best city to start a business us new york

From restaurateurs to startup entrepreneurs, UENI helps thousands of American business owners to thrive in the digital space. This means we’ve had the opportunity to talk to them about the issues that matter to them, whether it’s the regulatory challenges facing small US business owners, the art of branding, or how to generate sales.

When it comes to starting a business, one of the most important things to consider is undoubtedly location. This month, we asked over a thousand of our website owners about the best city to start a US business. Drawing on their insights, we’ve identified some great opportunities for anyone looking to expand or start a business.

Wherever you choose to run your business, UENI can help you to get you some local attention. With our expert knowledge of search and web design, we can build you the perfect website that will get you noticed by the people who matter.

Best city to start a business US: the results

We conducted a survey of over 1000 business owners to determine the best city to start a US business. Ranging from hairdressers to physicians, our business owners identified a range of common factors to consider when opening a business: access to funding, customer base, local resources, affordability of premises and local taxes.

Coming from across the US, our business owners rated New York (22%), Atlanta (15%), Los Angeles (10%), Houston (6.5%) and Dallas (5%) as their top five locations to open a business.

Here’s our definitive ranking of the best cities to start a US business:

1. New York

2. Atlanta

3. Los Angeles

4. Houston

5. Dallas

6. Chicago

7. Miami

8. Las Vegas

9. Philadelphia

10. Detroit

11. Nashville

12. Washington DC

13. Boston

14. Orlando

15. Kansas City

16. Tampa

17. Denver

18. Phoenix

19. Charlotte

20. Seattle

21. Austin

22. Cleveland

23. San Antonio

24. Jacksonville

25. Columbus

Hotspots to head for

As well as asking respondents which location was the best city to start a US business, we also asked why. The survey identified the main factors that influence where people locate their businesses. Funding, customers, resources, offices and taxes, were all particularly influential.

There were some interesting results in the mix and although the big-name cities dominate, the survey also suggests that US business owners value different cities for different things. Coming from people who’ve built successful businesses, this information has helped us to identify some of the best hidden hotspots to start a business.

Best city to start a business US: location factors

RankingTop for fundingTop for customersTop for resourcesTop for officesTop for taxes
1New YorkNew YorkNew YorkNew YorkHouston
2AtlantaAtlantaAtlantaAtlantaDallas and Las Vegas
3Los AngelesLos AngelesLos AngelesLos AngelesNew York and Atlanta
4 Houston HoustonHoustonHouston
5 Dallas DallasDallasDallas 
Hotspot Boston Nashville Philadelphia DetroitLas Vegas

Best city to start a UK business: hotspots for funding

1. New York

2. Atlanta

3. Los Angeles

4. Houston

5. Dallas

Funding hotspot: Boston

best city to start a business us boston

When you consider Boston’s main industries – finance, professional services, defense, pharmaceuticals and higher education – it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of money flowing into the city. There’s an excellent entrepreneurial ecosystem with a vibrant venture and profitable private-equity community. The city has an innovative legacy, hosting Alexander Graham Bell’s first ever phone call. These days it’s best known for biotech.

Best city to start a UK business: hotspots for customers

1. New York

2. Atlanta

3. Los Angeles

4. Houston

5. Dallas

Customer hotspot: Nashville

best city to start a business us nashville

Nashville was once famous for hosting healthcare brands and a multimillion dollar music industry. In recent years, the city has become a popular place with big names such as Eventbrite, Google, Lyft, Postmates and Houzz relocating to Tennessean headquarters over the past decade. A vibrant urban culture and a low unemployment rate have proved a hit with millenials drawn to live and work in the city, supporting a growing tech services and software sector.

Best city to start a UK business: hotspots for resources

1. New York

2. Atlanta

3. Los Angeles

4. Houston

5. Dallas

Resource hotspot: Philadelphia

best city to start a business us philadelphia

Philadelphia is a city where traditional tried-and-tested brick and mortar businesses sit comfortably alongside more innovative and off-the-wall operations. How are they all able to survive? A combination of stimulating startup culture and an abundance of more traditional resources. From newfangled ideas like business incubators and co-working to a generous government support infrastructure, the city has a wealth of resources to fit many sizes.

Best city to start a UK business: hotspots for offices

1. New York

2. Atlanta

3. Los Angeles

4. Houston

5. Dallas

Affordable office hotspot: Detroit

best city to start a business us detroit

Once considered a paragon of industry, Detroit has been hit hard by the decline of American manufacturing. But in failure lies opportunity. There’s been a concerted effort to reinvent the city as a small business-friendly space. And business leaders and politicians leading these efforts have plenty to draw on, not least inexpensive rents. As well as affordable office space, there are also ample government resources, a vibrant business community and a pool of talented workers.

Best city to start a UK business: hotspots for cheap taxes

1. Houston

2. Dallas and Las Vegas (equal)

3. New York and Atlanta (equal)

Tax hotspot: Las Vegas

best city to start a business us las vegas

Nevada has put a lot of energy into simplifying and streamlining its taxation system to attract businesses from around the country. It’s one of four states without personal or corporate income tax. As well as this, it also boasts a range of tax abatements. Living costs are lower across the state, which is an advantage for attracting employees and customers alike. All of these factors make the state’s most populous city a strong candidate for starting any business. And still more so when you consider the torrent of tourism the city generates.

Think outside the big business bubbles

Cities like Las Vegas, Detroit, Philadelphia, Nashville and Boston all have their own unique advantages for the savvy business person. When it comes to choosing the best city to start a US business, the real lesson is that you can cut down on competition if you’re willing to think outside the mega business monoliths: New York, Atlanta and LA.

And if you really want to broaden your horizons, think globally. If you’re looking to set up abroad, check out our earlier survey, where our clients voted on the World’s Best Business Locations.

Ollie Collard
Ollie Collard
Ollie is an experienced B2B copywriter with a commitment to creating clever copy and providing actionable advice on digital media for small businesses.

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