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2 Myths About Business Locations

Location, to an extent, matters. But here are two things you should know about it as your company grows.

PHOTO CREDIT: MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY/FLICKR

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When it comes to launching and growing a business, location--as in physical, geographic location--is one factors that can get a lot of attention.

In some ways, this is warranted. It's easier to get early funding in some cities, and fact is that some industries do cluster.

But especially for growing businesses, some of the things you've been taught about geography just don't hold up when you get down to the cold, hard numbers. Let's take a look at two common myths.

1. Growth comes in clusters.

Yes, industries cluster. But growth does not. This is one takeaway from the Build 100, a forthcoming list from Inc. spotlighting U.S. companies that have realized sustained growth--the strongest indicator of long-term success, and an attribute shared by less than one percent of U.S. enterprises. One of the striking things about these sustained growth companies? They're located everywhere. In fact, the supposed hotbed states of California, New York, or Massachusetts all rank outside the top 10 states with the highest percentage of sustained-growth companies.

To be clear, it's overly simplistic to say location doesn't matter. The vast majority of the same cohort of sustained growth companies, in a research survey, strongly indicated they would not change locations if they could start over again. But it's well worth noting that being in the right city doesn't guarantee you a thing.

2. Boston, New York and San Francisco are the best places for attracting young talent.

Data from the National Journal shows two things: which metro areas' populations hold the highest percentage of bachelor's degrees, and how much the bachelor's-holding population of each city has grown over the past 20 years. Yes, the usual suspects--Boston, New York, and San Francisco--have each seen more than 16 percent growth in the percent of the population to hold bachelor's degrees since 1980. But no city has seen greater growth than Boulder, Colo., which boasts a 20.6 percent increase in the segment of its population that has a degree.

Boulder also leads the pack in the overall percentage of its population with a degree at 57 percent. Ann Arbour, Mich. (50.8 percent), Ithaca, N.Y. (49.8 percent), and Lawrence, Kansas (48.3 percent), also have hefty educated populations. Raleigh, N.C., is trending toward very educated with a 19.8 percent increase in its bachelor's-holding population in the past 20 years, and 41.3 percent of its population currently holds a bachelor's.

Last updated: Nov 20, 2013




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