Bill McCleskey, founder and CEO of MiTech Partners, created a business that provides telecommunication services to clients on behalf of service carriers. His business has over 50 major providers they work with, including AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner. McCleskey created his business in 2013 using the EC as a starting ground and has been a member for a year and a half, making Bill this week’s member spotlight.
Describe yourself in one word:
Why are you interested in entrepreneurship?
“Entrepreneurship is the only career choice that has kept my attention. I worked in the corporate arena for a couple of years but never understood why the companies I worked for didn't value common sense. Of course I always had a 'better and easier way' of doing things. So I came to the conclusion that my ideas deserved an environment where they could thrive…in my own company!”
If you could meet any entrepreneur, who would it be?
“I would loved to have met Reginald Lewis. Lewis came from very humble beginnings in Baltimore, Maryland, talked his way into Harvard Law School without taking the LSAT, launched a law firm on Wall Street in his twenties and led the largest international leverage buyout of the time in the early 1990s as CEO of TLC Beatrice. As an African-American entrepreneur, his story resonated with me when I read his biography as a college student and is one of the biggest business influences of my life.”
What is your favorite aspect of the EC?
“Definitely the advisor program! I met with a couple of advisors in December 2015 and changed a simple sales approach based on their feedback. Within 60 days, we were able to land six new hotel customers and a contract with Nashville Electric Service (NES). Boom!”
What advice would you give someone seeking to create, launch, or grow a business?
“The best advice I can give an entrepreneur seeking to create, launch and grow is to know ahead of time there are going to be great days. I mean really great days! And there are going to be terrible days... Absolutely horrible days! Days where you'll wonder why you started and days you're thankful you had the courage to start. The key is knowing this beforehand. You have to see through the good and bad days. Keep an even keel. What matters is where you end up after the dust settles 1, 3, 5 or 10 years later. Maintain long-term thinking.”
How do you balance the entrepreneurial lifestyle?
“There is no true balance in my opinion for the entrepreneur. There are seasons where business takes precedence and seasons where personal or family time takes the lead. The key is surrounding yourself with people who understand your plight as an entrepreneur. Your family has to understand that you'll be working odd hours a lot. Your team has to understand that you'll be bringing your kids to the office sometimes. Striking balance in the startup phase means breaking several traditional rules without feeling guilty and surrounding yourself with people who get it.”
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