CEO Sundays: Why Your Company Doesn’t Have To Be The Next Instagram

By June 24, 2012

On any given day you can find a new article about the sexy new app valued at tens of millions of dollars or the acquisition of a company for hundreds of millions of dollars. It all seems very glamorous and makes many people want to become a startup CEO that goes on to make those millions. But the reality is much different for most entrepreneurs. For every $1 billion Instagram, there are thousands of companies that go unnoticed. Odds are, you’re not going to build a $100 million business. And that’s ok – more than ok. There is nothing wrong, and a lot that’s right, with building a focused, sustainable, lifestyle business.

Entrepreneurs drive economic development, but companies like Foursquare don’t sustain the entire economy. They do aggregate entrepreneurial enthusiasm, which can lead to companies like your friend’s small marketing firm, your father’s four-truck construction company, and your neighborhood’s one-off restaurant. These are the companies that keep the larger economic wheels rolling. There is a place and a need for all manner of companies in our astonishingly broad economy – a lot of them, like Xivic – work in the background.

I started Xivic shortly after college, 15 years ago. Xivic is the behind-the-scenes development agency that writes code when you’re asleep. We create consumer-facing projects that bear the names of other companies (it’s likely you’ve unknowingly experienced our work). Many of our clients are creative agencies who reap the deserved respect and acclaim for what is largely our technical work. We’ll likely never become an Instagram-like success; but that doesn’t stop our team from enthusiastically showing up to work everyday looking to help someone else’s company.

I expect any young entrepreneur to start a company with grandiose expectations. Don’t quit because Google hasn’t come calling to acquire your company. It doesn’t mean your company doesn’t function as a key and indispensable element in the business ecosystem. You’re solving another company’s problems, and there is real value in that. Someone is counting on what you do. Whether it’s building a website or bringing cheese to pizza, your work, reliability, and availability (day and night) are essential to someone else’s bottom line. That’s the reason we at Xivic stay focused, energized, and proud of the work we do.

Forget the Internet’s high school popularity contest. Keep focused, prioritize responsibilities, and COMMUNICATE with your team. No matter your business, if you follow these principles, you’ll navigate your way to business success.

About the Author: Bahman Zakeri is a Los Angeles based technology leader and entrepreneur. As CEO of Xivic, Bahman leads international teams of engineers, information architects, and UX designers through cutting-edge digital solutions for large consumer brands, marketing agencies, and major media companies. Strategy-focused and driven by an aggressive approach to operational efficiency, he has developed a reputation as an ambidextrous thinker with a rare talent for translating highly technical concepts into creative brand experiences. You can follow him on Twitter at @bahmanzakeri.

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