How to start a Rural BPO

This entry was posted by on Friday, 24 December, 2010 at

There are a lot of people who keep mailing us asking help in setting up Rural BPOs in their village as they intend to give back to the society in that way. I hope this post will help them and also caution guys who are not well prepared for the task ahead. Like any other BPO a Rural BPO also has its own challenges and things that need to be well thought of before someone decides to start off. Here are my 2 cents :

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The two main things which people need to take into consideration while starting a BPO are:

  1. Human Resource Capability
  2. Strong Business Development Capability

Human Resource Capability:

It is very important to understand that the most valuable asset for a service oriented company or a BPO is its human capital. Thus it is even more critical to evaluate the kind of human capital that is available in the village where you are setting up the BPO. So my first question, how would you identify the ‘right village’? The answer is not a simple one it is dependent on what sort of BPO activities you want to take to the Rural Hinterlands? Here is my classification:

Low skill Jobs (LSJ) Medium Skill Jobs (MSJ) High Skill Jobs (HSJ)
Digitalization/Data Entry Transcription Content Generation
Transaction Processing Translation Social Media Monitoring
Email Support /Live Chat support Secondary Research
Vernacular Call Center Local English Call Center

So while selecting the village you are more or less containing yourself to the kind of verticals you would be entering into.  The below classification would make things further clear

LSJs MSJs HSJs
Village Description Any village Any village which has English medium schools and where you have at least 500 unemployed adults Any big village /small town with good educational infrastructure (high school/colleges)
Training Time 2 Months  (basic clerical skills) 2-3 months (English/soft skills/clerical skills) 1-3 months (job specific training/English/soft-skills)
Avg Revenue per seat 10,000 12000 15000
Scale for financial sustainability 50 seats 35 seats 25 seats

As per the above table the lower the skill sets the lesser the revenues and hence the greater the number of seats required to sustain operationally i.e a 50 seats unit with LSJs would just cover costs, to make profits you need more number of seats. So on an average to make profits and recover investment with any kind of jobs you would need a 60 seat fully functional unit.

Once you set up the BPO and recruit people the next most important thing is to train them and hire the right middle management team (project managers / TLs) to ensure high quality deliverable. Sometimes it’s tough to find them in villages hence some Rural BPOs have offices in cities where quality analysts assess the work done by the unit and then prepare the client deliverable.

Strong Business Development Capability

Check out my latest post on where rural BPOs can look for business?

This might sound very obvious that any business needs a strong BD team. It is not such a big issue to get projects and start off work, but the onus is to get scale. By reaching out to SMEs you would get work for 2-5 seats at the max. It is always essential to have a big client who would give you work at a sustainable scale. For example:  a National Bank or a telecom provider.  You would get annuity projects from them and once you stabilize these 50 seats you needn’t worry about financial sustainability, the BPO unit will be generating enough money to cover all your sales expenses and would further help in getting you more new clients.

So people who are looking to start a Rural BPO:

  1. Before you even setup your BPO first start looking for clients, you will have 3-5 months to identify the village, setup the BPO and train ideal number of resources. So utilize these 3-5 months to procure clients. Based on how the BD activity is going on you can train people with relevant skills.
  2. It is a great model if there is sustainable work. Please don’t generally jump into it and later regret the step. I know a lot of Rural BPOs which are struggling and even we struggled in 2009 to sustain. Think of strategy to scale it up quickly invest heavily in capability building (people/processes) and sales.
  3. Be persistent look for strategic parternerships with big companies /BPOs which would help you gain the much important process capability and also help you achieve scale. Diversify client base to mitigate risk and look at multiple verticals, you never know when there would be a financial crisis!!

I was reading a HBR article today morning and I came up with this rule which aptly applies to every social enterprise which intends to be successful.  ‘The 3M rule’ Manoeuvre (strategize) –Multiply (Scale) –Monitor. So all of you strategize well to achieve scale and succeed.

PS: Hope this helps people in understanding the market better and prevent them from blindly setting up BPO centres and then worry about these important issues. I have not covered many other issues here I would be more than happy to help, just drop in a comment.

82 Responses to “How to start a Rural BPO”

  1. Puneeth

    Hi bahrat,
    I have an Infra space ready for setting up an rural BPO i wanted to know how exactly it works so that i can start it straight away once i make my investor feel convinced..

  2. Parag Dhariwal

    I am looking to start a rural BPO in my town..but I am not very much famalier with in and out for same.
    Can u plz suggest me the best category and what is overall cost to established a rural BPO.

  3. prateek

    Hi,
    I have experience in BPO field and now want to start my own setup and looking forward for good processes. Please help me out in this matter and please guide me for rural BPO.

