Vijay Garg is one of the old hands at Dainik Bhaskar Corp and a finance veteran. He has been the CFO for DB Corp’s FM station MY FM for 12 long years and currently is the Business Head of DB Corp’s real estate business Homeonline.com which helps home buyers and seekers get their dream house.
In this interaction, he spoke about the need gap which is fulfilled by homeonline, the growth prospect in tier 2 and 3 cities, growth percentage and a lot more.
1. With so many Real Estate portals where did you find the need gap that could be filled by the DB Corp?
Most of the Real estate portals are focusing only on the metro cities and we could see a clear opportunity in the Tier 2 & 3 cities, where the Real estate market was growing more than the metros.
We did a detailed research in these markets and could see a potential untapped market. The results are already visible in Bhopal, Indore and Raipur, where we have attained a clear leadership position. We have the maximum content, wide visibility, supreme response and hence command maximum price.
2. Being a veteran finance professional in the Radio space for so many years, how has Homeonline.com been for you? How has the journey been?
My Journey with MY FM as CFO for the last 12 years has helped me a lot in understanding the nuisances of the business. I now understand every beat and pulse of our market and this has been helping me a lot in running Homeonline.com. We are offering customized solution for every city like we did at MY FM.
3. Your LinkedIn profile says that you Work on a principle that “Running a business is all about putting the right person at the right place” with a single intention of “Business First”. Could you elaborate on this?
I feel every single person has a distinct strength and weakness. We as leaders need to identify each one separately and put them at the right place. There have been many stories in my life, where I have persuaded people to change the course and they have done well.
I once told one of my accountants that he is fit for sales and pushed him to join sales. Today he is a GM with a media company earning 3 times more than his counterparts. It’s all about spotting the abilities in the person and steering them. Most of the time people themselves are not aware about their core strength. I have many such stories and feel very good when these persons show the gratitude.
4. Which are the key target markets for Homeonline.com?
We are primarily targeting all Dainik Bhaskar markets and will eventually come to Metro markets also.
5. Can home brokers also list their properties? Or how does the Homeonline model operate?
Yes, Home brokers are an important part of our business. We certify each broker, before taking them on board. We have given them some unique propositions which are exclusive features of Homeonline.
6.What is the media mix you follow for your communication?
We are using Print, Radio, Digital OOH & Activation. We are planning to make short digital films as well in the near future.
7. What is your understanding of the consumers’ behaviour in the Real Estate industry?
During our research for the online real estate market, we could see that though we all boast of Artificial intelligence and automation but the people still look for a human connection. They still expect a helping hand from an expert to take such an important decision of their life of buying a Home. Therefore we designed the Techno Human concept of “Home search officer” and this is really helping both Home seekers and Home sellers.
8.What is your growth percentage for this year?
We have been growing at 30% month on month and will surely grow by about 300% over LY.
9. How do you differentiate with so many portals already leading their way in this segment?
The Key differentiator has been the ” Home search officer” ( HSO), where we first identify the serious buyers by asking them to deposit a refundable security amount and then provide them a personalised expert service in finding them their dream home. Seekers are happy because of free expert service and Developers are happy because they are getting “RELEVANT and SERIOUS Buyers”. We call ourselves a “Techno Human” company rather than just a technology company.