Author Archives: Phyllis Carpenter

4 Tips to Optimize Your Office’s Network Infrastructure

Network Infrastructure Although a lot of business functions are rapidly moving to the cloud., it is not yet a practical option for many businesses to migrate totally. First, the technical know-how that’s required might not be readily available, especially in smaller businesses. Secondly, there are also advantages to keeping your data and processes in-house.

If you’re able to optimize your office network, you’ll find that your staff can store and process data quickly and efficiently, which will translate to better business efficiency overall, and more profits. Everything rests on getting your network infrastructure right though, and here are a few tips on doing just that.

Network Infrastructure

1. Audit your network.

Before embarking on any major optimization efforts or even upgrading, it’s crucial to first understand exactly where there are issues in your network. Are your computers the real bottleneck, or are your staff in need of training to take full advantage of the facilities you’ve provided? If it is either of those things, then you’ll need to take steps to fix those issues, independent of any network optimizations.

If you find that your network is the problem, you’ll need to identify exactly what parts of it need fixing. You can do this by troubleshooting and testing all the different components in isolation.

2. Re-train your employees on best practices.

It’s one thing to have top-of-the-line equipment, and it’s quite another for your employees to be able to use it to full capacity while avoiding mistakes that could cause issues for them and other workers. Don’t assume that your employees are already tech-savvy. Take the time to produce a checklist and walk them through it regularly.

One mistake that often happens is when a few employees hog network resources, thus making the connection too slow for others. Sometimes, the employees in question might be doing something completely unrelated to your business. While it may seem that a few people streaming Netflix during lunch shouldn’t be a problem, each additional person can add to the strain significantly. Emailing very large files instead of using cloud drives is another common area where you can make a quick fix.

3. Parition your network using VLANS.

Not all network requests are equal, in terms of urgency as well as priority. The best way to ensure that requests of higher priority get more network resources is to implement VLANS in your network. While it can be a complicated process, the concept is simply that you can create separate networks within your single office network.

Those networks can share resources and infrastructure, but be designed to allow requests from one or more of the virtual networks to take priority whenever there’s a shortage. This is very important in allowing the C-Suite to conveniently make a crucial video conference with a top client, for instance. It is also helpful from a security perspective, since breaches into one VLAN would be easier to contain than one that gets into a single network.

4. Monitor and maintain.

No matter how well you optimize your network now, it won’t remain perfectly optimized in perpetuity. You’ll need to keep an eye on the network performance and metrics to be sure that things are purring on as they should. In order to do that, you might need to make use of specialized tools, or have an expert take a look if you don’t have an expansive in-house IT department.

According to Peter Di Stefano, Principal Product Marketing Manager of AppOptics , “It’s crucial that the tests are performed regularly and all faults and bottlenecks identified are fixed as soon as possible to avoid a deterioration. Even though you might have to shell out some money, the benefits in terms of business efficiency would more than make up for it.”

Related: Expect From the Indian Fintech Industry In 2020

In all, the imperative of having a well-oiled network for your business cannot be overstated. In some cases, it can be the difference between success and failure, but even when it’s not fatal, a poorly optimized network will have an impact on your business efficiency and profitability. Use the above tips to tweak your network and make sure your business is on the fast track.

Expect From the Indian Fintech Industry In 2020

The fintech industry in India has grown exponentially in the last few years. With new start-ups propping up in the space every day, and funds flowing in, it is not a surprise that technology, erstwhile unheard of, is emerging from within. From the government’s initiative to digitize the country to global corporations placing and expanding their bets on tech companies in India, the outlook looks bright for the fintech industry.

Fintech Industry

Here’s what some fintech start-up founders and company leaders have to say about the trends that they noticed in 2019 and what they expect from the upcoming year.

UPI and Credit Demand

The Indian government’s flagship payments platform – the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) – has seen wide adoption since being introduced to the public three years ago.

“UPI has completely transformed payments in the country – ease of use, interoperability and instant settlements,” said Mayank Kachhwaha, co-founder at IndiaLends.

Founded in 2015, IndiaLends is a credit underwriting and risk analytics platform that focuses on the underserved strata like the urban lower-middle class, self-employed individuals and those from non-tier I cities.

