Starting up in Tier II cities: insights from Priyanshi Choubey, co-founder of InstaCar
Starting up in a Tier II city is fairly challenging, when compared to starting up in a metro city. There is less competition, fewer sectors to explore, and a shallower pool of talent. It’s also difficult to network and find mentors in smaller cities. However, despite the dearth of resources, it is possible to build a successful startup in a Tier II city.
In a Community Chat on the HerStory Women On A Mission Facebook group, Priyanshi Choubey, the co-founder of InstaCar - a marketplace for outstation taxi rentals - shared her insights on the challenges she faced while starting up in small cities. She grew up in a Tier III city and has been exploring Tier II cities to expand her startup.
Here are some excerpts from the discussion.
Q. What are the main challenges one faces while starting up in a Tier II city? Are there any advantages to starting up there?
Priyanshi Choubey: The main challenges are finding connections and scaling up the business. Yes, there are some advantages; resources and infrastructure are available at a lower cost, the government is easily accessible, and if you do well, everyone in the city will know!
Q. What has your experience of starting up in a Tier II city been like?
PC: Starting up in a Tier II city is good initially. We did a lot of experiments with offline marketing, like distributing templates and observing the results. Since the area was so small it was also easy to track the results. Tier II cities can be a good ground for experiments. We did our testing there it turned out to be good.
Q. What qualities do small-town entrepreneurs bring to the table?
The most important thing we do, as small-town entrepreneurs, is applying the values we have grown up learning in our towns, which many entrepreneurs from big cities often lack.
Q. Is infrastructure one of the reasons entrepreneurs are moving to small towns?
PC: It could be a reason. One can set up their head office a big city, but can still keep their subsidiary offices in smaller cities so that they incur less expenses.
Q. Was hiring a problem for you in a smaller city?
PC: To be honest, hiring was not a challenge. You will find people to work for you, but finding good talent is the difficult part. It's challenging to find people who work at a pace similar to yours, contribute to your vision, and help the company grow. When it comes to hiring, you should help yourself; external resources aren't very useful.
Q. Could you list a few factors to consider while starting up in Tier II and III cities?
- Economics, in terms of manpower, office space, and other resources
- Values and staying down to earth
- Business testing grounds - testing your business is really important with real customers, and you can do that smoothly in Tier II cities
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