Four Realities About Opening A Business In New York City

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In its long history, New York City has earned itself a great deal of nicknames, plaudits, and focus. While it may not be the literal capital of the US, it’s the spiritual capital; a city that never sleeps and always has something new to offer. Thousands of TV shows have been based in New York, further cementing its reputation in popular culture.

However, it’s not just pop culture that celebrates New York— the city is also known for its vibrant, lively approach to business. NYC is, after all, the home of Wall Street, of major fashion labels, and thousands of small independent businesses who seek to make their name on its streets. If you’re an entrepreneur with big dreams, it’s inevitable that you have at some point thought about running a business in this vibrant city.

If you want to make those dreams a reality, there’s a few things it might be helpful for you to know…

#1 – New York is a city of small businesses

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While we may all associate New York as a city that is home to the headquarters of huge, multinational conglomerates, this isn’t actually a true reflection of the local business landscape. In fact, according to, a staggering 99% of the businesses in New York state are actually small businesses, not massive companies with offices in every corner of the globe.

Obviously, that statistic is for the state as a whole, but it’s an overall picture that seems representative of the city, too. New York city is home to thousands of small businesses that have been proven to flourish in the area.

This is good news if you’re the owner of a small-to-medium company. Rather than the city being so large it swallows your business whole, you’ll actually be joining a long line of small companies who have been able to establish a foothold in one of the best-known cities on earth.


#2 – Restaurants have a tough time in New York city

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If you’re a prospective restaurant entrepreneur, then New York may seem like a natural home; the city is known for its restaurant scene, which is accompanied by a long-standing joke that there’s a new restaurant opening every night.

That joke is less funny, however, when you consider the fact that for new restaurants to be opening, others have to be closing. The statistics for restaurants in New York are truly concerning. According to, the city’s restaurants have a failure rate of over 80%. While the restaurant industry is always liable to failures, this is a truly worrying statistic that should give any prospective restaurateurs pause for thought.

While New York may be an attractive city to run a restaurant in thanks to the high population and tourist numbers, there’s no doubt it’s a tough ask of any business owner, so think carefully before you make the move.

#3 – You need to focus on the local population

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Talking of the tourist industry, many entrepreneurs feel that New York is the city for them thanks to the huge number of tourists the city experiences every year. While the visitor numbers are impressive, those visitors are already catered to by thousands of different kinds of businesses. Trying to capture the tourist dollar is not a great strategy for success in New York, because the tourists already have more options than they could ever truly need.

However, the local population of New York is still truly vast, and any prospective entrepreneurs looking to move to the city will want to focus on New Yorkers themselves. Making your presence known to New Yorkers isn’t easy given the sheer number of businesses in the city, but the likes of can help you establish a foothold in the area. This, of course, is one of the major upsides of New York— doing business in the city is relatively straightforward. Given the density of businesses in the region, you can be sure there’s plenty of other local businesses ready and willing to provide the services you require to get established.

So while you may be tempted to New York because of the tourists, you may be surprised to find its actually New Yorkers who offer the most reliable customer base. This is definitely an aspect you’re going to need to factor into your planning and strategizing in the event of a move.

#4 – Think beyond Manhattan

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When business owners imagine themselves doing business in New York, they will almost always imagine operating in Manhattan. Manhattan is far and away the most recognizable area of the city, and the one that feels so familiar due to the plethora of TV shows and movies that have been set in the borough.

However, Manhattan isn’t necessarily the best choice in terms of where you should locate your business. In fact, found that Manhattan’s growth was actually slowest of the five boroughs. Top of the list? Brooklyn, followed by Queens, Staten Island, and then the Bronx.

So while you may imagine yourself strolling the streets of Manhattan, moving from power lunch to power lunch, your best prospects may actually be found in the outer boroughs. The business properties and rents are more affordable than in Manhattan itself, but you’re still able to take advantage of the connection to the most famous borough. This is definitely a fact that you’re going to want to incorporate into your planning should you decide to move; Manhattan might seem like the obvious choice, but the statistics tell a different story.

In conclusion

Opening a business in New York is the dream of many entrepreneurs, but as the above show, there’s a lot you need to think about before making the move. New York is a city of entrepreneurs and dreamers, but it’s also bustling, busy, and full of stiff competition. If you do decide to make the move, then keeping the above facts in mind will definitely come in handy.

Just a regular computer user. I write for regular users like me. When we grow up we are taught basic security tips like how to cross the street. But we are not taught how to take care of ourselves online.