Our inaugural Small Businessperson of the Year award is proudly presented by the Small Business Center at CPCC, assisting more than 2,500 startup entrepreneurs and small business owners annually through networking events, free seminars, no-cost counseling, a business resource library, and tuition-based and non-degree courses.
There are a ton of digital marketing ninjas or growth hackers out there who can throw together some spreadsheets. But then there’s Julio Colmenares.
As CEO of CGR Creative, Colmenares thrives on proving return on investment for the marketing dollars his company earns. That’s let him bring on three national multi-billion-dollar companies as clients in the past year while creating a 10-person office culture that was on the Charlotte Business Journal’s Best Places to Work list.
Even though the company was founded in 2002, CGR Creative has landed on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing small companies in America as recently as 2016 — and revenue was up another 15 percent last year.
All that’s led Colmenares to be named the finalist for our Small Businessperson of the Year award in the Digital Services category.
Get to know Julio Colmenares better and learn from his success with these five questions. Responses have been edited for space and clarity.
What’s the first hour of your day look like?
The first 30 minutes goes fast helping my wife get the kids ready for school. The last 30, I’m trapped in traffic on I-485 and I-77 taking them to school. I can’t tell you how great being a parent is. I get the joy of my 8-year-old daughter, Camilla, playing “Havana” 1,589,133 times — while my son Julian, 10, plays “Finesse” 1,589,134 times. I’m just glad they’re not into Despacito anymore.
What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learned?
Build a team of thinkers. Doers are easy to find, and they come and go.
What’s a recent purchase of less than $100 that you love?
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Album.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
“Jack: Straight From the Gut,” by Jack Welch.
What other small businessperson do you admire?
Catherine Karns of WorldlyGoodsToo.com.
Photos by Lauren Rosenau Photography