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Breaking the monotony with Little Black Book!
How many times have you missed out on an event happening in your city, because you did not know about it? Suchita Salwan was one such working professional who found it extremely difficult to stay in the know of things that were happening in Delhi. While event listings were available, they were not regularly updated, an extremely cumbersome. Suchita solved this problem for all by starting the little Black Book, LBB in 2012.
LBB is a local discovery platform that gives you the best things to do in your city. They create and curate the best content across interests, so you can stop searching and start doing awesome things, wherever you are. Currently available in Delhi, Gurgaon & Bangalore, LBB is here to keep you updated!
I was still working with BBC when I started LBB. For me, LBB was a way to document all that I loved discovering in Delhi, and hoping that through all the amazing things I found, I could inspire people to step out and discover Delhi using my recommendations.
After graduating with a degree in Economics, Suchita worked with Wizcraft on the Opening & Closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games.
She managed around 14,000 people, and learnt from the best of the mentors in the event space.
“Working on events gives you a really good perspective on what it takes to WOW a user- and get them out of their homes to experience something they otherwise never would’ve,” she says. Post Wiz, she joined the BBC to work with her boss on the launch of BBC Entertainment India. “This job was exceptional in making me understand the value of processes and how good programming/content goes a long way, she adds. Towards the end of 2012, she quit working with the BBC to work on LBB full time, and has been at it since.
Suchita’s family was supportive of her decision to leave a well-paying job and start-up! “My mother’s a doctor and my father’s a lawyer. Both of them have built their careers from scratch, and are cognisant of the hard-work and effort it takes to build a business and a career,” she says. Being a hard working professional, Suchita’s life has always been hectic.
Of course, when you’re building your own business, the investments become a lot more than just time spent. I quit my job with the BBC because I was learning so much about the digital space via LBB
Suchita starts her day by opening Google Analytics. “I have become a little obsessive about numbers and performance thanks to my co-founder,” she says. After having a look at the reach and engagement from the previous day, she starts by making a checklist of the tasks and meetings for the day. “So my office day pretty much begins with asking a bunch of questions, keeping a tab on what all I need to get done… and lots of meetings!” she adds.
I learn something new every single day. And that keeps me going every single day!
We don’t always realise the importance of family support, but it’s so important to surround yourself with people who get it. Suchita loves what she does every day, and her family loves that!
“I come from a family of fiercely independent women, especially from my mom’s side. Irrespective of what their job is, they’re very steadfast about thinking independently- and I’m fortunate I’ve had a chance to draw inspiration from them,” she says.
Suchita believes that entrepreneurship is something you have to be involved in completely. At the end of the day, you are in it to win it.
The Biggest Challenge..
For LBB, the biggest challenge has been team-building. “The biggest issues we’ve faced- or actually most start-ups I know face- is finding the right people to join your team. The rest- content scaling, monetisation, expansion, marketing, distribution- will be figured out if you have the right set of minds solving the problems,” says Suchita.
Apart from that, the startup also faced trouble finding a good UI/UX designer.
“While there’s a lot of editorial talent, there’s a lack in digital experience. But the way I see it, these are problems of a developing market, and fortunately, there are ways to tackle these,” she added.
Entrepreneurship has taught me how important it is to have conviction in your idea. It’s so easy to get dissuaded by naysayers, and people with a myopic view of the market
The Entrepreneur Speaks..
Suchita says that she has become more assertive and a lot clearer about what she wants, and how it would be achieved. “I’ve also become increasingly particular about the details. As a consumer of other enterprising brands, and a CEO of one too, I believe that attention to everything- from the content, to consumer experience, engagement, and closing the loop- is imperative. The details differentiate the replicas from innovative ideas.”
I’ve found that people have a very rosy picture of what start-up life is like- which, once you start working behind the scenes, you find isn’t the case
Suchita started LBB as a writer, technically. But she cannot remember the last time she wrote anything on LBB herself. “When you’re working hard to make your venture happen, you’re going to have to do a lot of things you didn’t originally sign up for. And not all of them are ‘fun’ or ‘exciting’. You’ve got to make it work through the mundane, daunting, exhausting, and…non-passionate things. More importantly, you’ve got to be open-minded about others’ (especially your team, advisors) thoughts and opinions. And sometimes, when you’re super passionate, you end up not being as objective about your business as you’re needed to be,” she says with experience.
As an advice to future entrepreneurs, she says, “Please love what you do. Love learning new things. Surround yourself with a team that drives you to be better, think clearer.”
Don’t follow your passion, because the business you’re building is bigger than you