A Tale Of 25 Cities

Why Location Matters

None of this answers the question of whether location matters. Some say it does, in a big way. Abel went so far as to open a second office of Springbok Technologies in Austin, just 200 miles from his headquarters. "We're in the people business," he explains. "We felt clients wanted us to have a local presence to consult with face to face."

Service businesses like Abel's often need to be near customers, agrees Dun & Bradstreet's Geisler. Others may not be so location-dependent, except when it comes to employees. "For a dotcom business, it doesn't matter where their warehouse is," Geisler says. "But it does matter where they do their programming. The hardest thing is to attract programmers."

And your location might matter a lot depending on how quickly you need access to physical items. That's why Carol Fitzgerald operates her 22-person online media venture, The Book Report Network, in New York City, where costs are high but also where most major book publishers have their headquarters. "We're in publishing," explains Fitzgerald, the 43-year-old founder and CEO of the company. "We have to have an office in the city to get books quickly if they're being delivered from the publishers."

Managing a company of virtual employees that are scattered across the country isn't as easy as it might sound, Fitzgerald adds. "You can't brainstorm unless people are actually together in a room to bat ideas around," she explains. "There are moments when you have to sit down and thrash it out better than you can with e-mail."

Top 20 Large Cities:
1. Fort Worth/Arlington, TX
2. West Palm Beach/Boca Raton, FL
3. Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Charlotte/Gastonia/Rock Hill, NC/SC
6. Dallas, TX
7. Las Vegas, NV/AZ
8. Orlando, FL
9. New York, NY
10. Austin/San Marcos, TX
11. Washington, DC/MD/VA/WV
12. Phoenix/Mesa, AZ
13. Houston, TX
14. San Antonio, TX
15. San Jose, CA
16. Seattle/Bellevue/Everett, WA
17. Salt Lake City/Ogden, UT
18. Nashville, TN
19. Orange County, CA
20. Denver, CO
Top 5 Midsized Cities
1. Tacoma, WA
2. Charleston/North Charleston, SC
3. Baton Rouge, LA
4. McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, TX
5. Wilmington/Newark, DE/MD

Top 5 Southeast Cities
1. West Palm Beach/Boca Raton, FL (2*)
2. Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC (3*)
3. Atlanta, GA (4*)
4. Charlotte/Gastonia/Rock Hill, NC/SC (5*)
5. Orlando, FL (8*)

Top 5 Northeast Cities
1. New York, NY (9*)
2. Newark, NJ (24*)
3. Middlesex/Somerset/Hunterdon, NJ (25*)
4. Bergen/Passaic, NJ (31*)
5. Nassau/Suffolk, NY (35*)

Top 5 Central Cities
1 Fort Worth/Arlington, TX (1*)
2. Dallas, TX (6*)
3. Austin/San Marcos, TX (10*)
4. Houston, TX (13*)
5. San Antonio, TX (14*)

Top 5 West Cities
1. San Jose, CA (15*)
2. Seattle/Bellevue/Everett, WA (16*)
3. Orange County, CA (19*)
4. San Diego, CA (21*)
5. Sacramento, CA(29*)

Top 4 Mountain Cities
1. Las Vegas, NV/AZ (7*)
2. Phoenix/Mesa, AZ (12*)
3. Salt Lake City/Ogden, UT ( 17*)
4. Denver, CO (20*)

Best Bets
Small Business Growth
1. Nashville, TN (18*)
2. Las Vegas, NV/AZ (7*)
2. New York, NY (9*)
4. Detroit, MI (33*)
5. Chicago, IL (48*)

Entrepreneurial Activity
1. Las Vegas, NV/AZ (7*)
2. Austin/San Marcos, TX (10*)
2. Orlando, FL (8*)
4. Atlanta, GA (4*)
5. Salt Lake City/Ogden, UT (17*)

Economic Growth
1. Las Vegas NV/AZ (7*)
2. Austin/San Marcos, TX (10*)
2. Orlando, FL (8*)
4. Riverside/San Bernardino, CA (39*)
5. Phoenix/Mesa, AZ (12*)

Lowest Failure Rates
1. Hartford, CT (55*)
2. Nassau-Suffolk, NY (35*)
3. West Palm Beach/Boca Raton, FL (2*)
4. Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, NC (36*)
4. New Orleans, LA (42*)

*rank in overall listing  


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This article was originally published in the October 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: A Tale Of 25 Cities.

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