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So much so that he quit his ,000-a-year job after a few months to start Group Encounters, a social organization, using the ,000 his father had given him to pay off school loans.While de Lasa went to Barnes and Noble to research how to write a business plan, Graham Mc Aden, 28, a public relations account executive for consumer products such as Burger King, languished at his job and told friends about the "socializing service" he dreamed of opening."The old method of matching up singles--charging consumers

So much so that he quit his $86,000-a-year job after a few months to start Group Encounters, a social organization, using the $10,000 his father had given him to pay off school loans.While de Lasa went to Barnes and Noble to research how to write a business plan, Graham Mc Aden, 28, a public relations account executive for consumer products such as Burger King, languished at his job and told friends about the "socializing service" he dreamed of opening."The old method of matching up singles--charging consumers $1,000 to $3,000 for a contract specifying a certain number of matches--is no longer viable," explains John La Rosa, research director at Marketdata.

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So much so that he quit his $86,000-a-year job after a few months to start Group Encounters, a social organization, using the $10,000 his father had given him to pay off school loans.

While de Lasa went to Barnes and Noble to research how to write a business plan, Graham Mc Aden, 28, a public relations account executive for consumer products such as Burger King, languished at his job and told friends about the "socializing service" he dreamed of opening.

,000 to ,000 for a contract specifying a certain number of matches--is no longer viable," explains John La Rosa, research director at Marketdata.

But Bunker believes the two hit different demographics, with newspapers used more often by blue-collar workers who earn less than ,000 per year and Web sites frequented by white-collar professionals earning ,000 or more."Brick-and-mortar dating establishments have typically been too expensive for the average single, take up too much time, and, more often than not, turn out to be a waste of time and money," says Bunker, whose company's sales hit million in 1999.

A lunch powwow turned into a partnership, and by 1997, Mc Aden had matched de Lasa's initial investment and the twosome headed a revamped activities service dubbed Social Circles.

The service, which organizes outings such as rock climbing and swing dancing for singles, sends its members a monthly calendar detailing upcoming events.

"When we send people to a wine tasting, it's a wine tasting for our group and those 20 people are just from Social Circles," emphasizes Mc Aden. With estimated sales of 0,0 and a goal of .5 million within five years, Social Circles is among a plethora of profitable matchmaking businesses.

The dating services industry is a 0 million market and growing, according to market research and consulting firm Marketdata Enterprises Inc.

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