CEO's Notebook

Some CEOs relocate for strategic reasons. But others do it for more personal considerations. Scott Gold, CEO of $1-million Brand Harvest, a marketing agency in Washington, D.C., moved from Manhattan to inside the Beltway to accommodate his wife's career. But he left behind a network of contacts in New York City, where his first business was based. After the move, as Gold planned Brand Harvest's launch, he worried about whether he would be able to sign up new clients in a place where he had few business connections.

So Gold began E-mailing his ideas to CEOs of companies he'd read about in the local business press. Even though a number of them weren't necessarily strong prospects as customers, Gold sent them his ideas in order to establish a rapport. One such E-mail message led him to his first client. Gold also modified his offerings based on the business needs that he discovered in the process. (For example, he added statistical marketing research to Brand Harvest's services.)

With each new contact, Gold set out to prove his worth as an ally -- again, regardless of whether the contact was a good potential client. He made it a personal rule to generate at least one business lead for each new contact. Over time Gold's collective outreach efforts paid off. In a few months, he moved his business out of his new home and into an office. Now, after a year, he has nine clients and five employees.

Moving a service business to a new city is one thing, but what if you're moving away from an urban setting? John Jandreau and his wife had grown tired of the "rat race" they faced Monday through Friday at their jobs in separate Massachusetts cities. The weekends that they spent at their country home in Glen, N.H., with its view of Mount Washington, were much more pleasant.

So the couple moved to Glen full-time. Jandreau, who nets about $100,000 a year from QC Systems, his one-man high-tech consultancy, adjusted his skills to the new environs. He brushed up on Web design and Palm-related programming. Then he contacted the local chamber of commerce, which printed a blurb about QC Systems in its monthly newsletter. The blurb attracted Jandreau's first Web-design client.

For Fran Holsinger, proprietor of Nanna's Picnic Basket, in Mesa, Ariz., finding new customers meant learning more about who lived within a short distance of her deli. Holsinger started marketing to nearby senior-citizen communities, posting flyers at events she knew the residents attended, like minor-league baseball games. After six weeks, her efforts hadn't yet produced a home run. But based on chats she's had with seniors who have frequented the deli, she's convinced that she's at least in the ballpark.

CEO's Notebook

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