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Business Success: Romi Savova and PensionBee

Business Success: Romi Savova and PensionBee

Welcome back to our Business Success blog series. Last month we
put Oliver Bridge in the spotlight with his exciting shaving subscription
service, Cornerstone.
Today, we’re talking to Romi Savova from PensionBee
about the innovative paperless pension and how the company has taken traditional
pension services and made them modern and mobile.

What’s the story of PensionBee in a nutshell?

PensionBee is an online pension manager that helps you to combine and
manage all of your pensions online. A personal experience when moving my
pension from a previous employer inspired me to start the company. I made such
a mess of it! I’m a finance professional and I found it so very complicated.
The more I spoke to people, the more I realised that I was not alone and that
the UK urgently needed a solution to help people take control of their
retirement savings in a hassle-free way.

What makes PensionBee stand out from the crowd?

PensionBee is the only online pension manager that brings old
pensions into one plan in an easy way. Customers can manage their pension like
they manage their bank account; they can look at their live balance, make
contributions online and use a smart calculator to plan their saving.

Customers expect an Amazon or
Apple experience when they interact with a product or service, including
financial products such as a pension. We’re building a product that will give
you total control over your retirement…on your phone or on any device you like.

What is your management style?

I tend to set high-level
goals – usually driven by our financial ambitions – and I make them very
transparent. I like to give my team lots of freedom in how those goals are
ultimately executed. I then check in as often as necessary to make sure we’re
still focused on the same goals!

At PensionBee, we also have Happiness meetings every 6-8 weeks to take
a temperature check. I strongly believe that when people are happy they do a
good job for the customer. So a lot of my job is to figure out how to make the
team happy and feel they are making a difference to the company and the
industry.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee, lots of coffee! We
ditched the Nespresso cups and now serve freshly brewed coffee from our filter
coffee machine. It’s proven popular with the whole team and we don’t have to
worry about all the waste from packaging.

Who is your business role model/idol and why?

I don’t really have a Steve Jobs-like role model. I have been inspired
by various people along the way, usually people I have worked with. Today I am
inspired by the PensionBee team. Culture is at the heart of every organisation
and our team’s ability to make the right decisions, so we do right by our
customers which is something I marvel at.

What is your biggest business challenge so far and how did you overcome it?

Pensions
are probably one of the least interesting products to engage with, but it’s so
important to get on top of your retirement savings. People move jobs more than
ever, so most of us end up with multiple pensions from previous jobs. Yet pension
providers are not proactive in telling us what we should do with our pension
pots and IFAs can be expensive. All of this leads to consumer confusion and our
biggest challenge has been convincing customers as well as the industry that
pensions can indeed be simple! Of course, making pensions simple is our
mission, so we try to overcome the perception
barriers every day by making our product more engaging, providing people
understandable information in any format that they like and ultimately
encouraging them to save more money and watch their pensions grow!

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What’s your recipe for a productive working day?

We like to start our day with a company stand-up where we
all briefly tell the team what we’re working on that day. It helps us to focus
on what is important and what’s not. I usually have a few meetings, both
internal and external, and hopefully some time to work on a project.

I also like to stay personally involved with customer
issues. Dealing with customers and making sure everything is running smoothly
and effectively takes a lot of discipline (and desire). But it’s all about
learning and improving, which is also part of the fun.

What advice would you give to an aspiring startup company?

Be laser
focused on the problem you’re solving for your customers. Don’t get distracted;
your customer will notice. Be tight with your founding team. You’re going to
see each other more than live-in partners and family. Make sure you’re aligned
and get on with each other. And last, but not least: patience. Trust in your
product and brand – they will not be built overnight. Perseverance will
ultimately pay off.

What will the future bring for Pensionbee?

Lots and
lots of growth within the UK and perhaps a bit internationally. We are
partnering with like-minded companies to bring a better way of pension saving
to the whole country.

If you would like to be a part of our Business Success
series let us know on Twitter at 
@viking_chat.

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