However, despite digitization and the massive success of a platform like the UPI, one thing still holds true for the credit landscape in India, according to Kachhwaha. “India needs a lot more credit, now more than ever.”

Neobanks

India’s fintech space has also recently seen the advent of neobanks – financial service providers who are completely digital and have no branches.

“The year witnessed the maturing of business models of neo-banks across a wide range of business operating areas,” said Vinay Bagri, co-founder at NiYO.

Bengaluru-based start-up NiYO works with banks and employers to offer salaried employees benefits such as healthcare or food allowances through its platform.

Bagri is confident that 2020 will bring cheer for the fintech industry and neobanks. “Traditional banks will continue to embrace technology and digital disruption like never before, and their partnership with neo-banks will grow stronger and deeper,” he said.

Read More:- Top 5 Reasons Why Open Offices Concept Are Better

Adoption By Institutions

One would continue to see the gap growing between financial institutions that adopt or develop artificial intelligence and machine learning related capabilities and those who don’t, according to Jonathan Bill, co-founder of CreditMate.

“Just as we will see (a gap emerging between) those that have truly embraced technology at the heart of their business or are only claiming to have done so,” said Bill.

CreditMate is a Mumbai-based debt collection start-up backed by fintech unicorn Paytm.

“With technology streamlining processes such as application management, underwriting, and eKYC, digital lenders can disburse the loans in as little as 24 hours post the initial application,” said Alok Mittal, chief executive officer at digital lending platform Indifi Technologies.

Mittal said he sees post-approval documentation and use of the Goods and Service Tax Network for extending better credit facilities to Indian businesses as two big opportunities for next year.

Digitization of SMEs

The government recently approved the introduction of e-invoicing for business to business transactions.

“It (the mandate) will mark the next phase of growth for software products that will pave the way for the digitization of Indian SMEs,” said Vinod Subramanian, chief executive officer at Logo Infosoft, which provides GST solutions to Indian organizations.

Subramanian added that 2020 will be exciting for software as service providers “as more and more Indian SMEs adopt and start using technology for their business processes.”

Voice-based Commerce

2019 has seen the growing accessibility to newer technologies such as smart speakers, which has helped people access information with simple voice commands, said Kumar Abhishek, co-founder at ToneTag.

ToneTag uses sound waves to enable offline, proximity-based contactless payments on any device.

Voice-based commerce will be a dominating trend in 2020,” Abhishek said.

The likes of Amazon and Google have been pushing agg

Top 5 Reasons Why Open Offices Concept Are Better

Do you know one idea that Google, Twitter, Whole Foods, YouTube, and Red Bull all have in common? It’s the fact that those companies have great open offices. Although the idea of open offices could be quite contradictory, we could say that the approach to an unorthodox open office styles does create a better work environment. With that in mind, the employees will have a higher work-life satisfactory, which will result in higher productivity on their end.

Open Offices

On that note, why should you build or make a company with an open office layout? And what about the controversial ideas behind an open office? Well, I have created a compilation of the benefits of having an open office. So, if you are interested in what open offices could offer you and your company as a whole.

5 Reasons Why Open Offices Concept Are Better

1. Interaction Between Employees

With the idea of an open office layout coming to mind, it is more or less impossible for you to not communicate with the other employees. This will help you improve productivity by having a chance to brainstorm with your co-workers for a certain project or tasks. In addition, an open office doesn’t constrict you to just stay in one location or your own cubicle. If you are comfortable working on the sofa, go right ahead. In a way, you have the chance to build up your network and connections while also increasing teamwork, which might brush up your collaboration skills for future use.

2. Approachability

Without any barrier between you and the person next to you, it would be easier for you to socialize with others. I’m not saying that you should do it the whole time (except those of you with that job requirement), but also that it makes you seem more approachable for others if they need help or just want to talk to you. It does increase and strengthen the bond and trust between you and others, which gives a higher assurance for better work quality and of course, increase productive efficiency on your respective parts. This will also allow you to work closely with your superiors and will somewhat train you to be less intimidated with your higher-ups. I would say that this point is a hidden gem for increasing your productivity.

