Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How to succeed setting up a Personal Finance portal

Only two days have gone by after I wrote about the personal finance space gathering momentum, and there's another portal PaisaWaisa that has been launched!

PaisaWaisa offers comparison and expert advice in diverse areas like Tax filing, Loans, Insurance, Credit cards, Banking and Real Estate.

Tax filing looks to be an attractive option where a lot of web start ups are trying their hand.

But again, while the entry barriers are very low, the execution remains the key to success. I saw this sad story on Pluggdin, where FilemyReturns, an online tax filing company which has even raised VC funds, has a shoddy user experience. Not even the login is working properly!

This leads me to think on what are the "essentials" on succeeding in this space. Here's a list (WIP)
  1. Knowledge: It's easy to be attracted to the personal finance space by the numbers and the potential of earning millions. But unless you have real knowledge of this space,the initial enthusiasm can drift to lack of motivation to carry through.
  2. Team: The managerial team should have the passion to succeed as well have some experience in building web portals
  3. People: Once you get the Beta launch right, it's time to build people who will have to execute. You need trained people to look after Accounts, Sales, Business Development, CRM, HR, etc. This really is the key. I would make this part the most important one.
  4. Distribution: Some of the personal finance portals might have a model on selling products. They need to have a pan India presence and have Advisors / Financial Planners as Affliates all over the country.
  5. Financial Literacy: The financial literacy levels in India is abysmally low. The portals can do well to make an effort in educating the people on the importance of holistic management of their money. The target market has to be developed so as to succeed in this space.
  6. Kaizen: Since this is a new and fast maturing market, continuous review and research on what they are doing right/wrong is important. You need to constantly measure and evaluate your customer response and look at ways on improving them.
It's a WIP list and I'll add/ update when I have more thoughts. What are your thoughts?
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