You can’t tell from the picture, but she picked Seattle.

If you’re the soon-to-be owner of a new startup, you may be struggling with where to start your company – will it be brick and mortar, completely web-based, or a combination of the two?

Here’s a checklist of handy questions to ask yourself when making the leap from common civilian to small business super hero.


Deciding where to start your company has everything to do with who your business is targeting.

Hop onto your favorite brainstorming platform – Wunderlist, anyone? – and start painting a picture of your ideal client.

Get specific, down to what they look like, what they do for a living, and where they live. If you find yourself answering “they could live anywhere” or “they could live anywhere in the U.S.”, chances are a web-based business could be right for you.

If, however, you find yourself fantasizing about clients who live “north of the park between 68th and 78th,” it sounds like having a hyper-local physical presence will be best for your business.

Don’t be afraid to do what works for you. With everyone going digital, having an “old-fashioned” brick and mortar business is totally kitschy and cool!


The best way to decide where to start your company is to figure out how your company is different from the competition. You can even use location – be it virtual or physical – to set yourself apart.

For example, if you’re in a niche where 99% of your competition is web-based, how cool would it be to have a physical location to compliment your online sales? If everyone else in your field has yet to make the leap to doing business online, be a pioneer and plant one foot firmly in cyberspace. (Wow, remember when we used to say “cyberspace?”)


It’s no secret that certain states have better tax incentives than others. If you have some flexibility in determining where to start your company, check out the rules and regulations surrounding startups across the country.

It may be much cheaper to start and operate an LLC in Wisconsin than in California, for example.

Beyond that, certain cities are just friendlier to startups, SMBs and entrepreneurs. If you’ve got a particular city in mind, be sure to research its:

  • Workforce education level – you’re going to need primo candidates to hire!
  • Potential for investors and startup capital
  • Cost of living – when you’re just starting out, the lower the better!

How did you decide where to start your company?

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