We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Benzimra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikki, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
About five years ago I was in a career I hated, unhappy, seeing no potential growth. I decided to go back to school and study web development. During my time in school, whenever there was a project or group assignment, I was assigned project manager. I started getting really good at explaining web development and realized that my place in the tech world was management. I pooled together my network of tech friends and built a freelance team of software experts, graphic designers, website builders and marketing specialist. I quickly built my own website and started offering different packages to small businesses. I grew up in the small business world and was able to use that understanding to help clients see the benefits of creating or upgrading their virtual storefront. I started slow, updating old websites, making current websites more responsive on mobile devices, and soon I was writing custom code for start-ups. Everyday has been something new, which I love. There’s challenges and bumps along the way, but my process has always been “I can figure it out”. Whether it’s constantly continuing my education, or consulting with a new potential team member, I always try to provide my clients with the best.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What I love about my work is every day is something new. Technology is ever-changing, and to be competitive with the market, I have to be as well. I own and operate a boutique web development shop; we offer many services from custom designed websites to app development to marketing. The main part of my job is being up to date on the latest trends in web development and online marketing so that I can explain to a busy business owner why they need to update their online presence and how it will grow their business. I started the business after years of listening to my family talk about their struggles of running brick and mortar small businesses. I identified technologies that could easily take these types of businesses to the next level, if only owners could invest in easy, cost effective access to them. As I began building my business I could see that there were plenty of large digital marketing firms for big business needs, but there was a gap in the market for your average small business. For the average business of 10 – 15 employees a $10,000 a month marketing budget doesn’t work and a staff of 6 developers to build their small informational website doesn’t make sense. The return on investment just wasn’t there, and I kept hearing the same frustrations from business owners. What sets my business apart from others is I truly understand that every penny that goes into a business needs to show results. I understand that hard-working business owners don’t have time to learn the world of social media and how SEO works, they need to pay their bills. I am able to quickly understand a company’s pressure points, pinpoint their potential future growth issues and build a holistic game plan. My ‘secret sauce’, if you will, is that I am able to be your business therapist, I get to the root of the problem, from outdated systems to zero traction marketing, and give you realistic solutions to help your business get on the right track.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a huge foodie and live for trying new spots in LA. The best part about living here is the weather, so I am all about a great cocktail with a great outdoor view, and of course the food has to match. On a week night, I like grabbing a glass of wine near Studio City at either Augustine Wine Bar, Firefly or The Front Yard. I also try to buy local and organic as often as possible and do a majority of my food shopping at farmer’s markets, I’m usually at the Beverly Hills, Studio City or Culver City Farmer’s Markets. During the weekends, in the winter I am a big fan of Downtown LA, my favorite restaurant is Otium, I could eat their gnocchi and roasted chicken every night! The Standard, Perch are also lots of fun with a group. The Grand Central Market is great for touring around out of towners, burgers at Eggslut, ramen at Ramen Hood and bagels from Wexler’s Deli. In the Art’s District there’s a monthly art walk, where all the galleries open their doors and food trucks fill the streets. Definitely a great night out. Summer, for me, is all about driving up the coast, up to Malibu for dinner on the pier at Malibu Cafe, sandwiches at Zuma beach or a quiet late afternoon cocktail at the Malibu Beach Inn. It can get crowded on weekends, but there’s great people watching and the weather is always 15 degrees cooler than the city. On long weekends I love to head up to Santa Barbara and Paso Robles – beautiful greenery and beaches, small local wineries and amazing farm-to-table restaurants. That’s my version of LA.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I decided to go back to school and learn web development, I was a little apprehensive at first, but after signing up at Coding Dojo, all my fears went away. The school was so helpful and supportive from signup to career resources and beyond. The staff had a great understanding of the current job market, and tailored our studies to real world situations to best prepare us for the job market. With no technical background I was able to start working within ONE WEEK of graduating.