Ming Gregory founded Colorblind International three years ago in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Colorblind International is a dating agency that specializes in multicultural dating. We match people up who specifically want to date outside their race.
How did you come up with your business idea?
Well, after dating duds and spending thousands of dollars with dating services that didn't deliver, I decided to take dating matters into my own hands – I knew it just couldn't be THAT bad!
What were you doing before you started Colorblind International?
I was a professional image consultant and hair stylist in the entertainment field.
Did you have a partner when you started your business? How did you select a partner?
Yes, I have a partner. I selected my partner based on similar interests – for me, my partner was actually a good acquaintance of mine, polar opposite of me, but I found that to be a complement to the business concept and it's working out great.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
I would encourage young women to pursue their dreams and don't let anything stop them – not having kids or a husband or any other responsibilities. If you're not happy with the quality of life you have, no one around you will be happy. There are certain challenges being a business woman as there are plenty of advantages. In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons any day. Do your homework, learn about marketing, it's the lifeline of your business and develop a business plan that makes sense. Don't get too bogged down in the details. Put one foot in front of the other and the rest will come naturally.
Have you outsourced any portion of your business? Has that worked for your business?
Yes, I do outsource some of my business. Since we have so many service offerings - many I have no experience in, we've had to outsource relationship counselors, customer service reps and other consultants to help use our time wisely and effectively. It works because we use them 'as needed' and thus far it's working for us very well.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Yes, it's definitely worked. Many people find their news via the Internet so it's important to have a very strong presence there, especially in my field. We've used the help of a PR/Marketing firm to write up press releases, get articles placed and to position our top management as experts and thought leaders and that has been very effective.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
The only thing I would have done differently would be to engage a PR/Marketing firm early on to help with pre-planning and grassroots marketing ideas – it would have put me further at the onset, but we're doing very well from where we started.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Do your homework and make sure you offer a unique service that's not currently being delivered by someone else or if it is, find what your competition is missing and make sure you make that your competitive edge.
Thank you, Ming, for the great business advice.