With the premiere of the new PBS show Boss: The Black Experience in Business coming up next week, we decided to ask local entrepreneurs about their journeys in business ownership.

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Delceno Miles, Owner of The Miles Agency

Delceno Miles began her career as a political consultant. That role soon morphed into providing marketing, media relations and public relations services. Now in its 30th year, The Miles Agency is a niche marketing firm based in Virginia Beach that offers services in the areas of transportation as well as community projects with architectural and engineering firms.

“Just about 100 percent of my business now is referral,” Miles said. “I’m very fortunate to have great clients who I get along with very well. They are kind enough to renew contracts or refer me to other contracts.”

Miles has been the recipient of numerous local business and community awards including the Women in Business Achievement Award from Inside Business and the Silver Star Award for Jobs/Entrepreneurship from The Urban League of Hampton Roads Young Professionals and Tidewater Community College. In 2011, the YWCA named her its Woman of Distinction in Communications, and Inside Business has named her to its Power List of top most powerful leaders in Hampton Roads for several years in a row.

Delceno was appointed in 2002 as the first African American and only the third woman chair of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce regional board. One of many of her pursuits in community and charitable work, she said serving in roles like that are what really makes her happy. “Volunteering helps me recharge,” she explained.

She is also well known for her ongoing internship program where local students can gain real-world experience. “They’re out there assisting me to serve the clients that I have,” she said. “I also make it a practice of hiring youth from communities where I’m working. I take great pride in partnering with young people.”

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Business Advice from Delceno

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Randy Williams, Owner of Tally & Twine 

Randy Williams, owner of Tally & Twine Watch Company, began his business after seeing a need in the market for a new product. He wanted to find a watch that was more affordable than typical high-end watches, but still looked as nice and would be durable.

Though it wasn’t the first business he had ever started, he knew he wanted this one to be different. He chose watches because it was a personal passion. He began raising money for the business through a crowdfunding campaign and worked on growing it while still employed full-time.

However, that changed one day with a knock on his office door informing him was being laid off. Surprisingly, he said he felt relieved. “I now had the opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted to do and that’s to be a full-time entrepreneur,” he explained. “The only that I was worried about was going home and telling my pregnant wife.

The name Tally & Twine was inspired by an intersection in Portsmouth. When Williams moved to Virginia, he heard how bad the neighbor had been due to crime and drugs. “People told me all these stories, but what I saw was this big community of African-Americans who are now homeowners. All of the blight that was there before has been torn down, and now people have a chance to own,” he recalled.

“I thought that would be a great name to start the company with basically signifying that you don’t have to finish the way that you start. A place that started as very dark now has a bright future; we can turn things around.”

Business Advice from Randy

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Hear from Randy Williams and two other entrepreneurs during their recent appearance on Another View. Listen online now.

Watch Boss: The Black Experience in Business on WHRO TV Tuesday, April 23 at 8 p.m.