Recognized as one of the country’s top advertising and marketing executives, Kimberly Blackwell is the founder and CEO of the award winning PMM Agency. Having developed a national reputation as a trusted brand and reputation manager to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies and influencers – she serves as a key consultant to C-Suite officers and Department Directors in strategic areas of MarCom, Inclusion & Organizational Effectiveness.
What motivated you to start your business?
I actually started my business as what some might call a “side hustle” in my twenties out of a one-bedroom apartment. It was an avenue of an additional revenue stream of income through consulting.
One day in a conversation with a mentor, she asked why I hadn’t gone into my business full-time. She spoke of the value, demand and business opportunities that she believed I could provide to major corporations given my unique business solutions and industry acumen. Years later, I took the leap of faith realizing that sometimes others see things in you before you see them in yourself. I haven’t looked back since and operate with the belief, that PMM is sixteen years young- and our best is yet to come.
What is the greatest barrier you faced in launching your business and how did you overcome it?
While early in my journey capital was certainly a barrier and scale became another hurdle soon after. Business was growing faster than the resources could support.
Do you have a mentor? How did you find him/her?
I believe in the power of working smart. I have learned from stories, mistakes, counsel and experiences of others and it has saved me time, money, stress and sleepless nights. Intent is pure; tough love is given “straight without a chaser.”
Feedback is constructive and in the spirit of development – as a visionary, leader, manager and individual. The value of mentorship has been priceless.
My mentors have been diverse and have appeared in the forms including clients, fellow business owners, industry peers and professionals that I serve with on boards. I think it’s been equally important that they represent an inclusive body of thought – some look like me and some do not.
I am fortunate to have many mentors, champions and coaches. Each serve different roles in my development, both professionally and personally, as a business owner, people leader and kitchen table.
If you could go back in time to when you were first starting, what would you tell yourself, with the intention of avoiding mistakes and heart ache?
All business isn’t always good business and it’s okay to “fire the client” when it doesn’t make good sense nor cents.
What does success look like for you?
Growing the book of business, value of the business, talent, succession plans and options for a possible exit are northward pointing signs of my success compass. My vision for business success includes continuous momentum and growth for PMM through existing clients, by enhanced scopes, and new business accounts. Expanding our capabilities and our footprint globally would also be achieved success.
As the business grows, so must its people as leaders in the organization. The dividends of talent development ultimately influence the trajectory of the business. Ideas, innovation and intellectual capital, each contributed by the people leaders at all ranks, will continue to point toward advancement
What do you to recharge?
Recharging is often a form of respite. Travel, reading, time with family and friends, being a spectator and/or participating in athletics are all outlets of R&R. I take pleasure in the values of “S” – spa, sun, solitude and sleep.
What’s your advice for a woman that’s considering starting her own business?
Your attitude determines your altitude. Stay focused. Stay hungry. If you want to be a bear in business, be a grizzly. Take a beast – like approach to understanding your business, your industry, your competitors, the marketplace, trends and key differentiators of value to your clients, customers and consumers. Continuously invest in strong talent, internally and externally as advisors. You won’t get to success in your business alone. You’ll need gladiators to fight the battles and win the war of taking your business to higher heights.