Location is everything when you found a start-up. It may seem that in order to be successful you have to locate your new business in the heart of a metropolitan center. While locating in a city center has some major advantages, rents for office spaces as well as the general costs of doing business will be much higher. If you can’t afford to locate your business in the center of a major city, don’t despair. Today we will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of locating your new start-up in either a suburb or rural enivronment.
Often metropolitan city centers, such as San Francisco are seen as the only place to locate your start-up, especially if you are joining the tech world. Suburbs in this context might get a bad reputation for being the only option for companies who just couldn’t “make it” in the big city.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, suburbs offer a lot of the same amenities as major cities. These locations also offer easy commuting and often have access to public transportation systems.
Locating your business in a rural community, such as does not mean you will have an office in a cornfield. Most companies that choose to locate in a rural site still have an office in or near the center of the town. However, these towns might be quite small. If you choose a rural town that is within driving distance to a metropolitan center then you can still have the best of both worlds.
Advantages of Locating Outside of a City
There are some major advantages to locating in a rural or suburban location outside of the city center. Here are just a few of the most appealing:
Probably the most important plus on this list. Rents in both the suburbs and rural locations are significantly cheaper than those in big cities.
Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves. In some of the largest start-up markets in the U.S.—like San Francisco, San Jose (Silicon Valley), New York City, and Chicago— office space can go from $30-$50 per square foot. Contrast those prices with the cost of renting office space in a Chicago suburb, which will run around $19 per square foot. The cost would be even less if you look at space in a rural community.
Easier to Stand Out
In general, it is much easier to stand apart from your rivals if there is much less competition in a certain area. If you are beginning an online company this advantage may not apply to you. But then, online companies will likely not need a physical location.
No matter what your industry, in rural cities and suburbs there will be less people to compete with, which can help bring a lot of business to your new start-up.
Locations outside of a big city center are often very supportive of their local businesses. This is not to say that people living in major cities do not support local companies.
However, the smaller number of local companies in suburbs and rural towns make the people in them extremely proud of “their” businesses.
Community Pride can translate into profits. But, you could also see an increase in fundraising efforts and volunteering.
Access to Raw Materials
Especially if you locate in more rural parts of the country, you may have better access to raw materials for your start-up. Things like agricultural products and even mined ore will be easier and cheaper to come by in rural locations. This can ultimately help your business because it helps keep your materials costs low.
If you start a company that doesn’t need agricultural products, access to the raw material of human labor can also be a major advantage. Often, rural locations have a highly skilled and motivated work-force.
Most suburban and especially rural communities have less open jobs which means that your employees will not be as likely to jump from position to position. Keeping a sense of continuity in your workforce, as well as an informed knowledge base, will only help your company in the long run.
Disadvantages of Locating Outside of a City
Now, locating your business outside of a major city is not all positive. While there are a lot of advantages to this decision, there are some important disadvantages to consider.
Not as Economically Stable
It is a well-known fact that most rural communities and suburbs have less money. Not only are less densely populated, but their community tends to be made of middle and lower-class workers. This means that if you plan on providing a high-cost product, you may not be able to find a clientele in a suburban or rural community.
Also, these communities – especially rural ones – tend to be less economically stable. There are efforts in many rural locales to diversify their industries, but in many places the loss of a single company can spell ruin for the majority of the town. You could quickly end up in a situation where no one in your chosen location can afford to buy your product.
Lack of Internet
If your company needs a high-speed internet connection, then you will need to carefully research locations outside of major cities. Many places in rural America do not have any internet at all, or only dial-up connections. For a tech company, this will be unacceptable.
Always know your internet requirements, and research carefully before deciding on a location.
Where should you locate your start-up? Ultimately, the decision is up to you. We recommend making a list of your business needs and target clientele. For certain types of companies locating in a suburban or rural environment can save a lot of money and help scale the business faster. As mentioned above, there are a lot of potential advantages for businesses outside of the city center. If you can live with the potential draw-backs then we highly recommend looking into a non- urban location. For more information on office space for rent listings go to MyPerfectWorkplace.com.