Starting a New Business

New York City is one of the BEST cities for Small Business

Yes, that’s right, high-tax, high minimum wage, worker-friendly, widely diverse, New York City, is the #1 best city for small business.

Yes, that’s right, high-tax, high minimum wage, worker-friendly, widely diverse, New York City, is #2 best city for small business according to Small Business Trends (SBT).  In their article, “Best Cities for Small Business”, SBT explains why New York City is the second best city for small businesses.

“[I]t’s easy to think of New York City as huge and focused on big businesses. But this city is also big for small businesses.  A total of 411,323 small business owners live and work in the metro area, making up 2.03% of the total population.  Leading industries are professional, scientific, and technical services.
Small Business Trends

While it may seem large and intimidating to some in other parts of the country, local entrepreneurs tout the support system for small businesses. 

“You’ve got the NYC Department of Small Business Services all the way to an SBA office, a SCORE office, and a huge menu of entrepreneur and small business organizations” ready to help small businesses succeed.
Small Business Trends

SBT stated that

“the rankings reflect the percentage of small businesses to the overall population in metropolitan areas of the United States with over 50,000 people.  We also identify factors such as industry clusters, lifestyle, infrastructure, costs, workforce availability, and a thriving entrepreneurial community nearby”.
Small Business Trends

Why is ProStrategix Proud to be in, and to serve New York City Small Business?

New York City has the largest concentration of small businesses in the country.  In fact, there are nearly 600,000 small businesses in the New York City Metro Area. 400,000 of which are in the 5 boroughs. Despite all the negative hype to the contrary, New York City has a thriving and successful small business community.  So, it begs the question why?

New York City has one of the most educated populations – both by percentage and by sheer number

Importantly, 16.2% of New Yorker’s over the age of 25 have post-graduate degree.  That’s over 2.2 Million people.  As a result, that’s larger than the total populations of some mid-size cities like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.  In addition, many of these professionals are entrepreneurs, or provide professional, scientific, and technical services. More importantly, they tend to lead most New York City start-ups and small businesses.

New York City has one of the most diverse small business communities

In contrast to most major cities, only 68% of New York City businesses are owned by whites.  The remainder are nearly evenly split between Asians, African-Americans, and Hispanics.   This still doesn’t reflect the racial mix of the city. However, it is much more diverse than most any other city in the country.   In fact, this diversity enables New York City small businesses to meld influences from across the globe.  Thus, this fusion of cultures often leads to unexpected and creative ideas.

New York City has one of the highest numbers of foreign born citizens

In fact, 29% of New Yorker’s were born outside of the US.  That’s over 5.5 million people.  Importantly, that’s more than the total population of large cities like Boston, Phoenix, and San Francisco. 

Why is that an advantage?  Most importantly, it’s a steady stream of skilled and unskilled labor. Most successful New York City small businesses capitalize on this source talent. 

Some people see immigration in a negative light.  But, to leave your own home and come to a strange and unfamiliar place takes courage and a willingness to take risk.  Both characteristics are highly valued by entrepreneurs.  Risk taking is what drives the majority of  successful New York City small businesses and start-ups.

Is It Hard to be Successful Small Business in New York City?  You bet.

New York City is a fast-paced, highly-competitive place, with high operating costs due to rent, labor, and taxes.  But, there are smart things all successful New York City small businesses can do:

First, have a rock-solid business model

There’s not a lot of room for error.  Costs are high.  Therefore, you need to make sure the revenue will be there, how it’s generated, and how things are spent.

Second, have strong financial controls & a solid business plan

Again, the margin of error is small.  Thus, not having enough control over your revenues and costs can get you into trouble quickly.

Third, have a solid marketing plan

There’s a lot of noise.  Therefore, you need to make sure you can cut through it.

Finally, get help

There are a number of free, like SCORE, and paid sources, like ProStrategix, that can help you.  With margins of error so tight, there’s not a lot of room for trial and error.

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About the Author

Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkedIn profile

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