Read More:- India’s Push to Achieve Better Data Governance

3. Games and Relax Areas

This might be the most important point out of all. Although you have an open office space, it is very crucial that you supply anything that could make your employees’ work lives better. Some companies added a snack bar, others have an open mike stage while most may adopt the idea of having games and sofas at your office. It is very important for you to be aware that your employee’s lives matter too. Without anything that they could diffuse their stress with, they might not be able to perform well as how you expect them to be. Therefore, with the installment of a gaming station or working on the sofa, it will increase the contentment of everyone’s work life and health.

4. Headphones

Other than having a place for you to relax for a while, I would say that having your own personal space is also needed in an open office setting. This is where the headphones come in. For instance, if you are in dire need of concentration but the office seemed too much of a distraction to you, it is quite essential for you to use your own headphones. It is true that using headphones is the same as escaping from the real world but it won’t be the case in this kind of setting. Of course, the music you play might disconnect you with what is going on all around you but it does help you get your work done. So, bosses, please don’t restrict your employees from using headphones.

5. Jump-in Openly

For any of you who are new to open offices, I might mention that this point may assist you. I would say that it is the idea where there are no physical barriers between you and the others. In a way, this helps you to learn about the company’s culture and vibe quicker and also lets you absorb or observe the work ethic all around you. It is one of the greatest gifts of an open office and also an easier chance for you to prove your capability to others. Not only that this will let you grasp the whole idea of the company quicker, but it also gives you a shortcut to increase your productivity.

What Are Some Other Reasons Why Open Offices Are Better?

Hi everyone! As you could see, these are what I’ve seen as the benefits of an open office layout. For those of you who are considering to create an open office, this might help you with deciding what kind of space you are looking for or what additional areas you can include in your office.  Again it is highly important for you and your employees to have a balanced work-life, therefore please do take these points into consideration. For those of you who are currently working in an open office setting, what kind of relaxing areas or stations does your company supply you with? Please don’t hesitate to tell us below and share your opinion about open offices.

India’s Push to Achieve Better Data Governance

Since the launch of the Digital India Program, the country has witnessed tremendous growth in digital infrastructure and initiatives in innovating e-governance policies that can lead to digital empowerment of citizens. Affordable access to the internet and an encouraging regulatory system has made India the country with the second-largest internet users in the world and has powered its digital economy.

Governance

The rapid technological advances have led to large volumes of data being generated by various activities, thus, increasing the dependence of business on data-decision making. However, this fuels the question of personal data protection, a key issue facing the policymakers. India is proposing a ‘fourth way’ to regulate personal data distinct from the approaches of China, European Union, the United States through India’s draft Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill that is due to be passed by end of the year.

The Data Governance framework constitutes of three major players – Data Fiduciaries (DF) those who control the means of processing personal data, Data Processors (DP) who process data on behalf of DFs and Data Principal those whose personal data is processed. DFs and DPs share a fiduciary relationship and it is their duty to protect the rights of Data Principal. The PDP Bill contains a number of other checks and balances that ensures the interests of the Data Principal such as the processing of data in a fair and reasonable manner.

The Bill also provides the appointment of a Data Protection Authority (DPA) that consists of a chairperson and six members, with knowledge of at least 10 years in the field of data protection and information technology. The DPA is empowered to draft specific regulations for all data fiduciaries across different sectors, supervise and monitor data fiduciaries, assess compliance with the Bill and initiate enforcement actions, and receive, handle and redress complaints from data principals.

Read More:- Financial Planning Decisions Every Woman Must Make

A brief summary of the draft bill: 

  • A single law that governs both private and public entities,
  • Sensitive personal data includes financial data, passwords such as bank account or credit card or debit card or other payment instrument details, physical, physiological and mental health conditions, sexual orientation, medical records and history and biometric information,
  • Mandatory storage of a copy; critical personal data is stored only in the country,
  • Cross border data is permitted if it is approved by the regulator or the government,
  • Data breached must be reported to the regulator and regulator will decide if the individual will be notified based on the severity,
  • Imprisonment up to five years for certain kind of offences.

Most technology giants thrive on data generated by their users and as the Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani said ‘Data is the new oil’; we will need to watch and see how the bill creates the legal regime of how data is used, shared and stored in India.

Financial Planning Decisions Every Woman Must Make

Today, the progress women have shown in various spheres of life has been nothing short of phenomenal. From heading top MNCs globally to representing the country in Olympics, women are leaving no stone unturned to make their mark in the world. However, when it comes to managing finances, women continue to remain largely dependent on their spouse or father. They need to break away from this age-old practice and start taking control of their finances.

