they interact with their bank on their mobile device 20-to-30 times a month. However, banks have been slow to adapt. In addition to not addressing changing customer preferences, the banking industry often neglects the American population that is struggling financially – even with 48% of customers switching banks because of fees.

Taking matters into our own hands, we launched BankMobile in January 2015 to disrupt the traditional banking industry and provide Americans with an affordable banking alternative. After a couple years we had become the fastest growing mobile-first bank in the country. With 1.8 million account holders, we are now also the largest mobile-first bank in the U.S., and are proud to have saved college and university students more than $100 million in banking fees since July 2016.

From my experience launching BankMobile – America’s largest and fastest-growing mobile-first bank – I have learned the following key strategies for creating disruptive businesses.

Compelling Vision and Purpose:

Having a massively transformative vision is an absolute must. If you have a bold, compelling vision, set a clear path to see it through. Moreover, clarify your purpose – clearly articulate why and what your business does. Your purpose must be clear to yourself, before it can be clear to anyone else.

Mindset Matters:

First and foremost, your mind has to be set. Success is achieved through a plan that is 80% psychological and 20% strategic. See things better than they are and then make things the way you want to see it.  If you show your belief in your vision, your plan is contagious!

Moonshot Thinking:

Leave 10% thinking for large corporations, seeking innovation at incremental levels in response to industry disruption. Rather, strive for moonshot thinking and 10x improvement. Moonshot thinkers are game changers. They don’t adapt for the future, they design the future – addressing a massive problem by proposing a radical solution with innovative thinking and technology. Identify an area of your business where you should shoot for 10x growth, and see your vision through. Shooting for 10x improvement, versus 10% improvement, is 100x more worth it, but is never 100 times harder.

Customers Come First:

We seek to disrupt industries in order to better serve customers’ needs. Thus, you should always focus obsessively on the customer experience. Ask yourself, “Why would a customer be attracted to your business and why would they stay with you?” and, “What is one area of your business where you can improve the customer experience?”

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt:

Adaptability skills are crucial to creating disruptive businesses. Technology is creating the biggest opportunities to disrupt seen in over a century. There are numerous untapped exponential technologies at our fingertips. Be an early adopter and take advantage of ready to be used technological advancements including: internet of everything, artificial intelligence, machine learning, personal devices, blockchain, data analytics, robotics and biometrics.

Launching the fastest-growing mobile-first bank was definitely not an easy feat. At first, we faced a lot of skepticism and challenges. However, through perseverance and a complete dedication to our mission of creating a financially-empowering, simple, customer-obsessed bank, we have been able to be immensely successful. I hope the insights I gleaned can help others as they look to innovate disrupt various industries across the country.

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24 Sep

LuvNote #008 – Run Your Home, Like a Startup

Starting a business is not an easy task. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, sleepless nights, caffeine, patience, guts, perseverance, and did I mention sleepless nights? Despite that, the reward of your business becoming successful is well worth all the blood, sweat, and tears that you had to put in — especially if your business serves a social mission. Aside from all of the sweat equity that has to go into a new startup, one of the key ingredients to success is staying lean.

“What is a lean startup?” you may ask. It is a scientific methodology of running a business that builds a product or service that meets the needs of customers in such a way that the business doesn’t require a large amount of money to be successful. If we use this same methodology to run our household finances, then our odds of success increase exponentially. The following are five ways to manage your finances like a successful startup.

1. Rely on the Numbers

Running a lean startup goes beyond the opinion of what you think works or theories of what could work and instead relies on evidence. You test your product or service in small capacities, and you observe how it is received by the outside world. This allows you to know in real time what works and what doesn’t. Once you have proven your concept, you can now begin to scale your business. As it relates to your household finances, it is important to rely on the numbers instead of opinions and theories. Instead of guessing about where your money is going, where it is being spent, etc., use a budget worksheet to know exactly where your money is being allocated. Once you observe and identify your spending, you can begin to scale your finances to focus on items that matter most.

2. Fail as Fast as Possible

Failure isn’t failure when you fail, instead it becomes failure when you give up. Using the lean startup methodology, the sooner you can figure out (at a small scale) what doesn’t work in your business, the better off you’ll be. This allows you to weed out all of the possible losing scenarios until you are left with the winner. This can translate into your personal finances because as a household you may be dealing with multiple money personalities or old money messages that no longer serve you. As you fail as fast as possible, you will realize what parts of your money management techniques you have to tweak or get rid of. The faster you can make that happen, the sooner you can begin to enjoy your financial freedom.

3. Make It a Team Effort

The lean startup approach is never just about the executives in the C-suite. Instead, it involves everyone including the janitor and the mailperson. When all of your employees are invested in the success of the company, then everyone will do their part to achieve the goals that are set forth. There is never an attitude of “this is not my job” because everyone understands the cliché that says, “It takes teamwork to make the dream work.” When you transfer this attitude into your household finances, it allows you to manage your money successfully because you are involving everyone who can potentially play a role. Whether it’s your significant other, family, or friends, involving them in your financial goals will help steer them away from distracting you in a different direction.

4. Hire Slow, Train Fast

In the book From Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about getting the right people into the right seats on the bus, which means you must make sure that you have the right employees in the right positions in order for your business to get to the next level. This is also true when running a lean startup. Instead of hiring outside help, a lean startup will access its current talent pool and figure out who it can cross-train for any necessary vacant positions. This can be applied to your finances by making sure that before you hire help and dish out any money, you see if what needs to be done can be done in-house or learned by someone. More tangible examples are dry cleaning vs. laundry and eating out vs. cooking. Both former examples produce added costs, while the latter can be accomplished at a fraction of the cost. Adopting this mentality can truly decrease discretionary spending, which can leave more cash for savings or retirement.

5. Communicate Often

Lastly, communication can be extremely helpful as you run your household finances like a successful startup. In any successful business, there are often quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily meetings to ensure that everyone stays on the same page. It isn’t possible for a startup to run efficiently and lean if some people are going right and others are going left. Everyone should be marching to the same beat. This also rings true when it comes to your personal finances. Are you married and practicing financial monogamy? Do you have children? What about a boyfriend or girlfriend? Or a roommate? No matter what your situation is, communicating on a consistent basis with anyone who is involved with the finances is imperative. Having a weekly or monthly budget meeting is ideal, but in the same breath, everyone should be on the same page around financial goals and aspirations. Once you move as one, you can begin to financially win as one. As I said earlier — teamwork makes the dream work!