Former Finance Guru Has Business Ownership in His Blood
Sometimes starting a business isn’t something the owner ever dreams of doing. It’s a happy accident so to speak. Perhaps it’s out of necessity or a willingness to share a lesson with people all over the country. Other times starting a business is in your blood. Family members had businesses before you and once you got the taste of it, you just couldn’t do anything else in life. For Adam Xavier, CEO of RoadLoK, being a business owner is right where he wants to be. We spoke with Adam to learn more about RoadLok, why he started his business, and what the future holds for his company.
Tell us your background and why did you start your business?
I am from a small town in Upstate New York. After graduating HS with honors, I went to a private college in Ithaca, NY and majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, Marketing and International Operations. I was in the Sigma Iota Epsilon business fraternity and graduated with high marks. Right out of school I took a competitive job at Alliance Capital (now Alliance Bernstein) as a Performance Analyst. I have always had a passion for numbers, because they tell a story that is black and white – there is no room for grey area. The numbers are either right or they are wrong. I loved my job in the financial sector.
Near the end of summer in 2005, I came up with the concept for an innovative product with my brother, Eric. We both decided to start a business selling our innovative product and from there we studied our target market, wrote a comprehensive business plan and raised investor money to begin work.
I had no plans to start a business on a large scale like I did. I think in my mind I always knew I would have my own business, though. From a young age (11, to be exact) I always worked for my money and treated income like a business owner would. My grandfather on my father's side ran his own business for over 50 years – Xavier Radio. He was successful in the region and was one of the first people to have a television set in the Finger Lakes. He even had a famous client, Rod Serling, the writer and host of the original Twilight Zone television show. Being a business owner is in my blood.
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
My first company, ROADLOK, should be sold to the highest bidder in 5 years. We are reinventing the way motorcycles are protected and have several OEM manufacturers working with us to implement our immobilizers in production. As we grow our B2B client base we will gain traction within the industry as the only way to protect a motorcycle and become the industry standard. Our overall goal is to grow the value of our patents and sell them to larger manufacturers within the industry.
How important is a work ethic to being an entrepreneur?
Without work ethic and an internal discipline to manage time effectively, you are not an entrepreneur. In this world things are not handed to you. You must be willing to put in the time and effort to make things happen. I strongly believe in self discipline and commitment to a project, goal and task. I do not believe in luck. I do believe that good old-fashioned hard work and dedication pay off. (to be more clear about ‘luck': by being intrinsically motivated you can put yourself in situations where luck can play a part in who is seeing/hearing/listening to you and vise versa, which is also essential in being successful. However, it is what you then do with that ‘lucky' situation/connection/break that makes you a successful entrepreneur.)
What lessons did you learn in your work history that helps you as a business owner?
I have to be 100% behind and vested in whatever I put out there as a product of my work. I have learned in every job that I have had that what I submit as my output is what makes me stand out among the group. I have rarely ever turned in my time with less than 100% of my dedication in it. I always try and go above and beyond and it has paid off for me. As a business owner I know that when I do not put my all in something, it shows and it affects other areas of the business. I do not do things half-heartedly.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners?
Someone once said to me, “If I am involved with this company, it won't fail.” I didn't really understand it at the time, because I was just starting my company and I was very green. I now know what that means – I have redefined the word “fail” in my own world. If I put my all into something that I truly believe in, then I simply cannot fail. There may be periods of huge doubt, crushing blows and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but as long as I truly believe in my product and mission, I cannot fail. I use failure (in the traditional meaning of the word) to find a better way.
Also, do not cheat the customer. There is already enough noise out there and people making a quick buck – please don't be one of them.