Georgette Blau is the owner and founder of On Location Tours, one of the world’s largest TV and movie locations tour companies with tours in Boston and New York City. On Location Tours’ mission is to create tours that allow people to straddle the border between fiction and reality, letting them feel as though they are part of the show. The company, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, runs the NYC TV & Movie Tour, the Sex and the City Hotspots tour, the Gossip Girl Sites tour, the Sopranos Sites Tour, TCM Classic Film Tour, the When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour along with the Central Park TV & Movie Sites and Boston Movie Mile walking tours. Georgette is a 1996 graduate of Skidmore College in Historic Preservation (with an emphasis on Early American Architecture) and sits on the board of the Norwalk, CT Preservation Trust, where she grew up. She currently resides in Westchester with her husband Yoav, her son Benjamin and her daughter Zoe.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Georgette to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:
When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?
I have to say that my entrepreneurial flair first revealed itself in Third Grade when I put a sign on my desk and sold rulers at school.
How did your life look like before being an entrepreneur?
I was right out of college working for a publishing company for just two years before I started the company, and I didn’t like working for a company – I wanted my own.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
I am always excited about how I can develop and market the company, and that that is what motivates me to be there on a daily basis.
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur and explain why.
Creative: I love creating my own path and being able to develop and work on a creative business.
What were your top three motivations for starting your business?
I wanted to show people where TV and movie locations were; I wanted to create my own direction, and I wanted to have my own schedule.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
My number one advice is to start by wearing all of the hats so you have the experience, but then get help! Hire someone at least part-time or even an intern who can help you so you can develop the company at a faster and more efficient pace.
What are the three biggest challenges you have faced growing the business and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge was not having another company like my own, so figuring things out along the way (a lot of research, but also nice that I was the one paving the way).
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Digital marketing has really worked well for us, including Google Adwords and online press, as well as print brochures in hotels, since there is a lot of “real estate” for marketing the tours.
As you grew the business, what have been some of the most important leadership lessons you have learned?
My number one lesson was communication. A lot of what I did was keep the business internal to myself, and I had to remind myself that I had employees and they needed to know what was going on!
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice I have ever been given is to pay my tour guides well since they are the representatives for the company and the ones who are “out there” front-facing with the customers.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Wear a number of hats in the beginning in order to get the proper experience of all of the roles and departments, but then hire someone to help as soon as possible, even if it’s an eager intern.