Right now, businesses across the country are facing major challenges, from an aging workforce to rising operating costs. Just 80% of businesses will survive their first year, and fewer than 35% will last longer than a decade.
Fortunately, companies still can and do succeed. The secret isn’t game theory or hiring another consultant; it’s all about geography. These six cities are fertile ground to plant your new business ideas, providing your fledgling enterprise with all the tools it needs to succeed – from a giant pool of potential employees and to lucrative tax incentives. It’s time to put your business plan on the map.
1. Harrisonburg, VA
A decade-long restoration of Harrisonburg’s historic downtown has revitalized the area. While developers have managed to preserve the city’s 20th century architecture, they have also transformed the long-abandoned dusty halls of old commercial buildings into modern spaces for young talent and new businesses.
It’s a project that has put Harrisonburg on the map. Not only was the city awarded the 2014 Great American Main Street Award, but it has also become one of the top destinations for tech entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Forbes ranks the city’s cost of doing business as the third lowest in the country. The city’s dogged commitment to it’s goal of attracting more companies to the historic area, paving the way toward that goal with a series of tax incentives and commercial developments.
This focus has paid off, with the city adding 3.1% more jobs in 2017 alone.
2. Redmond, WA
This bike-friendly city is always a gear ahead of the rest of the peloton. Home to both Microsoft and Nintendo of America, it attracts more than just avid cyclists, with some of the most talented college grads migrating to the state to prove themselves in this city-sized incubator.
In terms of business climate, average revenue, and number of businesses per 1,000 people, Redmond is certainly one of the best cities in Washington for new enterprises. Redmond’s 6,000-plus companies pull in a combined annual revenue of over $7 million per year.
While the lion’s share went to area’s Fortune 500 behemoths, smaller companies also benefit from being able to cherry pick employees from the huge pool of talent these bigger businesses attract.
3. Lincolnshire, IL
Entering the hotly contested arena of Chicago’s economy is a risky step, one that has seen far more companies sink than succeed. If you’re not keen to tread water, Lincolnshire – an affluent suburb near Chicago’s downtown – is a far better option.
The Greater Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce is an active and forward-thinking organization readily available to help upstarts open their doors in the lucrative area. Not only does the region have a record low 3.8% unemployment, but groups, such as Lake County Partners, have a long-term plan to drive more commercial and residential developments in the suburb.
4. Bluffton, IN
The Parlor City made a name for itself when it became one of the first places in the country to have paved streets. Now, it has paved its way back into the history books as one of the best cities to start a business in the U.S.
With 1,000+ business generating an average revenue of over $5 million dollars, businesses in the area don’t just survive; they thrive. Bonus: The city is the second-most affordable place to live in America, with median monthly housing costing less than $580.
5. Gilbert, AZ
The difference between profit and loss doesn’t always come down to operating costs, businesses strategies and tax laws. Often, rampant crime can undo even the best laid plans.
Workplace crime costs American companies $50 billion every year, with theft and vandalism destroying budgets and wing clipping expansion. Your only insurance: a safe place to do business.
Not only does Gilbert boast record job growth and affordable housing, but it’s also the safest city in Arizona. Those low crime rates have allowed the city to ramp up public transport, concluding construction of the Valley Metro Rail extension by 2019.
6. Winchester, VA
Once a battlefield during the Civil War, Winchester is still a prize worth fighting for. The historic town boasts record low levels of unemployment, and experts forecast significant job growth over the next few years. The cost of living in Winchester is just 2% higher than the national average.