Location, Location, Location: Finding the Best Hub of Opportunity for Your Business
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: September 21, 2010, 5:36 am
- Updated: March 28, 2013, 3:46 pm
W;re always hearing about the best places in the U.S. for entrepreneurial opportunity. From surveys to Census data, hubs of innovation and so-called-small business friendl- conurbations are constantly popping up somewhere on the map.
But no matter which locale you set your sights on, how do you know if i's going to be the right fit?
Whether you are starting-up or eyeing up a new regional opportunity, many considerations come into play. From market sizing to local unemployment rates; available financial resources to quality of life' finding the right city for you and your business is a big decision.
Here are some tips and tools that can help you find the right city for your business; set your business up in accordance with local government requirements; and get access to a host of small business resources that can help you thrive.
Finding the Right City for Your Business' Know Your Market
There are many commercially produced lists of small business friendly cities and states that you can easily search for on the Internet. These use a combination of statistical data, lifestyle studies and so on to help entrepreneurs assess potential business locations. And while these can provide a useful high level taster of potential opportunity, when it comes to really doing your research you probably need to dig a little deeper.
The government produces a vast amount of market and demographic data that can help you build a picture of local market trends, demographics, small business lending, and more. These include Business.go's Business Data and Statistics Guide, the U.S. Census Burea's American FactFinder (which generates a socio-economic fact sheet for individual cities and states), FedStats.gov and more.
This quick article explains the benefits and how to get the most out of each of these tools and other resources from the government: Need the Facts? 5 Sources of Free Economic and Market Data from Uncle Sam.
Understand how State Regulations Can Affect Your Choice of Location
Aside from market forces, there are many state-specific issues that can impact a small business and its ability to prosper' some of which are purely based on your business location. To learn more about state-specific regulations and how they might affect your small business, read:'State Issues that Affect the Survival of your Small Business
Once you know generally which city or state is the right fit for you, next you'll need to understand some of the variables that impact just where on the map you locate your business. This means observing zoning laws, understanding the competition, and knowing how commercial leases and home-based business laws impact your choice.
Take a look at this guide to Choosing a Business Location which includes tips for choosing a location in line with market forces and regulatory factors. You can also get useful advice and pointers from your local SBA office.
Getting Started in Your Chosen City
Starting a business in any town, city or state invariably involves a number of legal, regulatory and financial steps. From finding the right bank, registering your business, getting the right license and permits, and taking care of formalizing your business structure in that state, to name but a few.
The good news is that, e-government tools, such as Business.gov's State and Local Business Guides, have made it a lot easier for business owners to find the information they need, specific to their state, county and city - in one place.
With its easy-to-use map-based interface, the Business.gov guide provides state-by-state specifics about:
- Starting a Business in a State - A step-by-step list of what you need to do to legally start a business in that state.
- Operate a Business in a State - Covers tax requirements, licenses, state employment law, and more.
- Small Business Training and Assistance by State - Local SBA offices, SCORE, and local business assistance links for women- and minority-owned businesses.
- City and County - Digging down to the local level, select your town for additional doing business information.
Each state's Small Business Guide page also links to other useful Business.gov tools such as 'Permit Me' and a Loans and Grants Tool. These are such great tools that connect you quickly and easily to the information you need to finance your specific business needs and stay on top of all the licenses you need to operate legally.
- Moving to a New State: A Small Business Relocation Checklist
- Doing Business in Another State - It Might be Time to Register
- Selling Up and Moving On - Preparation Tips for Making Your Business Sale a Success
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