On Location Tours / Woman-Owned
Tell us a little about yourself and your childhood.
I was fortunate to have a wonderful childhood; I grew up in Norwalk, CT, and have an older sister, Geri. In addition to my business, I love writing and biking, and have performed stand up comedy. I have two children, ages 6 and 1, and I live in New Rochelle, NY (Dick Van Dyke Land).
When did you decide you wanted to start your own company?
I always wanted to start my own company, but I knew I wanted to start this business in 1998.
Was there a specific moment when you knew this was what you wanted to do?
I would say that it was in June of 1998, when I was walking up East 86th Street in New York City and noticed the building from The Jefferson's.
After you made the decisions, what steps did you take?
I had a website built, I joined the tourism organization, got my tour guide license, hired a couple of tour guides, and wrote the initial tour scripts.
Georgette Blau, founder of On Location Tours
How did you fund this project?
I funded it with my own savings.
What were the hardest hurdles?
The most difficult parts were developing the company without enough supports (especially “human” supports of employees, even more than financial supports).
What advise do you wish someone would have given you?
I wish someone would have told me to hire an intern from the get go, or at least a part timer who could help me with the day to day while I looked more at the development and strategy side of things.
Did you have a mentor?
I have used a coach in the past, and I currently use a coach through the Goldman Sachs business program I am participating in.
At any point did you want to give up?
No! But there were times of major frustration.
How long did it take to become profitable?
It took me approximately three years to become profitable.
What was the best thing you did to grow your business?
The best thing I did was hire more tour guides so I could focus on pushing the company forward.
Do you feel it was more difficult because you are a women?
I would say that in some of the larger citywide business projects, that men are taken more seriously—I in fact have a character I always reference—“Mr. Pinstripe.”
Do you think social media is important?
I do think social media is important, especially with posting a lot of our fun content, and we have a lot of it! I think it’s great at keeping in touch with people who have already been on tours, in hopes that they return or at least recommend us.
Was there any life lessons you learned along the way?
I learned to develop a company that you truly want to “live” with for a while and are passionate about, since it will take up a lot of your time!
What is the happiest memory from this journey?
The happiest memory was standing at the Plaza Hotel and seeing several of our buses leaving at one time (especially since some of them were wrapped in our company design).
Where do you see your company in 5 years? I see us expanding to additional cities.