The following are very generic comments for companies focused on rural market.

  1. Focus: The company/organization must focus on a single service unlike Drishtee or n-logue or Akshaya. However after achieving success with a product/service you may broaden your portfolio.
  2. Training: Training is essential for all the stakeholders in the company – employees, customers, vendors, etc. Why? Because in rural India, you have an abundance of raw talent that must be aligned to your requirements. In fact, sometimes you may have to start from creating the whole ecosystem before actually scaling up your operations.
  3. Adjusting to local needs: Rural India represents varied cultures, traditions, languages etc. So your model should be sufficiently flexible to adapt to local needs.
  4. Technology for masses: Use technology wherever is possible.
  5. Processes: Standardize operations in order to create scalable business processes. Actually, this paves the way for more technology adoption.
  6. Word of mouth advertising: In rural India, people love to be your brand ambassadors and talk about all good things about your product/service if they like it.
  7. End-to-end service delivery: You need to make sure that the consumer gets service-as-a-whole delivered. For example, if you just collect a resume and charge the customer rupees twenty for feeding into computer- this may not be scalable. However, if you collect a villagers’ resume, provide him a job earning him rupees 5000 a month and collect rupees 20000 for your efforts – this would definitely work with rural people.
  8. Emotional Attachment: Rural people place their trust in your product or service – so you must live up to it. It is not just a commercial transaction that you engage in with them but more an emotional agreement between you, the marketeer and your consumer.
  9. Communities: Rural people live as communities or extended families. You need to align with local communities following the trick, “trust is transferable”.
  10. Efficient distribution: Rural India is sparsely populated and so it is obvious that the distribution costs are high. Hence, you need to innovate to bring down these costs.

Malapati Raja Sekhar

I work with few small startups focused on rural services (for-profit). I am based in Mumbai, India.