  4. manoj

    hi bharat ,

    i have infra space and i want to start BPO in accounting stream. I am a CA final year student and fresher too so any special suggestions. and also i wanted to know how we can approach to any foreign company for this kind of work.

  5. Varad raj

    Hi i want to open a rural bpo and not have too much money plz give me right suggetion

  6. pravin v mutha

    I want to start bpo at baramati near pune.please guide me

  7. happy

    hello,
    i m from odisha and want to start a rural BPO in our area. we hv already registered our comp. plz guide me Further processing of rural BPO.

  8. guru prasad yelkur

    hi,
    i have been working on project which does’t required any technical skills and write now i got a project named “Zooning and Editing Project” from chenai and suggestions regarding dis…

  9. Sailaja

    Hi Bharat,

    I want to start Rural BPO. Thanks a lot for sharing the information.It is very useful.

  10. chandrashekar shetty

    I have an Infra space ready for setting up an rural BPO i wanted to know how exactly it works so that i can start it straight away once i make my investor feel convinced..

  11. Mukesh

    Please guide me to start new BPO in remote village of Bihar. I have resources (Office space, electricity,PCs and net connectivity and skilled boys are in plenty).I have no idea how to reach clients for getting the first job…

  12. joy mukherjee

    want to sateup a rural BPO looking for partner..

  13. Subhash Lamba

    Please guide me to start new BPO in small town in haryana. I have resources (Office space, electricity,PCs and net connectivity and skilled boys are in plenty).I have no idea how to reach clients for getting the first job…

  14. ritesh kumar

    Hallow , I want to start a rural domestic BPO. Plz provide proper guideline . I have already well settle floor with complete set up of computers.
    Regard : Ritesh Gupta-
    8745872556

  15. Gourish

    Hi,

    I want to start a BPO with 10 seat at my hometown (Uttar Kannada,Honnavar)Just can you tell me how to start with. This village is very cheap keeping money into picture. And I have a contact with marketing guy who had worked for 20 years in US. Currently he is working in our company and we are planning to open one new BPO with partnership. Please suggest me with some good ideas. Will I get success in this If i run BPO in village?

    Thanks in advanced

  16. rajshree

    I also want to open a bpo in a small town, how can I proced with this
    Plz hlp

  17. Vikas

    Hi Please guide me to start new BPO.

  18. Vikas

    Hi Please guide me to start new RURAL BPO.

  19. madhulika singh

    Sir, kindly suggest me to start a BPO at Ajmer Rajasthan. my no. is 09829034282

  20. madhulika singh

    Please guide me to start new BPO in small town in rajasthan. I have resources (Office space, electricity,PCs and net connectivity and skilled boys are in plenty).I have no idea how to reach clients for getting the first job

  21. Devinder

    sharmadassociates@gmail.com

    I want to open a bpo in new delhi, having space for set up please guide me.

  22. Ajay

    Hi

    I wanted to start rural BPO. But i am new into this concept can you help me how to start this from basic.

  23. Manoj Nakadi

    Dear Sir
    I wanted to know the details of HOW TO OPEN RURAL BPO and what are the formalities to be done .
    Thanks and Regards

    Manoj Nakadi
    8431602121

  24. Parikshit

    Sir , what is the investment you need to put in BPO?

  25. Sivanandhan

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m very much interesting to setup an RURAL BPO, but don’t know the procedure how to proceed.If any one know the details or procedure means kindly reply me or mail me the details….
    My Mail_id : sivanandhancse@gmail.com
    Skype_id : sivanandhaninovix

  26. Shreevats

    We have a bpo set up. We have 10 seater but we need projects with less investment. If anybody can offer bpo projects please email us on whitelotusbpo@gmail.com or contact us on 09480196720, 09620727374

  27. Pratheep

    Hi
    I have the plan to start a BPO in our town so please tell me what is the process are required in bpo Please give me some suggestions.

  28. ravi

    I ravi from a town called rayadurg, around population of 2 lakhs.
    have 50 qualified professional with me and can get 50 more if requirment is there. suggest me how to approach client to start with

  29. santosh

    I want to start-up Rural BPO in Odisha, Kindly mail me the detail regarding the same.

  30. Hi, I have already have a complete set up of 20 computers with internet connection also have 5000 sq feet infrastructure.

    I want run rural BPO with this setup.So, please can help me from where i will get rural BPO projects?

    Kind Regards
    Trilochan
    Ph:09178607853

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Will the growth of rural BPOs in India actually improve its rural economy? - Quora
  2. Going live!! : Where should Rural BPOs look for business? @ Bongu Bharat's Weblog

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