Patti Stanger, the Millionaire Matchmaker, woos a new deal with Bravo.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Patti Stanger has mastered the art of matchmaking, both in romance and in business.
The 50-year-old entrepreneur is the founder and CEO of the Millionaire's Club, an organization that helps millionaires find love, and the force behind the popular "Millionaire Matchmaker" television show on Bravo.
This week, Bravo announced it was taking its relationship with Stanger to the next level by signing a two-year development deal that involves the savvy matchmaker finding new talent, creating and developing programming, and potentially starring in and executive producing a new series for the network. In addition, Stanger's wildly popular reality show, "Millionaire Matchmaker," returns Aug. 15 for its fifth season on Bravo.
While helping others find their soulmate is second nature to Stanger, creating her own company and brand took some effort. For three years, she worked nights and weekends building the foundation for the Millionaire's Club, before deciding to take the leap and quit her full-time day job as director of marketing at Great Expectations, a national dating service for singles. A third generation matchmaker, Stanger claims to have learned the ropes from her mother and grandmother who loved setting people up.
Today, Stanger boasts a successful company with 45 employees, and a television show that averages 1.9 million viewers each week. Eleven years after launching her business, she claims to have a 99% success rate among clients. With a bestselling book, "Become Your Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps For Attracting Your Perfect Mate" under her belt and an easy-to-follow DVD, "Married in a Year," the relationship expert's business continues to flourish.
As she prepares to launch a new apparel line targeting singles, we asked Stanger to share her secrets for creating a love affair with consumers.
Grow your business slowly. I started the Millionaire's Club from my home in 2000 and worked on a 'pay as you go system' rather than incurring a lot of debt. I had a home office for a couple years before I leased office space, and I relied on word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers rather than launching an expensive advertising campaign. I encourage people who are contemplating starting their own business to have a healthy savings account before they quit their day job.
Cultivate a culture of honesty. I'm very candid with my clients when I'm working to secure a match for them. I believe in being truthful about the person they are being matched with. I had one candidate who was gorgeous, but her father was in prison for tax evasion, and another who was a wonderful person but somewhat flaky. I'm always honest with my clients and I believe this is why I've never been sued.
It's so easy for people to Google (Fortune 500) information today, that I'd rather they heard the truth from me rather than reading it online. When my own engagement ended last year, I worried it might hurt my brand, but the month I made the announcement, seven of my clients announced their engagements.,
Extend your brand. In 2012, I'm releasing a line of date apparel that will be sold online. I worked for 10 years in the fashion industry for companies including Union Bay Sportswear and JouJou Jeans, and I'm excited to offer this new service.
Consumers will be able to go to the website and work with a stylist to find cost-affordable clothes that enhance their specific body type. We plan to feature signature pieces, so if you find a great top that you get compliments on, you'll be able to order the same style in different fabrics and colors.
Set yourself apart from the competition. My company has a very niche market. We work with millionaires, take on 10 new clients a year, and meet with each client on an individual basis, offering feedback every step of the way.
Some of our clients have spent so much time making money that they haven't developed social skills or a sense of style, so I offer image consulting, and access to therapists, and other professionals as part of our service.
Keep your social media presence real. I know some entrepreneurs who 'buy' fake Facebook fans and Twitter followers from companies, but I'm proud to say that all 140,000 of my Facebook fans are real people. I was named one of Forbes best-branded women on Twitter last year and I enjoying answering questions from fans and tweeting dating advice.
I also place a lot of emphasis on my company website since it's often my first contact with potential clients. I know other businesses who have saved money by going overseas to have their website designed, but I believe in staying local because if my domain goes down, it affects my bottom line.
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