We're excited to welcome Kevin Williams, Co-Owner of Escapology, as Richland Library's newest Entrepreneur-in-Residence. His residency will run from January 15 to May 15, 2021.
In advance of his residency, we wanted to ask Kevin a few questions to help you get to know him better.
How did you begin your present career/profession?
I switched gears in 2017 and left a telecommunications company in Lexington to start my own business with my family (Escapology). I also began offering professional development workshops to corporate groups as they came in to do team building. I enjoyed helping my family see how business works and make Escapology successful. I had the opportunity to build a CEO peer advisory group through Vistage. I began that just prior to COVID in February 2020. I am currently adding the last few members to a Columbia and am looking at launching a second peer group in Augusta.
Was it something you always wanted to do or did it develop over time?
I chased the corporate dream for a while but after ascending and running a company I realized I would find more enjoyment building something myself. I enjoy the level of independence being an entrepreneur provides me, although the hours are very long.
If you could sum up your company's goal in one sentence, what would it be?
We tell our staff that Escapology is the Disney World of team building.
Vistage exists solely to help high integrity leaders make great decisions that benefit their companies, families, and communities.
What is the biggest challenge currently facing local small business owners?
Uncertainty of the business environment due to COVID, politics, and the economy. The phrase “unprecedented times” is overused, but true. We don’t really know how all this stimulus money will be paid back. Markets and real estate are at all-time highs, but how long will it last? How long can interest rates stay this low? Politically the situation is very volatile. We have never had to worry about human safety in an office environment before in my lifetime. What will be the long term impact of the disruption in the education for our children and university students?
All that to say the biggest challenge is…How does an entrepreneur know how to build a successful business when you don’t know what the world it has to exist in will look like?
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Lots of things come to mind, but this advice about decision making was very helpful…
If the decision you are struggling to make is reversible, make it quickly and keep moving. If it doesn’t work out, you can undo it easily. Focus on those decisions that have the greatest impact and are hard to undo. Be sure to get those right.
What do you most look forward to doing as part of your residency with the library?
Helping people get unstuck. Everyone wants to live a life of significance. Helping people make important steps forward and overcome challenge is very rewarding work and I look forward to meeting and helping an audience I may not normally interact with during my time as the Entrepreneur in Residence.
EiR Kevin Williams’ Favorite Small Business Book List:
Collins, Jim, BE 2.0 (Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0): Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company - Jim Collins honors his mentor, Bill Lazier, who passed away in 2005, and reexamines the original text of Beyond Entrepreneurship with his 2020 perspective.
Friedman, David, Fundamentally Different – Once you understand the importance of Culture this book is the how-to manual to help you intentionally build the right culture in your organization.
Grodnitsky, Gustavo, Culture Trumps Everything – Dissects why culture is the most important aspect of your organization and deserves you respect and focus as the leader.
Kubicek, Jeremie and Cockram, Steve, Five Voices – a practical guide on communication based on personality type that is easy to apply and remember.
Want to learn more about the library's Entrepreneur-in-Residence program? Click here to register for a Meet and Greet with Kevin Williams on January 27th. To schedule an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR) appointment, click here.