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Should You Relocate to Launch Your Startup

According to the Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship, which tracks metrics like the average startup employment growth, how companies scale and the number of growth startups in certain areas, a handful of U.S. cities are the epicenters for startup creation and growth. The top-tier cities in which startups flourish include:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Austin, Texas
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Atlanta, Georgia

If you are about to launch yourself into entrepreneurship, you should be considering your current market’s effects on success: Do you have access to the funding you need to launch? Does the surrounding area include an abundance of your audience? Is your startup already out-competed in this region? If any situation is less than ideal, you are probably considering relocating to a more optimal area before launch — but is that a good idea? Read on to find out.

Relocating Can Bring Additional Benefits, Like Education and Networking Opportunities

Every city is different, offering a distinct culture, demographics and more. By moving before you launch, you can gain access to resources you might currently lack. Some of these will directly impact your business, such as an audience that is more receptive to innovation or more demanding of your business’s value proposition. Others will impact you and your ability to build a successful business—such as local networking events within your industry.

Yet, in most cases, relocation isn’t the only way to give your business and yourself these benefits. For example, if you move to California, you will have gained the opportunity to enroll in some of the country’s top MBA programs, thus bolstering your business ownership skills and increasing your business’s chances of success. However, it is important to note that you don’t necessarily lose these opportunities by staying put; you can also enroll in an online MBA from California, gaining the same benefits over the Web instead of in class.

Before you commit to moving, you should consider what benefits are guaranteed through relocation and whether you can achieve a similar outcome given the resources currently at your disposal.

Entrepreneurs Have a Choice Where Career Employees Do Not

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There are several good reasons so many more people are taking the plunge into entrepreneurship these days, but probably the most obvious benefit of owning your own business is the freedom. Unlike career employees, entrepreneurs have more power over the choices that affect their lives — most notably, where they will live.

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When a career employee is told they are being transferred, they rarely get much say in the matter; though they might have their moving expenses paid and enjoy a bump to their salary or perks packages, they typically must agree to go or finding new employment. Conversely, entrepreneurs (like you) get to decide where and when you’ll go.

Unfortunately, with freedom comes responsibility. Choosing to move might give your startup the push it needs to succeed; for example, you might move to launch your tech startup in Silicon Valley, where you will have greater access to tech-savvy investors. However, choosing to launch your startup where you currently stand might also yield benefits, such as uniqueness within your market or access to a familiar customer base. It is important to value your ability to make this decision for yourself, but you shouldn’t abuse this privilege just because you can.

You Should Use These Tips to Make the Best Choice for Your Business

Here are a few tips from other entrepreneurs who have been in your position and made the right (and the wrong) decisions:

Be confident that you want to live there. When you relocate to launch a startup, your business isn’t the only thing that’s moving. It’s important that you move to an area you will be comfortable living in; otherwise, no amount of business success will make you happy with your situation.

Consider the costs of living. Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and other metropolitan hubs boast many resources useful for building a business, but they are also exorbitantly expensive places to live. Since it’s likely that your business won’t break even for a few years, you should pay close attention to your cost of living.

Move sooner rather than later. The larger your business gets, the more difficult it will be to relocate. Therefore, you should make your decision before your startup launches, or while it is still small, if you make it at all.

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