Location, Location, Location: Should Entrepreneurs Choose Suburban, Rural, or Urban Areas?

Outside-the-box thinkers tend to be the ones who take entrepreneurial paths. They are the ones who ignite change for the places they live and work. And, depending on their industry and location, these paths can look vastly different, which poses the question: how does an entrepreneur decide which location is best for a business? Exploring the advantages of each can help the entrepreneur decide which type of community has the most need for their ideas.

Many entrepreneurs flock to America’s major urban centers to find like-minded people. Silicon Valley, for example, is where the technologically-driven come to launch their concepts into businesses. Several other American cities are becoming hot spots for new companies. In these metropolises, the rising costs of living and competition are causing many entrepreneurs to go elsewhere. Enter the suburbs.

A study by the Urban Land Institute showed that around 79 percent of the U.S. population lives in suburban areas. As a result, suburbs are now transforming into mini-cities. In fact, between the years 2010 and 2014, suburban jobs increased by 9 percent while urban ones increased by only 6 percent. They offer similar advantages to larger metropolitan areas but with less stress. Suburbs often have more opportunities for employment, a lower cost of living, and a better quality of life overall. All the while, they are still easily accessible to the cities from which they grew.

Beyond cities and their burgeoning suburbs are the rural areas. While vastly different, they are equally ripe with ideas and need for innovation. Rural entrepreneurship functions similarly to that of the urban and suburban types, but with different motivators. Less populated areas have needs that are usually particular to their specific areas. Many rural entrepreneurs seek to fill needs in industries like farming or agriculture, offering new solutions to old problems and making their work more efficient.

Both suburban and rural areas have unique advantages. Each offers more affordable office space, lower crime rates, shorter commutes, and a better cost of living. Their removal from typical urban pressures means that less capital is required to start a new business. Entrepreneurs in suburban and rural areas have unique opportunities to create jobs by using the area’s raw resources. Less bureaucracy means that local governments can more easily support entrepreneurs due to more tax dollars and local engagement.

While the concept of entrepreneurship is similar in both suburban and rural areas, the differences lie in their basic structures. In rural areas, finding skilled workers and resources is not always an easy task compared to a more densely populated suburban or urban area. Given the advantages and disadvantages of each, entrepreneurs must decide which type of community would benefit most from their offerings.

Yet, as entrepreneurship changes with the growth of the internet, the location may not matter as much for new ventures in the coming future. As the internet becomes a major part of all business, location is less of a crucial factor in its progress. The internet’s accessibility and ease of communication make moving to a crowded and oversaturated city less necessary.  That allows suburban and rural communities to have more commonality with one another and perhaps even collaborate on new ideas for economic development.

At the end of the day, whether online or in person, filling the needs of a community is what determines an entrepreneur’s success.