Pursuing Profit and a Better Society

A colleague recently brought to my attention a quote from the President and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation, Barbara Dyer: “American capitalism is a story of ongoing tension between two seemingly contradictory ideas: business as the pursuit of profit and business as a means to build a better society.” I’m proud to say that at HelloWallet, we provide an application that doesn’t force our customers to make a choice between purpose and profit, and that we can build a business model wherein by helping employees get ahead, we can help customers improve their bottom line.  

HelloWallet is an innovative web and mobile product delivered as software-as-a- service.  Employers provide the HelloWallet application to their employees as a benefit. Corporations derive value from a) the increased financial well-being of their employees and b) the dramatic, hard dollar corporate savings that this engenders.

I have an admission as a sales professional that qualifies opportunities for a living.  Before I joined HelloWallet, it wasn’t clear to me if we would be able to develop a business case framework that would enable well-intended, passionate buyers to secure the funds necessary to invest in HelloWallet as a benefit for their employees.  

However, I joined the company because I believed that even during these challenging economic times, as companies are looking to cut costs associated with benefits rather investing in new ones, HelloWallet’s value proposition would look like Nirvana to customers when compared to other offerings in the financial wellness benefits space.

My fifteen years of experience selling software and services told me that a ROI business case demonstrating hard dollar returns is not always required for customers to buy.  Over the course of my career, I’ve been involved in $2B worth of deals, a healthy portion of which were signed without the buyer having a ROI business case.  In these cases, companies will invest in a service either because it’s the right thing to do for their business, intrinsic to their corporate culture, or both.  After all, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.  I’ve found this to be the case with some of our customers since arriving at HelloWallet.

It wasn’t lost on me that HelloWallet’s enduring social mission to help all Americans reach their financial potential ties directly into corporate social responsibility at a time when financial wellness is a front-page issue. I expected that motivated buyers would attach their decision to invest in a financial wellness application to the research that has proved that companies with cause in their mission perform better.  I’ve found this to be true since joining the team at HelloWallet.

On the other hand, for those well-meaning buyers operating in the most conservative of data-driven companies, I’m pleased to announce that the “paranoid seller” side got the best of me. Thus, HelloWallet’s consumer finance experts and behavioral economists have been thoughtfully developing a simple, repeatable, and defensible ROI-focused business framework that quantifies HelloWallet’s unique “win-win” value proposition and appeals to both HR and Finance executives.

We call this ROI framework a Financial Wellness Assessment, and to me, it looks like Nirvana compared to anything of its kind.  We will officially launch our FWA program to the masses next week, and it will be coupled with a compelling diagnostic web experience that will launch at the end of the month. If that sounds interesting to you, stay tuned – there’s more to come here.