Should You Start a Business in New York?

New York City is one of the most famous cities in the whole world. Known as “the Big Apple”, the city is an iconic staple of pop culture—think Central Park, The Statue of Liberty, Broadway, The Empire State Building, and many more!

As well as being full of tourist attractions and culture, New York is home to Wall Street, the world’s most famous and influential financial hubs. Here businessmen trade, banks are situated, and the New York Stock Exchange keeps the wheels of global finance turning.

Although Wall Street is world-famous, is New York City a good place to start a business? Does the proximity of Wall Street help or harm the chances of new small businesses in the city? There aren’t simple answers to this question, but in this article, we will look into the different factors and attempt to answer the question of how suitable New York City is as a location to start and run your own business!

What Advantages Does New York City Have for Small Businesses?

New York City was ranked as the best city in the United States for small businesses in both 2017 and 2018, according to an annual study by Biz2Credit called the Top Small Business Cities in America. This study analyzed the finances of almost 30,000 small businesses based in the city! So, why is the city so lucrative for business?

A Thriving Real Estate Market

The New York City real estate market is booming, meaning opportunities for construction firms, contractors, plumbers, roofers, decorators, interior designers, electricians, and all other kinds of tradespeople. If you have expertise in any of these areas, the city can be extremely profitable for your business. From Manhattan to the outer suburbs, homes need decorating and servicing, and their wealthy residents usually have plenty of money to pay big bucks for these services!

High Levels of Tourism

As mentioned earlier, New York City is a hotspot for global tourism. In 2017, over 60 million tourists visited the city—around a sixth of these visitors from overseas. This high level of tourism provides plenty of opportunities for hospitality businesses such as bars, restaurants, and cafes.

It is a Hub of Technology

New York’s status as a hub of technological innovation means that tech companies can benefit from setting up shop there. In fact, all kinds of businesses in all kinds of industries can take advantage of the technology on offer in the city!

There is Plenty of Money in the City

There is a huge amount of money in New York City. This isn’t just a figure of speech—due to the bustling finance industry on Wall Street, there is literally a staggering amount of money in circulation! You do not need to work in finance on Wall Street specifically to benefit from this. The number of extremely wealthy professionals (such as stockbrokers and investment bankers) in the city has benefits to other local businesses—these people can often be found walking around looking for places to spend their sizeable wages! Just imagine how much a cocktail bar in Manhattan could make in an evening when the finance district closes up shop for the night, and the young professionals are looking for somewhere to blow off steam….

Business-Friendly Local Laws

The amount of financial capital circulating around the city is largely a result of business-friendly local regulations. Where other cities have more restrictive regulations on trading, New York has a reputation to keep up as a great place to do business! These laws are not just relics of the past either: the city’s commitment to renewable energy creates a sustainable financial ecosystem as well as an environmental one.

What Drawbacks Does New York City Have for Small Businesses?

Although there are plenty of advantages of starting a business in the Big Apple, there are also a couple of drawbacks that are worth taking into consideration, such as the following:

Plenty of Competition

Because New York City is so well-known for being friendly to business, and there are so many advantages to entrepreneurs of all sizes in all industries, there is a lot of competition. But, as well as competition from the Wall Street big shots, there are also hundreds of thousands of small businesses. In fact, there are believed to be over 200,000 businesses based in the city, with 98% of them having fewer than 100 employees.

High Living and Rental Costs

As mentioned earlier, the New York City real estate market is hugely profitable. While this provides opportunities for tradespeople and construction businesses, it does also mean that you will likely have to pay high rents or mortgage payments for your own home, as well as for your business premises. This may not be an issue if you are benefitting from the city’s advantages and making a lot of money, but it can provide an initial obstacle for smaller businesses.

How Can You Succeed as a Business Owner in New York City?

Succeeding as a business owner in New York City requires the same skills and actions as succeeding as a business owner in most other places. Here are a few tips:

Find Your Niche

Because of the competition in the city, it is usually best to find a niche for your business. Look out for a gap in the market instead of trying to compete with other businesses providing the exact same services.

Embrace Technology

Remote working and online retail have transformed the way many businesses carry out operations all over the world. For example, setting up a good quality company website and learning how businesses can use live chat and other technologies to provide great customer services is highly recommended.

Be Flexible and Adaptable

A company that cannot adapt to changing circumstances and be flexible in its working operations is a company that may not last very long. So despite the long traditions of finance and business in New York City, don’t get complacent—the world of business can change very quickly!


New York City is the largest urban economy in the world. This is due to a variety of factors and is not just down to the main tourist landmarks and Wall Street—it is also because of smaller entrepreneurs like you!