Far from Business

Michelle Arconti asked for business advice. Instead, she gets some divorce counseling. Arconti and her husband had split seven years ago. He got the business they cofounded in Newport Beach, Calif. She moved to Santa Barbara and started her own company. Now she wants to start another in her ex-husband's territory, spurred by a "desire for revenge." Would distance make that difficult (From a Distance, October 1991, [Article link])?

You'd have as much trouble setting up an absentee business in Newport Beach as your ex-husband would have in Santa Barbara, and after that you could proceed to screw up each other's lives and pocketbooks one more time. I suggest you take a small part of the capital required for a new business and hire a shrink instead. It'll be cheaper and should get the problem out of your system more quickly. Lee Crawford


Crawford Capital Management

San Diego

Consider expanding your business into Newport Beach, instead of starting a new business there. First, get a Newport Beach phone number and advertise in the local yellow pages. Arrange to have the number ring at your Santa Barbara office; you'll be charged for long distance, but it's less expensive than setting up a second shop. Since you're a three-hour drive away, bid only on stable accounts. Once you've become established in Newport Beach, you can open a small office there.

Enrico Costellano


Aspen Cleaning

Virginia Beach, Va.

Hunting Customers

Cody, Wyo., population 8,000, may soon get a new restaurant. Robert Haskell and his wife are planning to open one to serve the 750,000 tourists who visit during hunting season. What will they want, and how will Haskell and his wife reach them (Menu Selections, October 1991, [Article link])?

If I were you, I'd operate my restaurant not for the 750,000 tourists but for the 8,000 year-round residents of Cody. They will sustain you in the off-season. A direct-mail survey of Cody's residents should not cost much, and it will serve as an initial promotion as well. List the different menus you're thinking of offering and let them choose. After that, T-shirts, flyers, and ads in newspapers and on radio should help you keep the place full.

As for the tourists, "if you build it, they will come" -- and probably more will come than you want, no matter what kind of restaurant it is. Then, after tourist season, you could run a free "Take Back the Town" barbecue to remind residents that their restaurant is available to them again. George Duncan


Duncan Direct Associates

Peterborough, N.H.

At an industry seminar, I heard about a gentleman who was opening a restaurant with a small marketing budget in an unfamiliar town. He delivered a gift certificate for one free meal to every beauty-salon owner in town. He had heard that with all the talking that goes on in salons, salon owners would spread his name faster than any other advertising. And he was right; he showed a profit in his first year. If your restaurant's no good, though, the tactic could also close you down faster than anything else. Rebecca Antonelli



Raleigh, N.C.

Serve whatever you cook best. Good food of consistent quality, served efficiently in a clean restaurant, will succeed anywhere. D.P. Scholz

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Big Wheels
Carey Berg needs help setting up a company to export classic cars, but government agencies have proved useless (Stuck in Traffic, September 1991, [Article link]). Maybe he's asking the wrong questions.

Don't disregard the Commerce Department and the world trade centers. They can provide good long-term help with trade shows and statistics. In the short term, go directly to the sources that carry and freight-forward the cars you'd like to export. For instance, if you're interested in Germany, the port of destiny is Bremen/Bremerhaven. That port can give you a list of carriers and forwarding agents who can help determine your product's end-users. You can also go directly to a shipper such as Sea-Land Service, in Edison, N.J., or Maersk, in Madison, N.J. For names in other countries, contact the Piers Program, a division of the Journal of Commerce (212-837-7000). It will help you pinpoint product data, names and locations of U.S. exporters, countries of destination, and quantities of exports. Ted Hendrie

Managing Partner

MacNaughton & James International Export

Bridgeport, Conn.