Doing Business in Small Cities

This is the first article of a new series on business growth. In this series which I have titled “Why start from neutral, when you can start from an advantage” I will be highlighting what’s great about running and starting up a business, “Of course, from an observer’s point of view, it is ironic that I haven’t build my own startup yet”

Doing Business in Small City:

Where is the best location for your startup? While the answer obviously depends on the type of venture you’re starting, a few universal qualities apply: affordability, availability of a talented labor pool, existence of a thriving business community, and quality of life.

In high-growth and more conventional businesses, many people find that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to selecting a place to start a company. People are being drawn by lower cost of living and better quality of life.

While big cities offer concentrations of talent and investors, new companies there face plenty of competition for those resources, and the cost of doing business is high. In small cities, new businesses enjoy lower costs and a higher profile to attract local workers, and may be able to get government incentives to create jobs; as many local governments provides incentives in-order to attract growth industries to help make their cities attractive.  

In smaller city, startups are likely to find skilled workers drawn to the perception of a higher quality of life (especially younger ones). A lot of people say, in rural areas, sometimes people are concerned they can’t find employees, but my humble experience is that the quality of life and amenities actually draw people to the area, and they tend to be underemployed. Startups might have a really strong talent pool that’s not nearly as expensive as in a big city. 

Also in smaller city, entrepreneurs are likely get more support from families and relatives and will likely to be recognized as backbones of economic development and as a potential employer for local youth seeking interesting and well-paying jobs.

All these factors can add up to significant competitive edge for entrepreneurs launching new companies in small or midsize cities. Location in many ways is a gift, because it’s not something that a founder or a CEO has to work so hard at.

With these factors in mind, I believe government should identify places where high-growth companies could thrive, taking into account factors that shape a city’s entrepreneurial climate, from the education level of the workforce to the amount of venture-capital investment to the number of startups.

To me, the cost of failing in small or midsize city is a lot lower than the cost of failing in a big city. Although it appears unrealistic assumption or expectation and does not reflect the challenges in creating startup, it’s still good for local entrepreneurs to consider all the other options. 

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