Are you struggling to find a house on rent in some particular area? Search for any of the urls housing, 99acres, indiaproperty or commonfloor etc. and you will get a nicely managed list of nearby available houses on rent. Do you want to find some grocery shop nearby? Go to justdial and it would give you the details of all the nearby grocery shops. Are you not feeling good today and need a doctor but having no clue of the available doctors in the city. Go to Practo, and get the list of all the doctors at few clicks.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so” – Mahatma Gandhi
Popularity of these directory portals is getting enhanced day by day. The reason of high acceptance of these portals is because it provides access to all the required information at one place. Entrepreneurs are trying to make these portals more attractive by making these as a communication platform among all the stake holders along with the related services as well.
Future scope of such directory portals is quite high in terms of the verticals that are untouched, improvement in existing portals (Read here about improvement of Housing), consolidation of database and the incorporation of all relevant services in these portals. So, FS believes that entrepreneurs who are looking for great startup ideas shall also focus on this area.
“What I tell founders is not to sweat the business model too much at first. The most important task at first is to build something people want. If you don’t do that, it won’t matter how clever your business model I”. – Paul Graham
First cut Planning of Directory Portals – If you are planning to be the next Housing or Justdial, here is FS Analysis on first cut planning of such portals-
[A] Decide the Directory – An Area that has Large Market Base
The basic need for any of the startup models is an idea that has large acceptance in the market and high probability of success. So, first of all you need to decide the content of your directory portal. Few guidelines for such idea selection are as follow-
- Analyze the number of people for whom your portal would be beneficial
- Analyze the frequency of content to be used by consumer
- Analyze the expansion possibilities of the content
- Analyze the new verticals that could be incorporated with progress in time
So, based on the above facts you can easily decide an acceptable concept for your startup model.
Case Study – Suppose you are planning to start a portal that provides the details of all the sports events happening in your city. So the analysis of above idea is as follow-
- The number of sports lover could be found easily by grabbing the data of sports stadiums available in the city.
- If the portal is updated on daily basis, the possibility of visitors returning to check the portals is high.
- The portal could easily be extended by incorporating the other locations as well.
- The new verticals that could be incorporated in the portal are online booking, sports product shopping etc.
[B] Analyze the Other Portals – To get the idea of Basic Model
The targeted consumer is already addicted to the existing portals. If might be the case that your concept is completely new, but still there are directory portals. So, it necessary to analyze for the pros and cons of the existing portals so that all the attracting features could easily be incorporated in the setup and the limitations could be removed by the new portal.
Case Study – Let’s assume there are 2-3 players that provide the same information.
- Get the positives of those portals that are attracting people to use them. So these must be incorporated in your directory portal.
- Get the limitation of these portals and think of the possible solution to remove them. This would become the reason for consumer to switch to your portal.
[C] Design User Interface – Interesting, Informative and Interactive
The biggest challenge for such directory portals is to make them attractive to consumers. The reason for Housing success among directory portals was its map based user interface that was adopted by all other players subsequently. So, think of a portal that would be innovative enough to attract consumers and consumers would feel recommending it to others.
Case Study – For example of sports event portal, following are few ways to make it innovative –
- Map based listing of daily sports events at different locations
- Sports wise listing of events for some span of time like weekly, monthly
- Calendar based listing of events
[D] Analyze the Market Competition – To Survive in Long Run
To analyze the market competition is essential at initial phase itself because it gives the idea of your success probability. Small players capture the limited market by their operational excellence while the big players have everything to capture the market. So it is essential to analyze the level of competition that you are going to face in future. If the competition level is analyzed at initial phase itself, it would help you to decide the relevant and effective strategies for your business model.
Case Study – The market competition of sports event portal could be categorized in following way –
- Small Players – The small portal providing the same information.
- Moderate Players – Startups with funds and trying to infiltrate the market.
- Big Players – Other events portals.
[E] Get the Vision – To Work as per Need
To have the long term vision of startup helps in developing your business model in that direction only. If you are targeting to become expert in all such event information, booking and other services portals, the target should be towards achieving operational excellence in one vertical and then expanding your business model in other vertical as well. If you are targeting to sell your startup to some big player, the focus should be to become famous for your verticals and its extensions so that big players would notice to acquire your startup.
Case Study – The vision of sports event portal could be following –
- To become leader in all the events portals
- To become expert in sports events portal and sell it some of the big players
[F] Get the Required Manpower – To get the things done
To have a perfect team is necessary for the success of your startup. One way to get the desired team is by selecting the people based on skill sets. Other way when you already have team members is by dividing the scope of work among team members as per their skill sets.
Case Study – You need following team members/ skill sets to get the things done –
- Technical Skills – to design the website/app
- Managerial Skills – to get the stadium on board and managing & updating the database
- Marketing Skills – to let the people know about the new portal
[G] Incorporate the Relevant Services – To enhance the scope of portal
Just a directory portal might attract people for some time, but to keep them engaged there should be a reason that people should not move to other portal for further action. So FS advises entrepreneurs to check all the possible related services that could be incorporated in your portal so that consumer should not move to other app or website for other details or service
Case Study – From making it just information portal for sports event, it could be extended by introducing the booking facility in it.
[H] Revenue Model – To Generate Profit in Long Run
To generate the profit is the ultimate aim of any business model. The revenue model shall be clear to keep running your business in long run. Initial cash burnt tactics for market capturing is good but in long run you need to develop a business model that is profitable. So FS advises entrepreneurs to think of all the possible ways of generating money that would cover all the fixed and running cost.
Case Study – For our example of sports event portals the possible revenue models could be –
- Registration Charges for event details on portal
- Booking Commission
- Advertisement on Website etc.
[I] Scalability Model – To Grow in Future
Business model become successful if it has no limitations. A business model limited to some location or vertical etc has least probability of survival. So check the scalability of your business model at the starting point itself.
Case Study – Sports event portal could be extended by incorporating following verticals –
- Started with a particular city/location, it could be extended to all the cities.
- Supporting services like sports items could also be sold on the same portal.
- The portal could be extended for other events as well.
FS Outlook – FS advice to entrepreneurs who are working in domain of directory portals is that make your portal interactive and innovative beyond the imagination of people. Once people get habitual to your portal, they would definitely pay you for the related services.
Wish you luck for your startup. Stay tuned with FS Labs for more updates.