Financial Planning

Sharing with you some of the decisions that women must take in order to be more financially independent:

Be financially confident

One of the reasons why we continue to be dependent on others for managing finances is because of our unwillingness to familiarize ourselves with financial terms and decision-making process. What we do not realize is, financial independence is not just about saving or earning money, it also empowers us to utilize it wisely.

Start reading about financial planning and then have an open conversation with your parent, partner, or even a financial advisor about how you wish to kick-start your investment and savings journey. I would recommend you to make smaller investment first and gradually increase it once you become more comfortable with managing it on your own. Slowly take charge of your money.

Maintain emergency fund

An emergency fund assists in tackling financial emergencies such as sudden job loss, accident or severe illness, wherein your regular income inflow stops temporarily. You may choose to maintain a separate emergency fund, or consider having one with your spouse. In case of latter, ensure both of you contribute to this fund every month. Ideally, your emergency corpus should be at least 3-6 times your monthly expenses.

You can consider parking your emergency fund in high yielding savings accounts offering interest rates up to 7.25%, since these provide highest form of liquidity along with minimal risk.

Invest instead of merely saving

Understand the difference between saving and investing, and how important the latter is to achieve various financial goals. Instead of merely keeping your hard earned money idle in your bank account, consider investing this in various investment instruments. Avoid restricting your investment to safer investment options and instead, go ahead and explore other investment avenues such as mutual funds.

Read More:- Indian Insurance Industry: Mega Trends to Watch Out For

Prioritize financial goals

Identify and prioritize specific financial goals, in order to make investments according to your investment horizon and risk appetite. Make sure each of your investment has a specific financial goal.

Women are usually inclined towards safer investment options such as Fixed Deposits, PPFs or NSCs etc. On the contrary, I would recommend you to consider investing in equity-linked mutual funds as well. ELSS not only helps save tax, they outscore other investment options when it comes to returns, lock-in period and taxability of gains. Also, consider making separate investment for each goal. Debt fund is good option for short term goals (less than 3yrs). Opt for balanced fund for goals that are 3-5years away and invest in equities only for long-term goals that are at least 5years away.

Save enough for your retirement

Do not deprioritize retirement just because you have a support system as this may prove to be grave financial mistake later on. Start planning for your retirement as soon as you have a steady job as this would give you more time to grow your money through the power of compounding. Remember that delaying retirement investment for later time may cost you more.

Purchase adequate term and health insurance

A vital step towards protecting your family from the uncertainty of future is to purchase adequate term as well health insurance. Term insurance protects your family financially in case of your untimely demise, by providing an assured sum to them, at lower cost. Opt for term insurance amounting to at least 10-15 times your current annual income.

Given the rising cost of healthcare in India, relying on your savings or employer’s health policy would be a big mistake. Hence, it is important for you to have a health insurance policy in place. You can either choose one that is specially designed for women or buy a regular health cover with maternal and child care benefits. Choose for a family floater plan if you have dependent family members.

Indian Insurance Industry: Mega Trends to Watch Out For

Indian Insurance There is no path more hazardous than the one taken in attempting to predict what the future entails. Given that the world we live in is in continuous flux and every industry faces uncertainties, this is more true today than ever before. Who would have thought even a year ago about de-globalization in a world that was being rapidly globalized over the past few decades?

Indian Insurance

The world may still be flat, but it is not immune to the socio-political and technology changes which will either raise new walls or pull down the existing ones. The implications of these changes on jobs, productivity and economies in general are unknown today. Despite the challenges of predicting the future, I take solace in the fact that over the ages, human ingenuity has made life better for society-at-large.

A business like insurance will not be immune from some of the mega-trends that stare at us today. I consciously use the word mega-trends for events that I believe are going to be irreversible in the coming years. The primary one among these is ‘digital’ which will manifest itself in multiple ways for customers, distributors and the back-office operations of insurers.

Insurers can tap in to open ecosystems

Always-on, mobile devices allow for context-aware, personalized interaction models where insurers can reach out to consumers like never before. Insurers can get deep insights into customer behavior, based on internal and external data sets. Machine learning technologies will allow for intelligent, predictive and learning capabilities to offer virtual advice and automate decision-making processes such as underwriting.

