There's practically a cottage industry that's developed around when, where, and how entrepreneurs should start their businesses. I've written about it myself, in terms of cities that according to a study offered the best access to resources and business environment. If you wanted to stack the deck in your favor, that's where you might consider moving. Or there are hot business ideas.
There is no lack of advice on where to begin so you can maximize your chance for success. Recently, two different groups sent over their lists of the best cities in which to start a business. From one, the top five were:
- San Jose, California
- New York City, New York
- San Francisco-Oakland, California
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Los Angeles, California
And here are the other's top five:
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Lincoln, Nebraska
- St. Louis, Missouri
Notice a pattern here? Neither do I. Well, technically, one talked about the best places to start a small business while the other provided its best places for a small business to be. Even so, it seems crazy, right? You're going to start a small business in one place because there's where you should start and then you're going to move to another place because that's the best place to have it?
Studies come out all the time. Different people using their own criteria make determinations as to what is "best." Is it any wonder that you get completely different lists? Maybe one of the lists, or even part of one of the lists, is really where the smart money would be. But how do you know which selection of cities or states or even industries will be right?
The obvious answer is that you can't. Realistically, you already live someplace. You probably have friends, family, economic ties, and many other reasons why you are still there. You've built experience in a specific line of business already, even if it wasn't some grand plan. You're already in a place. And that's the place to start your business.
It won't be perfect. Nothing ever is -- including the "best" places to start a business. The advantages of location can be offset by knowledge of an area, relationships with existing people and businesses, a stable life to help offset the instability that being an entrepreneur can create, and personal resources.
But perhaps the biggest advantage of starting where you are is relocation cannot be a reason to open your business ... eventually. Do it now. Do it on the side if you have to. Make the mistakes up front while you can. Get moving, and not in the sense of hiring a company to transport your belongings to another place. Maybe the experts who create the "best places" lists know what they are doing. But they don't know what you are doing and how you should do it. Only you know that. Stop procrastinating and get started now.