Why Austin is a Great Place to Run a Small Business
Why Austin is a Great Place to Run a Small Business
If you’ve been paying attention to the news — or simply watching the Office — you’ve probably heard all about the population boom in Alt Creative’s home base of Austin, TX. With a thriving economy, a still relatively affordable housing market, a healthy dose of quirk, and some of the world’s best breakfast tacos, it’s no wonder an average of around 158 people move to Austin per day. While there are of course some negatives to this explosive growth (ever sat in the parking lot that is I-35 at rush hour?), this is nothing but good news for small business owners.
Let’s take a look at just a few reasons why, and how your business can take advantage of all our busy city has to offer.
Reason #1: That Growth Thing
For one thing, growth means more people, which means more consumers with a greater demand for an increasingly diverse number of products and services. Not all transplants, after all, have the same needs, and they want new businesses to fill niches for services they enjoyed using at home. What’s more, even previously flooded industries struggle to meet growing demand, leaving just enough space for a disruptive small business to get their foot in the door and offer a new take on old approaches.
Another thing to keep in mind: the main driver of that growth is a thriving economy, with many transplants moving for their jobs. From big companies like Dell to a flourishing startup scene, the business climate here is vibrant and varied. This means there are great opportunities for a diversity of B2B companies to grow in support of other businesses. Whether you start a gourmet food delivery business to supply mid-sized companies or contract out IT support, more fellow companies mean more opportunities within the support and service industries.
Reason #2: Talent
With growth, comes talent. Whether your small business needs entry-level employees, highly-skilled specialists, creative freelancers, or all the above, Austin has them all in spades. If they aren’t in Austin yet, they want to be. Austin’s largest growing demographic is the young professional demographic, who are bringing with them creativity and tech know-how. The growth among this segment of the population is creating a knowledgable, trainable, and affordable workforce to the region.
Reason #3: A Healthy Tourism Economy
With more than 20 million people visiting Austin each year, it’s no surprise that the tourism industry here is doing just fine. But even if your services and products don’t fall within the travel niche, tourists provide an excellent opportunity to expose your business to a more diverse audience of consumers. Visitors are also beneficial because, well, they don’t live here, meaning that they’ll take your products back to their hometown, where you may gain fans thousands of miles away.
Tourists also expose you to niches you may not have previously encountered as well. If, for example, you find your product selling like crazy specifically amongst a certain demographic, that may mean it’s time to set up a presence in that locale, or at least target those consumers in your digital marketing efforts.
Reason #4: The Networking
On any given night in Austin, you can safely assume that 1) someone somewhere is eating at a food truck, and 2) there’s networking happening. The Austin Young Chamber, for example, provides ample opportunities for young professionals to meet and collaborate, whether that’s through more casual events or volunteer work. Add to that the networking events at SXSW, startup crawls put on by places like the Capitol Factory, and countless niche lectures, discussions and events hosted through MeetUp groups, and there are ample opportunities to network the night away. Doing so will give you creative ideas for your business, increase word of mouth and land referrals — all by hanging out with beer and business and cards.
Reason #5: A Culture of Weird
The great thing about a city with a slogan like “Keep Austin Weird” is that any manner of, shall we say, “creative” businesses can find a willing audience here. You’re much more likely to see support for a local coffee shop, a bead store or a cathedral of junk than a Wal Mart. (Sure we’ve got the latter, but we were pretty much dragged into it kicking and screaming).
What does that mean for you? Well, if you’ve always dreamed about opening up a pet store promoting a grain-free diet for animals of all shapes and sizes, or, say, a fingerpainting shop for toddlers, this is the place to do it. Austin equals creativity.
Reason #6: The Community Focus
Austin is pretty much the epicenter of the shop local movement. Launch a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund your new venture, and you’ll have your funds in next to no time. But even more than that, Austinites love businesses that give back to the communities that support them — a fact promoted by organizations like Austin Gives, which celebrates business philanthropy. Not only is giving just the right thing to do, but it can also benefit your business, creating leads, further exposing your work, helping you discover hidden talents, and just creating good will. So if you’re a big fan of philanthropy, Austin gives a hearty “Yes!” to all that you do.
Reason #7: Super Quick Wi-Fi
Sure, you can expect to find decent Wi-Fi in every city (and most rural areas) you visit. But is it fast? Like, Google Fiber fast? Because ours will be soon, and it’s pretty quick as it is. How do you think so many Austinites work from home or run their own businesses online? A rapid and reliable Wi-Fi connection gives you more flexibility in how and where you work, meaning that you can be chowing down at a food trailer park while you’re updating your eCommerce shopping cart. It also means that, should you need to video chat with clients or employees remotely, you won’t have to deal with any freezing. Altogether, that makes for a better, more efficient way of working, helping you to focus on your creative ideas rather than on slow load times.
Reason #8: Low Cost of Living
Ask any Californian why they’ve moved here, and they’ll likely say one thing: cost of living. While housing prices are rising, they’re far better than in, again, California, meaning small business owners can have more cash free to risk on their operations while still enjoying a decent sized home. There’s also no state or local income tax, which also frees up funds, and snagging a business license is pretty hassle free. All in all, there are few easier places to get launched and keep those doors open.
From explosive growth to our culture of weird, Austin, TX really does have it all. In fact, the real question is, why not open up a business in Austin?