ABOVE: Danielle Montgomery
Several excited business owners were on hand to attend the Texas Black Expo’s 6th Annual CEO Roundtable and Elevator Pitch Competition on January 11th, at the Hilton Americas Downtown.
“Profiting Post Pandemic: The New World is NOW!” was the focus of the Texas Black Expo’s 6th Annual CEO Roundtable and Elevator Pitch Competition this year. During the event, attendees learned from a panel of CEO experts, such as:
- How to better utilize mobile platforms to market their business
- How to effectively monetize products and services
- Lucrative Facebook, Instagram, and database marketing techniques
- How to increase sales using social media platforms and E-Commerce
Hosts and Panelists included: Globalpreneur Marcus Bowers of She’s Happy Hair; Kim Roxie, founder of LAMIK Beauty; Bobby Bryant of Doss; and Real Estate Investor Onaje Barnes.
Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners also got to pitch their business before a trio of judges, including MaddHatta, Vibe Radio Content Director; Phillip Yates with Equiliberty; and Tausha Sanders, Founder of HerGrails, for the chance to win the $5K Darryl King Entrepreneurship and Business Grant, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank.
This year’s grand prize winner was Danielle Montgomery of Hillaries Road Interiors (www.hillariesroad.com).
The Grand Prize Package Included:
- $5,000 Darryl King Entrepreneurship and Business Grant courtesy of Texas Black Expo, Wells Fargo Bank and The Black Money Tree Podcast
- Featured editorial in Forward Times newspaper
- Complimentary access to all TBE 2022 Virtual Lunch & Learns
- Banking consultation with Wells Fargo Bank
- Corporate headshot with Right Time Photography
Through her company, Hillaries Road Interiors, Danielle offers residential interior design services.
In starting her business, Montgomery states that she wasn’t seeking entrepreneurship when she decided she wasn’t going back to her previous job while on maternity leave.
“I was chasing a sense of fulfillment and using my gifts. I was good at my previous career, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” said Montgomery. “I did a personal audit and looked at what I was already skilled at and thought about something I could see myself doing for years. I’ve always been a creative person and loved home design and furniture. That’s what led me to pursuing styling homes.”
When deciding to step out into the entrepreneurial world, Montgomery decided to ask herself what problem did she want to solve and what could she see herself doing even if she wasn’t paid for it? These were the biggest questions she asked herself before stepping out on faith. She knew that it would take a lot of work and effort, so she ventured out with those things in mind.
“The biggest challenge when starting my business was learning how to actually run a business,” said Montgomery. “There’s so much to learn in terms of running a profitable business and there’s so much self-work. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. It’s hard work that requires constant leveling up and constant self-work. Starting my business has introduced me to versions of myself I didn’t even know were in me. As I’m constantly learning, progressing, and challenging myself, I’m always grateful for this entrepreneurship journey because I’m not who I was when I had this idea a few years ago. I’m excited about who I’m becoming as I move forward.”
Montgomery states that she also had to overcome a limited belief in herself, dealing with imposter syndrome, and trusting her gut and her decisions, especially in the face of those who doubted her choice to become a full-fledged entrepreneur.
Of course, Montgomery has had to deal with a similar challenge that every business has had to wrestle with—navigating a business during the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic.
“Living through this pandemic is difficult to put into words,” Montgomery stated. “So much of how I operate looks completely different now, but despite the challenges, I will say that the pandemic has also directly benefited my business. Many people evaluated their homes and how their homes did or did not work for them, and so many of them wanted to repurpose wasted space, add function to their existing floorplan, and create work from home office designs.”
“The major impact to my business was supply chain demands,” Montgomery continued. “There’s no problem ordering furniture and items for your home but getting them delivered is an entirely different situation. Furniture deliveries and the demand for skilled labor really affected the timeline for completing projects. This required educating clients on the process, operating in patience, and revamping business processes to improve client experiences.”
All-in-all, Montgomery states that despite the supply chain delays, clients have been understanding and willing to wait for the final product to complete the vision her company has created for their homes.
Montgomery plans to use the $5,000 she won from the Texas Black Expo Elevator Pitch competition to improve the business and has sound sage advice for other aspiring business owners.
“Seek mentorship,” said Montgomery. “There’s so much to be offered with lateral networking and peer mentorship. People who are in a similar position as you, or maybe just a few years ahead in business, have so much to offer. They’re usually just as hungry as you are, have more availability to network, versus a well-established businessperson who may be getting hounded to be a mentor constantly. A peer mentor also has real time information and feedback for you. They have their finger on the pulse of current business. There’s value in mentorship at every stage. From someone who is where you want to be, someone who is in a similar stage to you and someone in a completely different industry that can give you fresh eyes.”
Montgomery also encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to stay curious about what’s happening, not only in their business, but in their surroundings.
“Consider failure to be a learning opportunity,” Montgomery concluded. “Trust your gut. Be flexible. Operate with integrity. Value your customers and their experience with your business. Set big goals, ask for help and collaborate as much as possible. Like Marcus Bowers so eloquently said … ‘Ask your neighbor to move their elbow so you can see their paper’. There’s power in teamwork and a whole community of other business owners and clients that want to see you succeed.”
Congratulations to Danielle Montgomery of Hillaries Road Interiors for being this year’s Texas Black Expo 6th Annual CEO Roundtable and Elevator Pitch Competition.
Please visit her website at www.hillariesroad.com.