At a young age, Kevin Williams has always wanted change.
Growing up in the projects and determined that someone else’s opinion of himself didn’t have to be reality, he began his career in law enforcement in 1991. At the end of this career, he faced a situation where he wasn’t allowed to take days off and quit his job, as he didn’t like being told what he could and couldn’t do as an adult. Inspired by a successful CEO, Williams became intrigued by the makings of success. He started changing his mind set and after speaking with more successful friends, he started his journey with entrepreneurship.
He then worked to launch Arkansas Black Businesses in February 2020 after conceptualizing it in late 2019 as a business directory focused toward marketing black businesses in Arkansas. Finalizing the website in December 2020, Williams received a lot of questions regarding black businesses and there being a platform available to assist people in finding black businesses. “There had never been an online black website for the state of Arkansas, “Williams added. “And when it comes to black businesses online, unfortunately, we think of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok.” Williams wanted to create a platform for creative artists while also helping them understand the purpose of marketing their business, as ABB is also a media company. “Until black businesses understand the true value of marketing their business, they always tend to go nowhere. So pretty much we are a media company that has a marketing for black owned business.” Williams has worked with many other black businesses, helping them get their names out and helping to spread who they are to the world.
When it comes to obstacles that Williams faced during the conception of his business, one was issues with other black businesses. “Black businesses need to understand the importance of advertising and marketing and that you can’t do everything in your business for free. No one has really educated a black community on the importance of paying for advertising and marketing,” Williams shared. “It’s really helping people understand why you should be investing into your marketing advertising. They should understand how to get access to capital, how to build business credit, those types of things.”
William’s goals is to shine a light on the importance of marketing and investing in a business is equally important as maintaining a business. But overall, the maintaining and and investing has to be a collaborative effort. “Today, the new currency is collaboration,” Williams shared. “We’ve got to learn how to be more collaborative; we need to learn how to truly support black businesses, and not just when someone is killed by a police officer or someone has been murdered by someone who is white. We have to be down with supporting Black businesses all day every day as conscious as possible, but not if there is a situation to where a black man or black woman is killed by police.”
Williams manages his time well and owes this to his wife who also helps him run his businesses. “When it’s time to play, we play, and when it’s time to grind, we grind,” he gave the answer simply and directly. Being in the entrepreneurial world for a long time, he’s learned how to recognize burnout, times for relaxation and overworking when they manifest themselves. For Williams, his personal life and career are merged together perfectly, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I can, I will, I must, under any means necessary”, a popular saying by Eric Thomas, known as the Hip Hop Preacher, is William’s favorite quote to tell himself on tough, hard, and good days in general. Williams wants want people to know that his mission is to “educate, equip and empower statewide, one community at a time.” This being his mission statement, he lives by this statement daily to push through his business endeavors.
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