For many years, Silicon Valley has been considered the American center for technology development. Many young entrepreneurs believe that in order to be successful as a tech startup, they need to move to this area of California.

While there may be some benefits to organizing a new company in the San Francisco area for small tech firms, there are some incredible downsides. Intense competition, high cost of living, and high expectations for salaries can all make it more difficult for a new startup to make it through the early years of operation.

Here are five cities that make great alternatives to Silicon Valley.

Austin, Texas

For years, Austin has been known for its music scene, as well as its slogan (Keep Austin Weird). As Silicon Valley has gotten more popular, so has Austin. The difference is that Texas in general has a lower cost of living than California, so Austin overall has a lower cost of living as well.

There's a busy and vibrant worker class that employers can draw from, and venture capitalists are actively looking at Austin businesses in to fund and finance. If you're in the Texas area, setting up a new business in Austin may bring you some great benefits.

Miami, Florida

Miami is one of the busiest cities in Florida. With a bustling Cuban-American community and a large number of owner-operated businesses, Miami is working hard to put itself on the map for entrepreneurship. The area has a number of entrepreneur organizations designed to help get small businesses up and running and has also been noted for having a significant number of women-owned businesses that have made headlines.

For folks in the southern part of the United States, as well as the East Coast, moving to Florida to start a business might be fun and exciting as well as simply beautiful.

Las Vegas, Nevada

When people think of Las Vegas, they tend to think of casinos and gambling. The city of Las Vegas has evolved in recent years, due in large part to the work of Tony Hsieh. The CEO of Zappos has spent a significant amount of money turning the city into an entrepreneurial hub for the region.

Visitors to Vegas enjoy a wide variety of amenities, along with the business opportunities available within the city. Compared to other urban destinations, the cost of living in Vegas is significantly lower, which makes it a great place to find new employees without bankrupting your startup. Investors are paying attention to the city, and funding businesses there.

Houston, Texas

For businesses that want to focus on clean energy and energy services, Houston is a great place to build a community and a successful business. While Houston was best known for many years for its oil and gas companies, the community has transitioned in recent years to more sustainable energy companies.

The strong entrepreneurial community in the energy sector has also helped to build service companies and arts organizations. The University of Houston and Rice University are both known for their entrepreneurial educations, so local employers have great candidates to choose from for employees.

Denver, Colorado

When thinking about entrepreneurs in Colorado, many business experts point to Boulder, but recent articles have listed Denver as having more amenities and support for young startup businesses. Quality of life is a significant factor in Denver; the city is great to live in, making potential employees want to relocate there.

There are also fewer startups overall than in other hubs; there's less competition for the best employees, which can keep a startup's payroll more manageable.

Some fans of business in Denver have pointed out that the entrepreneur network in the city is still developing, which means that it's less cliquish than the already existing community in New York and San Jose. This can make it easier to get a strong footing and build relationships.

Not every startup has the luxury of moving to a new city in order to get its big start. With strong internet access and a laptop, most companies have the ability to work with professionals all around the world, drawing talent from an unprecedented breadth of candidates.

But if you do have the option to locate in a specific city, or if you are opening a brick-and-mortar store that needs to be available to a particular set of customers, setting down in the perfect city can be the difference between a business that grows and develops for years, and one which struggles and falls apart in just a few months.

How did you determine where to start your business?

Published on: Mar 2, 2017