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A message from our CEO, Marieke Flament

As we reach the end of 2020, our CEO, Marieke Flament, takes a look back on the year and how some of our customers have adapted through the pandemic.

3 min read

Mettle: a person's ability to cope well with difficulties; spirit and resilience.

Synonyms: spirit, fortitude, tenacity, strength of character, moral fibre, steel, determination, resolve, resolution, steadfastness, indomitability, backbone, hardihood, pluck, nerve, gameness, courage, courageousness, bravery, gallantry, valour, intrepidity, fearlessness, boldness, daring, audacity.


I’m very proud of our name. And more than ever, I think that we all need a bit of Mettle. COVID-19 has and is bringing its set of continuous challenges. We collectively know what to expect and we’re headed in the right direction with vaccines beginning to be rolled out in the UK, yet I think it’s prudent to be cautious with what comes next.

Mettle exists to give small businesses the freedom to start, run and grow their business without fear or stress of not knowing how to manage their finances. We try and make things simple and empower our customers so they can concentrate on what they do best — making their businesses thrive. 

Now more than ever, this mission is of utmost importance.

There are currently 5 million self-employed people in the UK (that’s nearly 1 in 10 working adults), a rate which has been growing at 3% per year and has accelerated during COVID.

A lot of small businesses have been hit hard, but we’re seeing a positive trend towards recovery. There has been a surge in new company formations indicating that many of you are innovating, starting something new or changing the way you work. 

Between March and July alone, Companies House reported nearly 200,000 new business registrations. And we’ve seen a 20% increase year-on-year every week since the end of July.

Whatever the motivation – whether you’re following your dream, or have gone freelance because of being furloughed or made redundant, we’re here to support you because we believe that small businesses are fundamental to rebuilding the UK economy. 

Small businesses are hugely under-served when it comes to business banking. For too long, the industry has prioritised commercial customers and large corporates, leaving small businesses with few options, which are often lacking in much-needed features.

We believe that Mettle is here to fill that gap so that you can focus on what really matters – your business, and in turn, helping us on the road towards economic recovery.

The bigger picture

Beyond Mettle, we all have to do our part. I for one, love to shop locally and want to support small businesses and entrepreneurs as much as I can. 

Small businesses are run by people, not by boards. They add character to the community and have a strong and positive effect on local jobs. I love the personal connection I get when I go to our local shops, whether it’s the butcher, the bike store, the pharmacy, our local market or the food store. Buying something, exchanging a few words, a smile and a hello is all very rewarding – even under a mask. It’s good to be seen, it’s great to feel connected, and it’s good to feel that when we spend, we can help support a business and a family. 

Although I am often described as an entrepreneur, I don’t know if I see myself as one. I mentor startup founders and have had the opportunity to help build and scale businesses while launching products across the globe. 

From a young age, I’ve also had the opportunity to travel and live in several countries, which in a way, is a form of entrepreneurship given that with every move came the need to ‘start again’ from scratch. 

One thing’s for sure, in our family, my husband is definitely an entrepreneur. He’s started several ventures so I know all too well how hard it is to build resilience as you start a business, particularly in these times. 

I know what it’s like to be unsure if you can afford the next bill, or that you can pay next month’s wages. And I also know the thrills that come with ‘making it’. Making progress. Seeing your product loved, bought and adopted. 

Our customers inspire us

COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on our economy and yet, crisis is often the genesis of innovation – there has never been a better time to start something. And that’s why we want to be here: our mission is to give you, our customer, the freedom to run your business. 

I’m seeing friends and family, unfortunately, lose their jobs but then reinvent themselves with great ideas. And am utterly delighted to see that Mettle can be a solution for them to start their new business.

Our customers are showing that they have a tremendous amount of mettle and inspiring us every day to continue doing what we do. 

Take Steve, for example. He’s the owner of Surefit Fitted Furniture, a company that designs bespoke pieces for clients. Steve started his business a year ago so unfortunately, he was unable to get any support during the first lockdown. 

It wasn’t easy and he turned down numerous job offers as he knew working wasn’t the right thing to do – even though he needed the money. I’m so happy to hear that since then his business has really picked up – you can read more about Steve’s story here.

Joshua from Oakley Tutors

Joshua is another example of how some of the people we work with have shown resilience and have had to use new ways of working to adapt to the changing work landscape. Joshua owns Oakley Tutors, an online teaching service that offers bespoke education courses. What started as a face-to-face venture recently transitioned into remote working because of COVID. 

During lockdown, he had to quickly adapt his business model to meet his students' needs remotely. Given the high demand, Joshua was able to support his students throughout COVID. You can read more about him here.

Where we are today

Today, we have more than tripled our customer base since March, whilst ensuring that we look after our current customers.

In this time, we’ve also seen consistent growth every month in average customer deposits, double what they were in March.

We’re heavily focused on steady, incremental growth combined with continued strong customer satisfaction, and on that front, we’re proud to have an App Store rating of 4.8 out of 5.

Where we’re headed

Our customers have always been the focal point for Mettle. And we measure our success based on how easy you find Mettle to use and how well we’re solving your problems. We’re constantly working with you to test new features, get your thoughts on what you’d like to see and do our best to support you through our fantastic Customer Service team.

Over the past few months, we’ve released a few new features to help you manage your books, like integrating with accounting software, such as FreeAgent, Xero and Quickbooks and made payments easier with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

In the next few months, we’ll be adding more features and we’re even looking at partnership opportunities to offer you lending solutions, which will hopefully be beneficial in the current climate.

As I write this, I can see there’s light at the end of the tunnel as far as COVID is concerned. Not only have there been giant steps made to find a vaccine but so many of you have taken the leap and have reinvented yourselves in creative and inspiring ways. 

Yet the road to financial and economical recovery will be long and arduous, in particular for small businesses, requiring us to have mettle (pun on words intended). 

With that in mind, I remind myself that more than ever, shopping locally and supporting our small businesses is of utmost importance. 

Stay safe,

Marieke

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The Mettle account is an e-money account provided by Prepay Solutions (PPS), a trading name of Prepay Technologies Ltd which is an electronic money institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (FRN 900010) for the issuing of electronic money. Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection does not apply to electronic money institutions. Mastercard® is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Registered office: 250 Bishopsgate, London, United Kingdom EC2M 4AA

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