Biometric identification can help prevent fraud and secure customers’ personal data without compromising customer experience. Insurers can tap in to open ecosystems of developers to create value-adding solutions like never before. In a world of hyper-connectivity, insurers can build digital ecosystems for different product categories.

Product-centric and channel marketing-driven

The traditional insurance model was largely product-centric and channel marketing-driven. The new age model will turn this on its head with the customer at the center and a suite of digital technologies, services and ecosystems to tap the customer. If incumbents are unable or unwilling to change their business models, they will cede space to new participants. Nothing prevents search engines or e-commerce platforms with hordes of customer information from disrupting the insurance sector. An equivalent of the ‘Banks vs. Wallets’ battle, while unimaginable today, could emerge in the insurance sector too.

One often-asked question is whether digital will make the existing distribution channels redundant? I, for one, believe in the contrary. Technology is rapidly equipping distributors to become more productive, and thereby to improve their returns on effort. An agent equipped with greater knowledge of the customer and supported by a digital virtual assistant is likely to be more successful. There is still some time for robo-advisory and other such platforms to scale up, both in terms of reach and domain knowledge, for them to make a difference to consumers in the next few years.

The digital push post-demonetization is leading to a migration of more customers into the formal banking system. Bancassurance, with greater insight into the consumer purchase pattern and real time connectivity, can help nudge the customer to purchase a variety of insurance solutions. Micro-segmentation and a targeted approach, backed by analytics, will help improve conversion ratios and reduce customer dissonance. Open architecture ecosystems in bancassurance will push insurers to improve customer value propositions and service standards. A greater presence of banks in the hinterland will help increase the penetration of insurance across the length & breadth of the country at lower fixed costs.

Read More- Here is how the new Income Tax rules affect you?

An additional opportunity will be to leverage the ‘India Stack’ architecture which enables insurers to on-board customers in a paperless fashion. Insurance today is largely seen to be lagging behind other consumer-driven sectors in ‘ease of purchase’ parameters; re-engineering of the policy issuance value chain will create a huge dif­ference in customer experience.

In several other industries, regulations have lagged behind technological innovation, causing friction between corporations and regulators. The insurance industry and the regulator need to learn from other indus­tries to minimize such friction.

Insurance sector is in a unique position

Another mega-trend is ‘ageing’ which is slowly but surely driving up the dependency ratio. In simple terms, the population of the elderly will increase not just in absolute terms over the next two to three decades but also as a percentage of the overall pop­ulation. In a society that still has substan­tial savings in physical assets or in short du­ration, open-ended financial assets, the opportunity for ‘value migration’ both from physical and short duration financial assets is tremendous.

With greater inter-state mi­gration within the country for job opportu­nities, emergence of nuclear families and limited social security instruments, the ‘pro­tection gap’ in India is amongst the highest in the world. The insurance sector is in a unique position to offer disciplined savings vehicles for the long-term and protection against either the risk of dying early, or liv­ing longer through a suite of product offer­ings. Historically, built on the edifice of a tax saving platform, the sector needs to be­come an integral part of any financial plan­ning exercise.

Indian Insurance 0

There are a few other areas that insurance sector management teams would need to stay sharply focused on. Attracting and re­taining talent is one of these. Insurers who offer superior employee value propositions will enjoy greater loyalty in an era where the workforce is younger; geographically mobile; technologically skilled; demands more flexibility such as work-from-home; strives for work-life balance; expects greater learning opportunities; and is more aware of what competitors, both within and out­side the sector, have to offer them as a val­ue proposition. The human resource prac­tices of insurers would need to be grounded in this new reality.

Very soon, most insurers will also deal with a more diverse set of shareholders, either due to a listing process or an accelerating wave of mergers and acquisitions that the industry is witnessing. Greater public scruti­ny and demanding shareholders pushing for sustainable and profitable business models will help create greater transparen­cy for the sector & push insurers towards higher efficiencies and superior customer service standards.

Over the next couple of years, GST will be another discontinuity that the country will face. Applicability of different tax slabs can significantly change the affordability and thereby influence the growth of different product categories.

