Co-Founder & CEO Erik Dodier Encourages a Narrow Focus to Build a Successful Entrepreneurial Business
Relationships. Focus. Clarity. Simplicity. These are words that come to mind when Erik reflects on building PixelMEDIA. When interviewed on the Entrepreneurs United Podcast, he explained the challenges he and Co-Founder Thomas Obrey faced in the early days as they attempted to expand their entrepreneurial business based on a broad variety of client needs. Erik emphasized how pivoting their full focus to be experts in ecommerce on Salesforce was the catalyst to the company’s biggest growth and success.
Erik offers 4 tips to build and grow a focused entrepreneurial business with like minded partners and strong core values.
Pivot and focus your business efforts
During the first 20 years in business, Pixel offered a wide range of products and services to a broad client base and business was good. Yet when he and his team made the decision to pivot their focus to ecommerce on Salesforce (formerly Demandware), that’s when things really started to take off. It didn’t happen overnight. Ecommerce was 20% of the business. Once it became 50% of the business, Pixel made the overall change. The shift in focus was intentionally gradual and required thoughtful and at times challenging steps including:
- Shifting outbound sales energy towards ecommerce clients.
- Turning away work to create space for new ecommerce projects.
- Concentrating trade show involvement on ecommerce/Salesforce trade shows.
- Adopting a new tagline: PixelMEDIA helps brands Launch, Manage, & Grow Ecommerce on Salesforce.
- Choosing to continue the entrepreneurial business path to grow with an investment partner, rather than selling the company.
The result? “When you talk about enterprise value and creation, we’ve done more in the last 3-5 years than we did in the first 20.” Erik says.
“When you talk about enterprise value and creation, we’ve done more in the last 3-5 years than we did in the first 20.”
Erik believes that like attracts like and expresses how important it is to be who you are. To be open, transparent and vulnerable during interactions so you can truly get to know people and identify synergies for good business relationships. He admits “I wasn’t always myself. At times I was protected and guarded in the early years. I learned to be more open, vulnerable and continue to try and do this.”
Partner With Like-Minded People
With a narrow business focus, you can effectively create a team of specialists with shared values. Erik is proud that Pixel is a people company and believes that the biggest factor in building a strong work culture is identifying your core values and putting them into everything you do. “Describe what your best people do all the time and those are probably your core values.”
“Describe what your best people do all the time and those are probably your core values.”
Pixel’s core values are:
- Make relationships matter
- Be flexible
- Deliver with quality
- Embrace innovation
- Take ownership
In order to grow, the company has also faced the challenge of “talent wars” and has found it helpful to expand the talent search around the country and the world to secure exceptional team members.
Build From a Position of Strength
With Pixel’s B2C Ecommerce on Salesforce business quickly growing, Pixel has been strategically joining forces with specialists in other verticals. The company’s recent merge with Docmation (B2B) and GearsCRM (SSC) is allowing more sophisticated projects, spanning all three practices.
“We are now working to build shared PMO across our merged companies to pull everyone together for a common experience for the customer. As the business gets bigger, it is more resilient. We have a greater talent pool, and more mindshare, with more people on the management team.” Partnering with like-minded leaders like Harry Radenberg, Jay Sappidi and Vikram Datla (just to highlight a few) has brought even more entrepreneurial spirit and opportunity to the table.
Alongside his collaborators, Erik’s goal moving forward is to stay focused on Multicloud Ecommerce on Salesforce and to continue to grow and position the company as a dominant player among the competition, all while staying true to the company culture he values so strongly.
When it comes to his biggest business influence, Erik embraces the Law of Attraction. “It helps me think about where to focus your energy. What your thinking about, where you put your focus. What draws certain solutions to you. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
“You will get lost in the noise of the big/complex world if you don’t narrow in. You can build from a position of strength. We found a focus and built on it.”
And remember Erik’s single most important nugget of advice to entrepreneurs: FOCUS. “You will get lost in the noise of the big/complex world if you don’t narrow in. You can build from a position of strength. We found a focus and built on it.”
– Erik Dodier, Co-Founder & CEO, PixelMEDIA