"A startup should be very dynamic in order to succeed. Yesterday’s assumptions often get thrown out the window, when today’s data arrive."

Today we chat with Alon Rajic founder of Finofin and Business Loan Companies. Learn the top three mistakes he made working on his companies, and his process to bringing new ideas to life.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Finofin LTD all about?

Finofin LTD was established to provide consumers and small businesses with solid comparison of financial products, and services. Similarly to what MoneySupermarket or MoneySavingExpert does, but with a different angle – instead of mega-sites comparing “everything finance”  – creating websites dedicated on particular topics, geared at a different audience.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?

Prior to starting Finofin LTD, I was the head of SEO for Webpals, a subsidiary of XLMedia PLC. During my 7 years of working there, from startup-level to a medium-sized publicly traded corporate, I became confident with my ability to create engaging websites that attract quality audience. It felt natural to me to start up my own company as soon as I stopped working there.

Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?

Business Loan Companies is the company’s most recent venture, and I’m feeling absolutely ecstatic about it. It covers an innovative area within the Fintech industry – small business funding. I truly do believe the online business lending vertical will grow significantly over the course of the next few years, since it’s a solution to an existential problem for SME’s; Small businesses are often rejected by banks, and have difficulties handling the huge overheads and long wait – while online lenders process applications promptly, and issue financing in matter of days.

Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?

BusinessLoanCompanies.com is under beta testing at the moment. There are only 19 companies reviewed and featured there, and before we rush to grow the site, we’re looking for our readers’ feedback. When we are through with beta testing, the site will expand to over 100 company reviews, from all ranges of financing – CrowdFunding, Angel Funding, Secured Loans and eventually even a comparison of bank loans.

Q: How do you bring ideas to life?

I like to bring ideas to life by formulating them into action points. I like to break an idea into items and try to carefully assess the effort required for each item, and how significant it is to have it. Based on that matrix, I create a list of action points, sorted by “profitability” (least effort via highest level of significance), and realize where my focal points should be.

Q: What’s one trend that really excites you?

The trend that really excites me is the Fintech boom. With more and more online financial services available for a growing number of countries,  the days when people used banks for each and every financial service are numbered.

In correlation with that, there’s a growing need for financial content websites covering these services and comparing between them.

Q: What were the top 3 mistakes you made starting your business and what did you learn from it?

  • Underestimating the effort required to go through all the formalities of establishing an LTD company – What I learned: To clear enough time in my schedule next time I will set up a company.
  • Underestimating client feedback – What I learned: Instead of paying self-proclaimed “experts”, listen to your audience.
  • Overrating sophisticated writing (versus plain, and even dull, writing) – What I learned: Content production is eventually about content you supply, in this specific vertical. People are after the raw data, above all.. The wording makes an impact, of course, but not as much as many would like to think.

Q: How do you go about marketing your business, and what has been the most successful form of marketing

I always support the content-oriented approach. So Finofin sticks to content marketing, and PR, while creating SEO-optimized, content-rich, websites. We do mix in other channels like Facebook advertising or media buying occasionally, for the purpose of branding, rather than “ROI Driven Performance Marketing”

Q: What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur – and why?

  • Flexibility – A startup should be very dynamic in order to succeed. Yesterday’s assumptions often get thrown out the window, when today’s data arrive. A startup lead by someone who has difficulties adjusting quickly, will experience grief every time substantial changes should be made.
  • Experience – Even though there are rare exceptions, you can generally say that those who start their own companies without the appropriate experience, have much slighter chances of succeeding. There are more issues that the inexperienced entrepreneur encounters for the first time, and thus more time is spent solving each problem.
  • Friendliness – Without that quality, employees will be less motivated to work for you, you will get fewer business connections, and eventually have no one to support you (from the business perspective) when you need him.

Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?

  • Google Drive – Worldwide access to my documents when I need them, and much easier to work with employees and freelancers abroad.
  • Similar Web –  Learn your competitors’ traffic and its sources in an instant. Very precise tool.
  • Fiverr – The best resource for quick fixes. Need a banner for today? A short video for youtube? maybe a small tech fix-up? Get them in Fiverr, for cheap.

Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?

Engineering Culture: Control and Commitment in a High-Tech Corporation (2006): This book gives a different perspective (quite a negative outlook) on the organizational culture in some of the top tech companies in the USA. It can allow entrepreneurs to build healthier culture in their newly founded businesses.

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Senge 1990): This book enables entrepreneurs to understand the power distilled within group problem solving, as opposed to centralized management.

The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Its Critics (Malkiel 2003): This book establishes the efficient market hypothesis, and allows entrepreneurs to get a good grasp of the elements that drive markets up and down, beyond the scope of economy and finance.

Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?

“The absolute fundamental aim is to make money out of satisfying customers.”-Sir John Egan

Q: How can our community get in touch with you?

Best way would be via Linkedin

Twitter: @FinofinMedia