The challenges posed by the above changes are not insurmountable; the opportunities to grow and become more efficient are humongous. However, the sector can ill-afford uncertainties like the ones it faced in the earlier part of this decade. It is only with great effort that a renewed model of sus­tainable growth has re-emerged for the sec­tor; for the fruits of this model to be reaped, all stakeholders need to work to­gether in tandem.

Here is how the new Income Tax rules affect you?

With the new economic year, new changes in income tax are going to have a definitive impact on individual portfolios. This time around, it is important for all professionals to gear up and plan investments accordingly so that they can have maximum benefits once the changes implemented in taxation. First and foremost individuals need to get accustomed to the new rules and regulations, implemented from April 1, 2018.

Income Tax

In the personal income tax bracket, there is no change in the tax ceiling but in case of corporates, where profit doesn’t exceed Rs 250 crore, the new tax rate is 25%. There is a surcharge of 10% of income tax in case net income is between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore whereas it is 15% in case net income exceeds Rs 1 crore, subject to marginal relief. The education cess of 4% is applicable instead of 3% and definitely, this is going to increase the burden on middle-class taxpayers.

The senior citizens (age of 60 and above) now face an additional deduction of Rs 40,000 on interest from bank deposits. No TDS will be counted till the amount remains within Rs 50,000. Meanwhile, they are also going to get a higher exemption for medical insurance and medical related expenses of Rs 50,000 which was Rs 30,000 earlier.

See More- 10 Types of Financial Services Offered in India’s

In case of treatment of specified diseases, the deduction limit in case of medical expenditure has been increased to Rs 1 lakh under section 80DB. For women who have just started working, they can definitely ask her employer to reduce the contribution to EPF (Employee Provident Fund) to 8% during the first 3 years of employment which is otherwise 12% of basic. No doubt, this will be a win-win situation in net profit.

Investors with a long-term capital gain via indirect equity mutual funds are now scheduled to pay 10% plus surcharge as LTCG. Anyhow, this is subject to a relaxation of Rs 1 lakh per year per person and the value to calculate purchase price will be 31 January 2018 (the Budget announcement date). Interestingly, from now on, non-employee subscribers also have the benefit of tax-free withdrawal from NPS (National Pension System) from April 1.

This exemption is currently not available to non-employee subscribers. On Single premium health insurance policies, the deduction is to be allowed on a proportionate basis for which the number of years for which health insurance is covered or provided.

One must not forget that 10% tax will be levied on dividend income from equity mutual funds. This 10% tax is referred to as Dividend Distribution Tax. In case anyone fails to file Income Tax, he will need to pay Rs 500 as penalty per day instead of Rs 100. The penalty of non-adhering to the notice has increased to whopping Rs 1000.

10 Types of Financial Services Offered in India’s

India’s diverse and comprehensive financial services industry is growing rapidly, owing to demand drivers (higher disposable incomes, customized financial solutions, etc.) and supply drivers (new service providers in existing markets, new financial solutions and products, etc.). The Indian financial services industry comprises several key subsegments.

India’s

 

These include, but are not limited to- mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, stock-brokers, wealth managers, financial advisory companies, and commercial banks- ranging from small domestic players to large multinational companies. The services are provided to a diverse client base- including individuals, private businesses and public organizations.

10 Types of Financial Services:

  1. Banking
  2. Professional Advisory
  3. Wealth Management
  4. Mutual Funds
  5. Insurance
  6. Stock Market
  7. Treasury/Debt Instruments
  8. Tax/Audit Consulting
  9. Capital Restructuring
  10. Portfolio Management

These financial services are explained below:

1. Banking

The banking industry is the backbone of India’s financial services industry. The country has several public sector (27), private sector (21), foreign (49), regional rural (56) and urban/rural cooperative (95,000+) banks. The financial services offered in this segment include:

  • Individual Banking (checking accounts, savings accounts, debit/credit cards, etc.)
  • Business Banking (merchant services, checking accounts and savings accounts for businesses, treasury services, etc.)
  • Loans (business loans, personal loans, home loans, automobile loans, working-capital loans, etc.)

The banking sector is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which monitors and maintains the segment’s liquidity, capitalization, and financial health.

2. Professional Advisory

India has a strong presence of professional financial advisory service providers, which offer individuals and businesses a wide portfolio of services, including investment due diligence, M&A advisory, valuation, real-estate consulting, risk consulting, taxation consulting. These offerings are made by a range of providers, including individual domestic consultants to large multi-national organizations.

