Ask anyone who has traveled the entrepreneurship path, and they will tell you it’s not easy. Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats – accountant, salesperson, marketing guru, human resources specialist, etc. But for some entrepreneurs, like Jim Williams, president of Williams Telecommunications, the rewards are well worth the effort.
In 1992, after more than 12 years working for a large 2,000-employee telecommunications company in Ontario, he packed it up and left to start his own telecommunications business – in his basement.
The adjustment was huge. There were no paychecks in the beginning and cash advances on his credit card. But he knew he had a good idea – repairing, refurbishing and selling used telephone equipment — and within three short months he had enough clients and sales that he was able to move to a small industrial unit. From those modest beginnings, Jim has grown his businesses into a worldwide telecommunications enterprise.
“Prior to starting my business, I worked for a company that was the first to compete with Bell Canada after the landmark ruling allowed anyone to distribute telephone service and equipment. We were true pioneers in the industry,” says Jim. But in 1998 the company was sold, and after several years and many corporate changes, Jim decided it was time to branch out on his own. “It was the best decision I ever made,” he says today.
“I realized that there was a huge market for used equipment. Having come from a telecommunications background, I was fortunate to have developed many contacts over the years. My new business was in the same industry as my previous employer, but I wanted to do things differently and offer completely different product lines.”
Today, Williams Telecommunications offers a full range of telecommunications products and services, including the refurbishing and distribution of used equipment, new equipment sales, and installation and maintenance of telephone equipment. Along the way, Williams adapted his core business to meet the needs of his customers; buying and developing complementary businesses to the point where Williams now oversees operations in Canada, New York state and Chicago. With more than 140 employees and dozens of sub-contractors, Williams’s company offers solutions to every piece of the telecommunications puzzle.
According to Jim, the biggest challenge of running your own business is financing and cash flow, especially as a start-up business. “When you are starting out and investing in inventory that doesn’t sell right away, or you have to wait for clients to pay when your vendors are knocking on your door, it’s a huge issue.”
So what sets Jim and his company apart from the competition? “I’m very particular about our reputation,” says Jim. “We always do everything 100%. And I always do what I say I am going to do.”
Williams Telecommunications Corp., headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, is recognized as the premier independent worldwide distributor of telecommunications equipment and supplier of information and customer service. With the highest quality phone systems from reliable manufactures such as Avaya, Nortel, Polycom and Spectralink, you can be sure your company will be connected.