I find strength in the history of Black Wall Street’s mentality of community, strength, and pride. If you have not learned this history of Black Wall Street, you owe yourself that blessing. Because of that history, I find it valuable to support today’s black business owners and entrepreneurs.
I had the opportunity to interview black entrepreneur, founder and CEO of MiTECH Partners, Bill McCleskey. MiTECH, established in 2014, a seven figure, thirteen team member telecommunications company which assists any U.S. business, shop for internet, voice, and television services, by partnering with over 100 different national carriers.
Bill McCleskey started his vision while working as a business sales representative for Comcast. McCleskey says, “Often customers didn’t like the Comcast experience and would ask if I knew better companies they could use.” Instead of offering suggestions, he designed a business plan that would offer one stop shopping for all telecommunication needs. “When the Comcast boss came to me and questioned me about my plans and told me to stop; I told him that wasn’t going to happen, I quit.” Then by building solid relations, came MiTECH Partners.
MiTECH focuses heavily on the whole customer experience, “We value that whole experience while other companies may just focus on one area, shopping, ordering or support. MiTECH owns the entire experience. We sell telecommunications and are in the business of providing simplicity, convenience, and motivation. Convenience and simplicity because our customers do not have to call around to compare prices. We do that for them. By maintaining billing and providing technical support, we motivate our customers to grow and focus on their outcomes.”
Employee relations are extremely important to McCleskey, he celebrates and highlights their professional wins and life events. When asked how he felt employee relations were during the Black Wall Street era, he replied, “Very much a community prospective of pride and strength, they were segregated, they had to build and support their own, each one taught one. The community aspect was priority, strong, tightknit, built on families helping families with black pride.”
I asked, what do you think it was, that made Black Wall Street business owners, stick together and why is it different now? “It was almost a must for them, not like today. Today we think, we should. Then, it was a must because of no options. One difference today is, we do not have to do business with blacks, there are choices. There is a stigma with black businesses giving poor customer service. Black folks do not have as much patience with black business and substandard service as they do with other businesses. Bad service can come from anyone. We accept poor service from Comcast, McDonalds, or whoever it is, but are less patient when it comes to black businesses. Today to stick together, we must be intentional. Seek out black businesses, on purpose.”
I asked McCleskey what he had learned from his biggest failure. His answer was his failure in making decisions based on emotion and not on principle and values. Being a black business owner, there are challenges. “One of my major challenges is cash flow management. Not that we have trouble managing, we got that part. Cash flow is like blood, it must run in all parts of the body to have it function properly. The challenge is ensuring we make the right decisions as we manage this flow of cash. Another challenge is finding great, talented, hardworking people that fit the culture of MiTECH. Our culture is laid back, centered around work ethics, and working hard. Most people want to have fun but not work, we work to do both”.
“Our customer base ranges from multiple government, state and federal contracts.
Health care, manufacturing, financial, and schools. A few are, the Unites States Navy, Tennessee Army National Guard, Sleep Inn, Microsoft, Allstate, Zaxby’s. Now I see MiTECH Partners as “a global leader in the technology industry.”
As I wrapped up my time with McCleskey, I asked what he would do differently, at the beginning, to establish his company. His answer was very educating. “I would’ve worked harder. I joke with people and say, I used to work eight to faint, nine days a week, thirty hours a day.” Now he says he would have worked smarter while working hard.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dorcas Curry is a Motivational Speaker, Author and Play Writer and Director of her play-acting group New Birth Player and the author of a motivational book titled “Even In The Dark I Surrender and a fun to read book “You Know They Say” a collection of old wives’ tales. She has a CD titled “Living Life to the Fullest.” As a motivational speaker some of her major workshop titles are, “Living Life to the Fullest,” “Turning Hurt into Halos and Scars into Stars,” “Divorce Recovery,” “Prayer Recovery” and several women inspirational programs. Curry is also a professionally trained Career Coach, working to help individuals find their best career paths and working to help employers find the best employees. She teaches Quality Customer Service and specializes in helping business owners bring top quality customer service to their customers and clients.