Read More- 15 Marketing Strategies That Inspire Strategic Thinkers

3. Wealth Management 

Financial services offered within this segment include managing and investing customers’ wealth across various financial instruments- including debt, equity, mutual funds, insurance products, derivatives, structured products, commodities, and real estate, based on the clients’ financial goals, risk profile and time horizons.

4. Mutual Funds

Mutual fund service providers offer professional investment services across funds that are composed of different asset classes, primarily debt and equity-linked assets. The buy-in for mutual fund solutions is generally lower compared to the stock market and debt products.

These products are very popular in India as they generally have lower risks, tax benefits, stable returns and properties of diversification. The mutual funds segment has witnessed double-digit growth in assets under management over the last five years, owing to its popularity as a low-risk wealth multiplier.

5. Insurance 

Financial services offerings in this segment are primarily offered across two categories:

  • General Insurance (automotive, home, medical, fire, travel, etc.)
  • Life Insurance (term-life, money-back, unit-linked, pension plans, etc.)

Insurance solutions enable individuals and organizations to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances and accidents. Payouts for these products vary across the nature of the product, time horizons, customer risk assessment, premiums, and several other key qualitative and quantitative aspects.

In India, there is a strong presence of insurance providers across life insurance (24) and general insurance (39) categories. The insurance market is regulated by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).

6. Stock Market

The stock market segment includes investment solutions for customers in Indian stock markets (National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange), across various equity-linked products. The returns for customers are based on capital appreciation – growth in the value of the equity solution and/or dividends – and payouts made by companies to its investors.

7. Treasury/Debt Instruments 

Services offered in this segment include investments into government and private organization bonds (debt). The issuer of the bonds (borrower) offers fixed payments (interest) and principal repayment to the investor at the end of the investment period. The types of instruments in this segment include listed bonds, non-convertible debentures, capital-gain bonds, GoI savings bonds, tax-free bonds, etc.

8. Tax/Audit Consulting

This segment includes a large portfolio of financial services within the tax and auditing domain. This services domain can be segmented based on individual and business clients. They include:

  • Tax – Individual (determining tax liability, filing tax-returns, tax-savings advisory, etc.)
  • Tax – Business (determining tax liability, transfer pricing analysis and structuring, GST registrations, tax compliance advisory, etc.)

In the auditing segment, service providers offer solutions including statutory audits, internal audits, service tax audits, tax audits, process/transaction audits, risk audits, stock audits, etc. These services are essential to ensure the smooth operation of business entities from a qualitative and quantitative perspective, as well as to mitigate risk. You can read more about taxation in India.

9. Capital Restructuring

These services are offered primarily to organizations and involve the restructuring of capital structure (debt and equity) to bolster profitability or respond to crises such as bankruptcy, volatile markets, liquidity crunch or hostile takeovers. The types of financial solutions in this segment typically include structured transactions, lender negotiations, accelerated M&A and capital raising.

10. Portfolio Management

This segment includes a highly specialized and customized range of solutions that enables clients to reach their financial goals through portfolio managers who analyze and optimize investments for clients across a wide range of assets (debt, equity, insurance, real estate, etc.). These services are broadly targeted at HNIs and are discretionary (investment only at the discretion of fund manager with no client intervention) and non-discretionary (decisions made with client intervention).

How to Use Surveys to Land More Business Leads

Surveys Listening to what your customers have to say and providing what they want is fundamental to the success of your business. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of deciding that they know better than their customers. How, though, can a modern business stay in touch with customers? With their opinions, concerns, and demands?

That’s where surveys come in.

Today’s technology makes it easy for businesses to design, create and distribute customer surveys.

This post will cover three ways that surveys can be used to help you drum up more leads for your business at different stages of the customer journey.

We will cover:

  • Engaging an audience.
  • Qualifying leads.
  • Securing repeat business.

Let’s go over some of the different ways you can use surveys to help you land more leads for your business.

How to use surveys to engage your audience

There are a variety of ways that you can use a survey to engage your audience. Buzzfeed is probably the best example of a company that has popularized the use of surveys. Their site is full of fun and entertaining quiz-style surveys that have broad appeal.

