We believe that businesses should be supported, encouraged and celebrated. That’s why every month, we are going to choose a business that we feel deserves the limelight. Keep reading to find out more about the startup for this month and the innovators behind it – let’s all lift each other up:
Buzz Pakistan is a creative and digital agency that assists with branding, web development, production, digital marketing and also provides specialised chatbot services. Currently, their clientele ranges from corporate multinationals to budding startups; however the most impressive thing is the all-female team that CEO, Amal Saad Siddiqui, has built in just a few months. Taking over a company during a pandemic isn’t easy, but Amal proves that hard work and dedication can make anything possible. Read our interview with her below, and learn more about Buzz Pakistan:
What is the story behind the creation of Buzz Pakistan?
My husband offered me to quit my job and take over one of his existing companies which he had established in 2015, All his focus had been towards Find My Doctor; a healthcare startup, while I officially took over BUZZ and completely rebranded it.
It’s been one of the best decisions I made career wise at the age of 25. All those hours of working seem rewarding and are worth it especially when you are working for yourself.
What differentiates Buzz Pakistan from other digital marketing agencies?
There are lots of digital agencies out there, and a pattern that I have noticed is that the people leading them usually come from a business or management background. In contrast, I have studied communication design (graduated from Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture) and thus have a perspective that leans more towards creativity. Studying design taught me how important it is to focus on the details. I learnt that the big picture is as important as the small one. It is this ideology that I put forward on the table for my team, a team that I would like to say is a great one. Our attitude towards our work allows us to see each brand in a new light. Whether big or small, we creatively craft a strategy that is personalised for every client we deal with. I believe that this sets my team and I apart from the others and gives us an edge over the rest of the companies in this field.
What qualities do you look for when you hire new members to your Buzz team?
To be presentable, At the end of the day whoever I hire is a reflection of the company and I believe that every member of my team helps build that image.
Second – I look at how consistent they are with their prior experiences. If you have worked at ten different places in a span of a year, that’s a big red flag for me.
Lastly, motivation. I look forward to people who show me that they are eager to learn and grow. Because all in all, we will be a team and I am bound to learn from you as much as I would want you to learn from me.
We have a variety of clients, ranging from corporate multinationals to small smart ups. We also deal with international clients, and this exposure helps us gain insights into the ever-changing, expanding digital world. From the world of beauty to the food industry, the real estate business to healthcare, we have worked in a diverse array of fields. It’s what makes our portfolio one of character and substance.
What are some of the biggest start up challenges you have faced?
I know that start-ups come with many of their own challenges, but one of the tough ones that I had to face was the switch I had to make in my mindset towards my work. Start-ups require a lot of ownership. It’s one thing when you’re working for someone else, but running a business is an entirely different ball game. I think team building was also one of my more difficult challenges after I took over a startup like Buzz. It’s very crucial that the people you choose are the right fit for you and your company, and I put a lot of pressure on myself for making the right decisions at the right time. In the beginning, I think it was more about how I was starting off, rather than the company starting off. I have slowly built up a momentum for Buzz, and I think now is probably our time to make or break it.
What are your favourite aspects of running Buzz Pakistan?
This is a very easy question for me, because as a female entrepreneur, running an all-girls team is the favourite part of it – the fact that we are a bunch of women at the end of the day, helping each other grow and building each other up. It is one of the most inspiring aspects of my life. I am very proud of my team, and of Buzz. I wake up feeling motivated to do bigger and better things, which is a very fulfilling feeling in itself.
How do you keep your team motivated?
Trust, It’s the biggest motivator out there, you have to trust your team. I make it a point to also listen to my team, and not just delegate and boss around. I believe that communication is very important, the more you talk, the easier it is for you to be in sync with each other.
I try to make every member of my team feel as if they belong and that they are not just a tool in my belt at Buzz. I have one-on-one sessions with each of them every week, where I encourage them to tell me about any problem they may be facing. I make it a point to let them voice their opinions during important meetings and I give them the chance to prove themselves. I don’t call them out in front of any client, and I let mistakes be learning experiences for them. I allow them to play with their imagination and give them the creative freedom to express themselves. It is very important for people to feel appreciated, especially when it comes to the little things. I believe that understanding my teammates as human beings is one of my greatest strengths to use to motivate them to do better every day. In the majority of the professional world, your personal life ends up taking a corner seat. I give them the space they need when it comes to the work-life balance. That is something that I never found in an employer, and I remember how demotivating it was for me, which is why today I firmly believe in this attitude.
You took over during COVID-19. How has the pandemic affected you and your team?
Honestly, I think this was a very good time for me to take over. It has been a very fruitful journey for my entire team and myself. The pandemic, and the demotivation that came coupled with it, somehow pushed me out of my comfort zone to get the job done in the best way possible. It was just me in the beginning, with a few people by my side, trying to take control of the situation. When you ask about my teammates, and how they must have been affected by the pandemic, I only think about how our team grew during these trying times. We went from a team of three to a team of twelve. Most of the girls that I had hired, and I am still hiring, were affected by the pandemic in some way. A few of them lost their jobs or were being exploited at their old workplaces where they would work long hours for minimal reward and appreciation. I wanted to provide a safe and fostering environment for talented girls to work towards their potential. I firmly believe that every woman deserves the right to have the opportunity to create the life she wants for herself, without having to worry about the norms and stereotypes of our society.
There is a certain degree of risk involved with start-ups. As a successful female entrepreneur, what advice would you give to budding female entrepreneurs?
There is a risk involved in every new thing that you start. Even a new day is about you taking a risk in life. And I think if you don’t take a risk you will not know the next step of your journey. Belief in an idea, is about having faith in yourself, it is about placing that bet and taking that risk. It hasn’t been the easiest journey, but I am at a point where I want to bet on myself. My advice would be to not let confidence get to you. I remind myself every morning that I am not in this alone and that I am responsible for the risk that I have taken. This realisation is what keeps me going every day. It motivates me to do better, for my teammates and for my clients, who are both counting on me. Their support means the world to me, and I’m very grateful for people putting their trust in me. This goes for everyone at the end of the day, but if I was to address my fellow female sisters, I would tell them to support each other. There are enough people in the world bringing down the female voice; we need to be part of the solution, not the problem. If another woman is doing what you’re doing, she is not your competition, believe in her.