Boss It Like

How To Boss It Like… Trouva CEO Mandeep Singh

By Kitty Knowles 6 December 2017
Summary

These leaders are changing our world for the better. We find out how they get the job done.

There’s a select few business leaders and innovators in the UK who are changing the world.

From Ada’s List co-founder Anjali Ramachandran to Vero’s Ayman Hariri, these smart people get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning we’re talking Mandeep Singh, founder and CEO at online platform for independent boutiques Trouva.

Meet Mandeep Singh

After working in private equity and consulting, Singh co-founded Trouva in 2015 to make boutique shopping simple.

His marketplace is for bricks and mortar independent shops and boutiques to sell their homeware and lifestyle products with the help of worldwide shipping, click & collect, and 1-hour deliveries.

It just succeeded in raising $10m.

The Cambridge graduate is also a long-serving ambassador for Bright Mentors, whose goal it is to reduce the STEM skills gap by mentoring secondary school kids.fs can use the freshest ingredients possible.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked Mandeep Singh, how he gets it all done…

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

My routine very much depends on my schedule which differs day to day – if only startup life was predictable! Running a startup business is undoubtedly a 24 hour, 7 days a week job and my busy schedule reflects that.

When I wake up the first thing I do is check my emails and Slack, the internal messaging system we use at Trouva, then I’ll check my calendar and read BBC news.

What apps or methods do you use to be more productive?

At Trouva, we rely on Slack to keep the team connected and communicating, particularly when out of office, and Dropbox for our files. We use Asana to keep track of and manage tasks and bigger internal projects.

Personally, I use the calm.com app to help me meditate and wind down at the end of the day.

What smartphone do you have?

I have a Gold, 64GB, iPhone 6s.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

On average, I have catch ups with up to 5-10 people within the team per week. These can range from impromptu check-ins, to management meetings or catch ups on specific projects.

We’ve just recently started a company-wide initiative called coffee roulette which randomly pairs two people in the team every two weeks to go and have a coffee. It’s a great way for us all to stay connected and keep up with what everyone is doing.

I typically meet 2-4 external people per day. These can be interviewees, investors, other startup founders or potential partners.

What book have you read recently that’s inspired you?

What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack who is the founder of IMG. The book served two important functions for me by discouraging me from going to business school, and also teaching me the importance of the people you employ in your organisation.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz as it showed me that success is hard and that you’ll experience your fair share of failures along the way.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

There will never be a perfect time to start your own business. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes and the bigger the opportunity cost becomes.

If your end goal is to start your own business, then don’t wait, just do it.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind down routine? 

The end of my day can vary anytime between 7pm and 2am.

Late nights come with the startup territory and I’m pretty used to it now. Unlike in my previous jobs, I feel reassured knowing that it’s my decision and that I’m spending those late nights contributing to the success of my own business.

I used to be very bad at checking my emails and Slack at any time of day (or night) but now I’m trying to get in the habit of putting my phone on silent and using a meditation app before going to sleep.

What was your favourite childhood toy?

My favourite childhood toy was Lego (specifically a pirate ship made entirely of Lego which came with functioning cannons which I spent a lot of time firing at people!)

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

I dislike the term ‘idol’ because every time I’ve been lucky enough to meet someone I admire and respect, no matter who they are, you realise they are human after all.

Having said that, I was able to hear Elon Musk speak at a web summit a few years ago and I was really struck by his commitment to building a better world.

If I could ask him a question, I would want to know how he keeps motivated to do all these amazing things – if he actually does place a man on Mars, what could he possibly want to achieve next?

Come back next Thursday for our next #BossItLike interview, and get in touch if you know a leader who’s also a productivity guru for us to talk to.