Insight

New York: the place to succeed

August 2018


Frank Sinatra once sang, ‘If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere’. New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world. It is the most populated city in the United States and home to the New York Stock Exchange, one of the world’s largest.

New York’s economy revolves around the financial markets, real estate, and the arts and entertainment. Although a thriving real estate market makes New York a costly place to live and conduct business, it offers a prime location and excellent opportunities for small businesses, with ambition and a solid business strategy, to flourish. Biz2Credit published in their report Best Cities for Small Business in America 2018 that New York topped the list for two years running, with average annual revenue for a small business in New York at $1,016,446.

New York comprises five boroughs, spread over 300 square miles. The population of the largest borough, Brooklyn, alone would rank it third behind Los Angeles and Chicago. New York has more than 120 higher education institutions. These include an Ivy League University, and some of the top-rated education institutions and research universities. There are also major medical institutions offering medical fields of study and research. And, of course, there is tourism; more than 60 million tourists visited New York in 2017.

So where does a small business fit among the large businesses, financial markets and higher education institutions?  The established markets and businesses in New York strive for continual growth and success and demand the best partners and support services to help them. A small business, with a focused business plan and strategy, can participate in the growth that has supported New York for decades. After the September 11 attacks, many thought the New York real estate market would crumble and businesses would flee. While some businesses did leave, the perseverance of those that stayed has paid off. The New York skyline is now dotted with cranes, reflecting the strength and growth of an ever-changing city. This expanding marketplace offers small businesses endless opportunities to develop and grow.

Some small-business owners might look at the New York skyline and feel intimidated. While it’s true that New York’s skyscrapers house many Fortune 500 companies, they are also home to thriving small businesses. There are numerous opportunities for office space. These range from small executive suites of a single office or two with shared common space, to specialised technology locations that rival Silicon Valley, to shared workspaces such as WeWork. Whatever business accommodation you need, you’ll find it in New York.

New York City is a unique marketplace. Yes, the costs are higher than elsewhere in America but the benefits of being in New York outweigh this. The endless opportunities to network and make business connections across such a diverse marketplace only exist in a city like New York. Also on offer are tax incentives for small businesses including Empowerment Zone Credits, jobs programmes, film credits for productions made in New York, Lower Manhattan rent reductions, and more. These incentives support and benefit small businesses, helping them to prosper.

With a population exceeding 8 million, and a mass-transit system that allows easy access from upstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, there is a large pool of talented people ready to support small businesses. The Tristate area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) has some of the most educated and gifted people that a growing small business could ask for.

Three airports, an Amtrak service covering the eastern corridor, and the mass-transit system make travel between New York and other major cities such as Philadelphia and Boston easy. This expands the marketplace for a growing business further, allowing them to develop into other large American cities and burgeoning markets.

The benefits to small businesses from changes to federal tax regulations are yet to be understood and realised. However, certain small-business credits and lower corporate rates, mean small businesses can make significant profits and invest the savings to further their growth and prosperity. Although New York charges its own taxes on corporations and small businesses, certain credits cushion their effect on business finances. Further, the opportunities that exist in New York outweigh any additional costs for any shrewd business entrepreneur that chooses New York as home.

For a small business with the right strategy and the ambition to succeed, Frank Sinatra was right. If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.

Author: Michael Forbes