5 U.S. Cities Positioned for Business Success

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business-561387_1920By: Josh Gerth, Vice President, JLL

We have all heard the phrase before: location, location, location. If you have plans to start a business soon, be sure you have this lasting phrase tucked in your back pocket.

We’re in the era of small businesses and startups popping up all over the U.S. In fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that an estimated 28 million small businesses exist in the U.S., accounting for 54% of all sales. Competition for small business success is fierce, with an unfortunate 96% of small businesses failing within 10 years.

Before you finalize your business plans, sign an office lease and head down the road of entrepreneurship, choose the best location to accelerate success. You won’t have to travel far either, as the Great Lakes region is booming with perfect locations for your next small business. Beyond the finances, these cities are buzzing with new retail and residential hot spots.

Read below for five cities that are waiting to welcome your new business (and employees) home.

1. Cincinnati, Ohio 

Are you in the southern Ohio area, or looking to relocate there? Well, good news: Cincinnati’s economic success is unstoppable. If fact, its economy grew faster than any other Midwest metropolitan area in 2015. What’s more, the city witnessed a 2.5% increase in economic output (2.3% faster than the U.S. average), and was listed among the 20 fastest-growing regions in the U.S.

Still not convinced? WalletHub lists the Queen City in the top 50 best cities to open a business. The list was ranked on factors like office affordability, educational attainment and more.

One last shout-out for Cincinnati: in a recent study by KPMG, the city was noted for the lowest property taxes and industrial leasing costs in the area.

2. Cleveland, Ohio 

Cleveland is booming, and 2016 economic predictions show strong growth for the economy. This means more customers are ready to spend while you pay fair rent, labor and material costs, as Cleveland is the fourth cheapest U.S. city to run a business.

KPMG lists Cleveland for the third-lowest industrial lease cost, which makes rent and production overhead lower than other U.S. cities. Cleveland is at its lowest unemployment rate since 2007—proof of a strong, stable economy. In fact, growing manufacturing, housing sectors and payroll growth may prove to be better than the national average in some Cleveland neighborhoods.

Bonus for employee attraction: Outside of work life, the LA Times recently named Cleveland a “hot new dining city.”

3. Columbus, Ohio 

Located in central Ohio is the perfect home for your next business: Columbus. If you haven’t considered Columbus, think again. Kiplinger rates the city in its list of top 10 best cities to start a small business. Outside of work, the Capital city offers fine dining, plentiful shopping and trendy neighborhoods to explore.

Columbus also boasts a low cost of living, ranked on factors like housing, groceries and healthcare. Similarly, Entrepreneur tucks the city into its top 25 best cities to launch a business list. Ranked on similar factors, Columbus makes the list due to its established, thriving small business community.

If you’re an entrepreneur with reservations, that’s perfectly acceptable in Columbus. New initiatives were launched to help owners succeed, fostering a strong economy and business growth.

4. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit’s economy is truly on the upswing. An estimated 73,000 new jobs are predicted for 2016, proving that more and more business owners are trusting Detroit’s economy. Plus, economic development officials reported that investors have a renewed interest in the city.

On top of the steadying economic status, WalletHub ranks Detroit in the top 100 cities to start a business, and number two for the highest employee availability. This means an available, eager workforce that’s standing by to help you make your business a top-notch success.

5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

We’ve increasingly heard Pittsburgh’s name in the news lately, and all for positive reasons. The Men’s Journal recently listed the city on its “Best Places to Live in 2016” list. From a business perspective, happier residents flocking to the city equals more prospective employees for you to choose from, plus more spend at your new business.

Pittsburgh employs a thriving tech sector, affordable housing and desirable neighborhoods. And, according to the 2015 State of Downtown Pittsburgh report, the city has secured nearly $5 billion in investments in the last 10 years. With that much investment, it’s hard to deny that Pittsburgh is headed for a steady, growing economy. An added bonus, The Atlantic praises Pittsburgh for its affordability and mobility.

Related resource: Read our recent blog post about why Pittsburgh will continue to be a business destination.

No matter which Great Lakes city you choose, it’s possible to find business success. Before you make the ultimate decision to plant your business’ roots in a specific city, remember to do your research. The location of your business could determine it’s ultimate success.


About the Author

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 3.46.19 PMJosh is a Vice President in the Cincinnati, Ohio region which also includes Dayton and the entire Kentucky market. He is responsible for providing corporate real estate consulting services to clients, focusing mainly on their office needs.View Josh’s full bio or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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