Surveys

Quizzes work brilliantly for social media marketing. They attract the attention of social network users and bring them to Buzzfeed’s site. They then keep those users there and get them engaged with the brand.

The data generated through these kinds of quizzes could be useful for any firm that wants to use them, though I doubt this is the case with the kind of quizzes that Buzzfeed run.

A quiz, or in our case a survey, can also be used for market research. For example, you could run a survey to your email list or website visitors to:

  • Identify what topics customers want to see covered on the brand’s blog.
  • Gather opinion on a broader aspect of the firm’s industry or niche.

With cold leads, you want to keep your survey short because people are unlikely to want to answer a lot of questions. You can run a longer survey with warm leads or people who are engaged with your business.

Regardless of how many questions you set, make sure to check the completion rate and optimize the survey if appropriate.

Learn More- Economic Survey has estimated 2019-20

How to use a survey to qualify a lead

Surveys can play an important role in qualifying leads and subsequently generating a sale. At Accelerate Agency, the firm I co-founded with my partner, we use surveys to help us secure clients. We send a survey to every company who sends us an inquiry.

Based on our experience we learned the importance of keeping the survey short and focused. The surveys that we run have just 15 questions. We ask a mix of qualifying questions, but also questions that provide insight into their needs and how they measure them. Below are some examples of the kind of questions that we ask companies that want to work with us:

  • Have you worked with an SEO agency before?
  • Do you have an existing relationship with an SEO agency?
  • What is your monthly budget for SEO and digital marketing services?
  • What KPIs do you use to measure the success of your digital marketing?

The information that we gain from these surveys is invaluable when preparing for a sales meeting. It ensures that the pitch we provide aligns with the needs of the customer. It also means that we know we’re a good fit for the customer.

We send surveys to every prospective client who contacts us. We also have a survey embedded in the website to qualify online inquiries. These surveys are useful for qualifying leads.

It’s also possible to use a survey to segment qualified leads onto your email list. This requires setting questions that bucket people into different groups based on their answers. This approach is useful for warming leads because you can send people targeted messages based on their pain points.

Use a survey to assess customer satisfaction and secure repeat business

For businesses of all shapes and sizes, the post-purchase process is both an opportunity to increase profits and improve customer service. Exit surveys are a common way to assess customer satisfaction.

Sent after purchase, they let you ask customers to feedback on their experience with you. These surveys provide an opportunity for you to gain valuable input on your service.

You can use an exit survey to gain insights on the areas of your business that you could improve upon. This can range from the on-site experience of an e-commerce store for example, through to the quality of the product or service that you provided.

Information like this is invaluable when conducting a review of your business, or as a means of benchmarking your service against competitors. If the aim of the exit survey is solely to generate customer insights then your exit survey should be delivered after the customer has received the product or service that they purchased. If you send your exit survey too soon then you will miss out on valuable insights regarding the product or service.

Using an exit survey in this way creates a good overall impression of your brand. In turn, that might make them more likely to give you repeat business so long as you maintain the relationship with them.

On the other hand, you can also use an exit survey to upsell customers. If you decide to use an exit survey to sell to a customer then you should send the survey within a maximum of two weeks of purchase. This is the sweet spot where your customer is most likely to continue to be in the buying mood.

Post-purchase Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) surveys can also help you in other ways. You can use an exit survey to ask for recommendations from your customer. This is often combined with an offer of in-store credit for recommendations or a discount for the person who is being referred and the individual making the referral.

It is worth keeping in mind that you can and should incorporate the survey feedback you receive to tweak your marketing and promotional material. That may mean adapting sales copy to incorporate the terms and language as your customers in your sales copy. Or it might mean changing the focus of the service slightly so it aligns better with the pain points of your customers.

Conclusion

Surveys are a useful marketing tool that can help you engage customers and turn warm leads into customers. In this guide I’ve revealed different strategies for utilizing surveys that you can apply to engage customers at all levels of the customer journey.

These strategies are certainly effective as we’ve implemented strategies like these for clients at our company to help them increase engagement on their site. In addition to this, we apply these strategies at Accelerate Agency to generate more leads for our own business.

Hopefully, your head is now full of ideas of different ways you can apply these tactics to your business, whatever it happens to be. If you have any questions about anything covered in this post please let me know in the comments below.