Moving a startup's HQ isn't uncommon. Some entrepreneurs do it as part of scaling, while others want to explore a different market, a few want to be in startup-friendly locations. If you're thinking of doing the same, you'll need to first identify business hubs where your startup will most likely thrive. The following four are a start:
Austin, Texas ...
Austin is not only the best city for startups, but Forbes hails it as the best city in America, period.
The cost of living in Austin is low for a booming business hub, even with the average home price at $394,095 (median rent price is at $1,025). The city is also “a hotbed for technology, startups, and innovation,” annually attracting up to a billion dollars in investments.
Austin has even earned the nickname “Silicon Hills” due to the over 6,500 tech startups in the city. This doesn’t mean, though, that only tech startups thrive here. Austin has an all-encompassing startup culture, with a vibrant community of entrepreneurs to help you and network with. Moreover, 'Silicon Hills' has a robust coworking landscape, making it easier for you to find an affordable office address, along with an incredible talent pool, just in case you need to add staff. You get all those perks in a peaceful and laid-back environment, where people are warm and accepting, even to newcomers.
Kansas City, Missouri ...
If Austin is called Silicon Hills ~ Kansas City is called 'Silicon Prairie'. Why is Kansas city called 'Silicon Prairie'? It's due, in part, to the city’s low cost of living (average home price at $158,959, median rent price at $808).
In addition, the city is getting better for early-stage funding, with accelerator programs, like Digital Sandbox and LaunchKC, giving more startups financial support.
Finding accelerators, of course, is one-way entrepreneurs can source funding, as we discussed in our 'How Women Entrepreneurs Can Secure Funding for a Startup post'. Add to the mix Kansas City’s deep pool of talent, robust economy, and the steady emergence of coworking spaces, the result is a city primed for startups. That the Downtown pulsates at nighttime is a bonus, as you'll plenty of after-work activity.
Chicago, Illinois ...
Betsy Ziegler, CEO of the local tech incubator 1871, has given Chicago a ringing endorsement. “We don't have it all [the things startups need], but we are pretty close," Ziegler explains. For one, the city boasts of a diverse and healthy business climate, along with offering plenty of fundraising opportunities like 1871, Lightbank, and Chicago Ventures.
Having said that, the cost of living here is reasonable, with a median home value of $226,200 and median monthly residential rent at $1,691. The city also has one of the best coworking scenes in the country. For many startups, affording private office space to rent or buy for an HQ can be a huge expense, especially if a physical location is not required all the time e.g. you run a remote setup.
This is why many startups are choosing coworking spaces as their HQ location due to availability and affordability. Many companies also have multiple establishments in the city with Industrious providing 8 coworking spaces in Chicago. This means that if you like a certain company’s setup there is a good chance you have one in an area best suited to you. This makes setting up an office space easy.
Other than this, Chicago has excellent academic institutions, where you can source talent when necessary. On a non-work related side, the city has a diverse food scene, as well as that hallmark Midwestern hospitality.
Orlando, Florida ...
You wouldn’t think of Orlando as a business hub, but it is. Last year, the city made it to Inc’s Surge Cities list, a clear indication that businesses are doing well.
It also underpins Orlando’s standing as one of the best cities for startups. Orlando's main draws are; low cost of living (median home value of $245,400, the median rent of $1,423) and the presence of several business accelerators and incubators, like Starter Studio, Orlando Tech, and UCF Business Incubation Program.
It even has a strong network of coworking spaces, which means you have lots of choices as to where to set up shop. Aside from that, Orlando has lovely weather, with no unforgiving winters. It is also home to a variety of recreational activities — the beaches are waiting — which will help you have a healthy work-life balance.
Each of the 4 mentioned cities, provide a top business environment for startups. Each city is perfect for being the HQ location of your business. Deciding which of the 4 Business Hubs suits your needs the best to move your business to isn't an easy decision.