This Global Entrepreneurship Week we spoke to Xavier Olivier, managing director and founder of DarkMatter, a full spectrum digital marketing agency with an ever-growing list of clients. Xavier answered a couple of questions and shared his experience to success with us.
Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit? / What motivates you? What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
The ability to create and make something from start to ﬁnish has always spurred a ﬁre inside me. I started by building and selling websites, which transformed into a full-service digital oﬀering that is now deeply embedded in intelligent content, creative and strategy. Seeing campaigns come to life and results that match is what makes hard work worth it. The thrill of the build – which is my inner architect, is not only a propagator but also a motivator.
Where did the idea of your business derive from?
It started as a joke between my brother and a friend, “If you don’t like your job, then why don’t you make your own.” This simple sentence in jest got us all thinking. One call later, we booked in a meeting and realised it could work. Seven years later we are grateful to say that we’ve worked with JSE-listed companies and multinationals across the globe.
What obstacles did you face as a start-up or entrepreneur?
Processes – when starting we were very results focused, which meant that we did not concentrate on how we were doing things, but rather just ensuring that they were getting things done. This meant no safety-net to lean back on in terms of systems and approach. Over the years we have meticulously built methodologies and systems that serve each of our business units so that we can scale properly. It is a hard thing to see at the start of any business, as at the beginning results weigh heavily on business viability.
What’s your greatest entrepreneurial achievement to be proud of?
Hiring and working with talented people in our team that challenge me to be better daily.
Who is your greatest support when facing challenges in business?
I have a many conﬁdantes to bounce issues oﬀ: From my business mentor, to my family and friends and the CEO Network I belong to. Belonging to a professional business network like the British Chamber of Business in Southern Africa creates networking opportunities and a safe environment where you can learn from peers. It is important to get varied vantage points on the same problem.
What is the best thing about your business, customers and community?
The freedom to create ideas with clients that entrust us to go beyond the brief. This normally results in unthought-of possibilities and delivers exponential results – what a joy!
If you could pick one thing that could make the biggest positive impact on your business, what would it be, what would you wish for?
More space to grow – a bigger studio and upgrade from our current workspace.
What value does building a network bring to your business?
“Relationships are at the heart of our business, and without them we cannot do what we do.”
We deeply value the people we engage with, and hope that they can see just that in the work we do for them.