Mumbai-based Prasad Shetty was diagnosed with a genetic disorder, which restricted his physical capabilities since childhood.
Patients suffering from such genetic disorders lose control over their limbs and find it difficult to use their hands and legs. In fact, Prasad says that he had to seek help from others to write his exams. “It was difficult for me as I had to depend on a writer. College was even more challenging. It was only with the continuing support of my family and friends, I could overcome my mobility issues,” he recollects.
However, he did not let his disorder take control of his life. Prasad was determined that he would win over it and carve a niche for himself. He constantly pushed himself to learn new things.
Prasad completed his CFP soon after his graduation. He has also passed certification courses offered by NISM and NCFM.
Prasad saw an opportunity in floating a firm, which can offer financial planning and tax planning services. He joined an advisory firm to gain practical knowledge and understand the nuances of financial planning. Unfortunately, his physical limitations forced him to quit in just seven months.
However, Prasad did not give up. “My parents have always been my motivators. I wanted to make them proud, which is why I did not let anything stop me,” he says. He decided to start on his own.
Prasad approached his friend Gaurav Karnik. His friend liked the idea of floating an advisory firm to offer comprehensive services such as financial planning, distribution, estate planning and tax planning. In 2011, Prasad and Gaurav floated their advisory firm called S9 Financial Planners.
While Prasad meets prospects and clients at office, Gaurav goes out on meetings to acquire new clients. Currently, the duo have 450 clients.
How do they acquire clients?
The initial set of clients were friends and family members. To grow their business, they decided to conduct IAPs and leverage social media to increase their client base. While Gaurav conducts IAPs across big cities, Prasad deals with social media affairs.
Talking about conducting IAPs, the duo said that they approach corporates, associations and colleges to hold IAPs. “We reach out to them through our contacts and references. Most of them agree to our proposals. However, we ensure them that we will make it an educational session focussing on the significance of financial planning and not on selling any product.”
On IAP content, the duo said that they do homework on target audience to make their presentation engaging. “If we want to conduct an IAP for a doctors association, we would highlight the unique challenges for doctors and how we can help address their issues.”
At the end of each program, they give an action plan to their audience, which outlines what they should do to achieve their financial goals. This helps them increase their conversion rate.
The duo conduct four IAPs every month.
Another activity they undertake to acquire new clients is using social media. They post articles and blogs related to personal finance such as how to buy a home without taking home loan or importance of having a will.
They have set up an online financial helpdesk to address queries related to financial investments. They respond to people on social media platforms such as Facebook and Quora.
Also, they run a financial blog on their website called ‘Money Anna’. Money Anna is a cartoon character who describes financial jargon in a simple way.
Going forward, the duo plan to conduct IAPs for the differently-abled people to make them aware of investment. In fact, they are in talks with a few NGOs.
Currently, the duo manage AUM of Rs.26 crore with 35% of assets invested in equity.