For generations, New York City has been romanticized as the epitome of capitalism and the American Dream. Entrepreneurs continue to flock from around the globe, eager to benefit from the city’s vibrant economy and business-friendly government initiatives.

But many quickly discover that despite all the opportunities New York City has to offer, there are equally as many hazards and pitfalls – especially when it come to setting up shop in your first office. Launching your venture in the Big Apple can be a daunting challenge if you’re unprepared.

Here are five tips that will set your business up for success, right from the very beginning:

1. Get Professional Help

No matter how diverse your skill set, you can’t start a successful business in New York City on your own. If you want to do things right – making the best and most profitable decisions for your company – you will have to rely on professional help.

One of your first steps should be consulting with a legal professional who specializes in small businesses. In addition to keeping you in compliance with local, state, and federal laws, an experienced lawyer can help you to choose and set up the right business structure, negotiate important contracts, and manage your liability and risk.

While legal guidance is a must-have, other professionals you should connect with early on include accountants, human resources managers, public relations professionals, and real estate brokers.

2. Seek Out the Right Neighborhood

If you were starting a company in New York City a decade ago, Manhattan would have been your location of choice. While neighborhoods like Flatiron and Chelsea are still brimming with innovation, many entrepreneurs are turning to more affordable areas such as Brooklyn and Queens.

Over the past few years, both Brooklyn and Queens have seen strong revitalization, improving infrastructure, and a growing number of new businesses. Recent redevelopment projects include the 300-acre Brooklyn Navy Yard and Long Island City’s one-million-square-foot The Factory. The New York City Economic Development Corporation also recently announced plans to install high-speed fiber infrastructure throughout multiple outer borough business zones including Southwest Brooklyn, Long Island City, and Greenpoint-Williamsburg.

3. Look Before You Leap Into Office Space

Choosing the right office space for your startup is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. While a great location can’t guarantee success, paying too much for an office that doesn’t meet your ongoing needs is a surefire recipe for disaster. Look for properties that are located in desirable areas with convenient transportation options and modern amenities that will attract great employees.

Be sure to use and explore Internet Listing Services, like CommercialCafe. ILSs aggregate and centralize listings from many brokerages, creating a one-stop-shop for people and businesses looking to lease or purchase office space.

Understanding your short- and mid-term growth projections is a crucial first step in your search for office space. Your startup might be small now – in fact, it may still only be you – but hopefully it won’t stay that way for long. In addition to office selection, accurate growth forecasting is vital to many other areas of your business, like anticipating hiring needs and courting potential investors.

4. Understand How Connectivity Affects Your Business

Nearly every company uses technology, but some rely on it more than others. If your startup is data-intensive, meaning you rely on web access, VoIP, instant messaging, or video conferencing as part of your daily routine, you’ll want to find a location that has the necessary tech infrastructure to avoid Internet outages and minimize potential downtime.

Startup entrepreneurs and small-business owners are increasingly turning to WiredScore to find office space that meets their connectivity needs. Using their Wired Certified seal, WiredScore identifies and recognizes buildings with the best possible tech capabilities, including service provider options, infrastructure, and readiness for future improvements.

5. Consider Coworking Spaces and Non-Traditional Offices

If you’re planning for sizable growth in the near future, looking for cost-effective space to get started, or you simply enjoy working in a highly-productive, friendly environment, a coworking space may be your best bet.

WeWork is one of the city’s most popular coworking providers, with 68 current New York City locations. Their spaces are typically located in prime areas and offer membership packages ranging from access to well-equipped common work areas to a dedicated desk space and even private offices. Other companies like PivotDesk connect small businesses with existing companies who have extra space to let on a monthly basis.

By taking these factors into consideration when looking to secure your first office space, you will set your startup up for success with the best connectivity and the most desirable amenities that attract top talent.

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