Step 7: Choose A Location

Marian Fletcher, Lets Go Party

"My workplace actually consists of an office in my apartment, an office in my daughter's home, and rented space in a commercial kitchen. I also work at my clients' party sites and in rented meeting halls," explains Marian Fletcher, 55, who's been offering complete party-planning and catering services to Baltimore residents since 1995.

"Before launching my business, I converted a small room in my apartment into an office, bringing in a business telephone, typewriter, word processor and other items," Fletcher says, "but I also set up a second office at my daughter's home, three blocks away, so I could meet with potential clients in a more impressive setting. Although most of my business meetings take place at my clients' homes or offices, some clients occasionally choose to come to me, so I want to make the right impression."

Because local Health Department guidelines require Baltimore caterers to prepare their food items in licensed kitchens inspected and approved by health officials, Fletcher needed to rent space in a commercial cooking facility as well. "The commercial kitchen I rent used to be part of a catering business, so it contains all the equipment that I need," she says. "It's just a 10-minute drive from my apartment, and I was able to find two other caterers to share the facility with me to reduce my rental expenses."

Although the logistics of working in a multi-location workplace seems to come easily for Fletcher, she is nevertheless investigating ways to expand her company's image and resources, hoping to centralize her operations under just one roof. "In the near future, I hope to relocate my business into a commercial dwelling, with my own storefront, where potential clients can come to me. It will have its own kitchen, and a display area where I can showcase all of the chafing dishes, tablecloths and other items that I use in my work.

"People who deal with you like to see a building with your company's name on it," Fletcher says. "It makes them feel even more comfortable when dealing with you."

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This article was originally published in the November 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Step 7: Choose A Location.

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