For generations, New York City has been romanticized as the epitome of capitalism and the American Dream. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that entrepreneurs are still flocking from all around the globe, eager to benefit from the city’s vibrant economy and business-friendly government initiatives.
But many quickly discover that for all of the opportunities New York has to offer, there are equally as many hazards and pitfalls to watch out for. Launching your venture in the Big Apple can be a pretty daunting challenge if you’re doing so unprepared.
To help you get started right, here are five tips that will set your business up for success from the very beginning:
- Get Professional Help
No matter how diverse your skillset, you can’t start a successful business in New York City all on your own. If you want to do things right - making the best and most profitable decisions for your company – you’re going to have to rely on professional help.
One of your first steps should be consulting with a legal professional who specializes in small businesses. In addition to keeping you in compliance with local, state, and federal laws, an experienced lawyer can help you to choose and set up the right business structure, negotiate important contracts, and manage your liability and risk.
While legal guidance is a must-have, a few other professionals you want to connect with early on include accountants, human resources managers, public relations professionals, and real estate brokers.
- Search Out the Right Neighborhood
If you were starting a company in New York City a decade ago, you would have wanted to be in Manhattan. And while neighborhoods like Flatiron and Chelsea are still brimming with innovation, many entrepreneurs are turning to more affordable spots like Brooklyn and Queens.
In fact, both boroughs have seen heavy revitalization, improving infrastructure, and an increasing number of new businesses over the past few years. Recent redevelopment projects include the 300-acre Brooklyn Navy Yard and Long Island City’s one-million-square-foot The Factory.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation also recently announced, in July, plans to install high-speed fiber infrastructure throughout multiple outer borough business zones including Southwest Brooklyn, Long Island City, and Greenpoint-Williamsburg.
- Look Before You Leap Into Office Space
Choosing the right office space is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your startup. While a great location can’t guarantee success, paying too much for an office that doesn’t meet your on-going needs is a surefire recipe for disaster. You should be on the lookout for properties that are located in desirable areas with convenient transportation options and modern amenities that will attract great employees.
One of the best ways to start your office space search is to have a pretty solid understanding of your short and mid-term growth projections. Your startup might be small now – in fact, it may still just be you – but hopefully it won’t stay that way very long. In addition to office selection, accurate growth forecasting is vital to many other areas of your business like anticipating hiring needs and courting potential investors.
- How Does Connectivity Affect Your Business?
Nearly every company uses technology, but some rely on it more than others. If your startup is data-intensive, meaning that you rely on web access, VOIP, instant messaging, or video conferencing as part of your daily routine, you’ll want to find a location that has the necessary infrastructure to avoid internet outages and minimize downtime.
Startup entrepreneurs and small-business owners are increasingly turning to WiredScore to find office space that needs their connectivity needs. With their Wired Certification designation, WiredScore identifies and recognizes buildings which excel in service provider options, infrastructure, and readiness for future improvements.
- Consider Coworking Spaces and Non-Traditional Offices
If you’re planning for sizeable growth in the near future, looking for a cost-effective space to get started, or simply enjoy working in a highly-productive, friendly environment, joining a coworking community may be your best bet.
WeWork is one of the city’s most popular coworking providers, with seventeen current New York City locations and more in the pipeline. Their spaces are typically located in prime areas and offer membership packages ranging from access to well-equipped common work areas to a dedicated desk space, and even private offices.