The top US cities for business prosperity in 2014
Where could your business or future business succeed in 2014? Some promising opportunities exist across the country, for businesses of all sizes and risk levels.
From Silicon Valley to America's Heartland, the following five American cities could be the ticket to business success in 2014:
1. Des Moines, Iowa
Ranking first overall by Forbes for the Best Place for Business and Careers in 2013, Des Moines is another favorite heading into 2014 due to lower business costs.
At 17 percent below the national average, businesses can get started with less capital in a city that has the highest concentration of financial services employment - also according to Forbes. Add a lower cost of living, and you have a recipe for business success.
2. Austin, Texas
It's not just the food. Austin is an excellent spot for young professionals, and has landed the top spot as Most Business-Friendly city from CNN Money, due to its arts and culture.
Particularly noteworthy is Austin's cost of living, which is at seven percent lower than the national average.
As the home of the South by Southwest conference that features entertainment, music, and technology, it is only natural that businesses are drawn to the business climate in Austin - as well the climate itself.
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3. Raleigh, North Carolina
This North Carolina city has always caught the eye of entrepreneurs, due to a highly educated workforce and high quality family life. Of course, Research Triangle Park also brings a lot to the table.
The area also boasts an impressive education system, with the likes of Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina in the immediate to surrounding area. High research produces a nice pool of graduates that can boost local businesses looking to grow.
4. San Francisco, California
In a city that is filled with investors, opportunities, and an array of skilled workers, San Francisco is always going to be on this type of list.
Kiplinger reports that the city had $4.4 billion in start-up funds through the first nine months of 2012, which was 21.9 percent of the country's venture capital investments and $1.2 billion more than the next area (San Jose).
And while San Francisco isn't winning awards for its cost of living, the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area provides one of the most interesting business opportunities in the country.
5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Could Pittsburgh be that diamond in the rough? With a healthy dose of entrepreneurial resources in the area, that could be the case.
Pittsburgh has tech start-up accelerator AlphaLab, the Allegheny Conference of Community Development, state-sponsored economic development group Innovation Works, and considerable sources of funding with the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon - the latter of which is home to 118 research institutes and centers and has, on average, launched 15 to 20 start-ups a year, according to Kiplinger.
These five cities should certainly be a great source for businesses looking for interesting opportunities in 2014.
About the author
Brian Neese is an author that specializes in content marketing, social media, and SEO. He writes about technology, the best bachelor degree jobs, marketing, and much more.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.