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Seven Reasons It Can Be Harder To Do Business In Boston

October 12,2018 22:30

It often seems like there are as many business hurdles as there are businesses. While it may not exactly be true, there are obstacles that make doing business even harder than it already is. On top of that, being in a specific city can bring additional ...


It often seems like there are as many business hurdles as there are businesses. While it may not exactly be true, there are obstacles that make doing business even harder than it already is. On top of that, being in a specific city can bring additional challenges. Boston is no exception. Even though it is a great place to do business, some impediments can seem formidable.
We asked members of the Forbes Boston Business Council to divulge the challenges of working and owning a business in Boston. We also asked for some solutions to help entrepreneurs overcome these blockages. Their best answers are below.

Members share their thoughts on how to overcome the obstacles of doing business in Boston.Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Lack Of National Media
With NYC just a train ride away and the center of the media universe, Boston business owners get short shrift. The national publications don't have local reporters here and we spend a lot of time doing media relations that stops at the Commonwealth's borders. As business owners, we need to think bigger and expand our media relations programs to connect with the national and international media. – Bobbie Carlton, Innovation Women, Innovation Nights, CPRM
2. The Unpredictable Weather
Boston is a city with typically unexpected weather forecasts, especially in the winter, which leaves business owners scrambling to decide whether to shut down for the day or not. Implementing clear remote working guidelines for your business puts employees at ease when snowstorms are announced and ensures businesses remain flexible in how they operate. Remote working is a growing business trend being welcomed by large corporations and high-growth startups in Boston, so many companies are on the right path. – Moritz Kothe, Kununu
Forbes Boston Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners in Greater Boston. Do I qualify?
3. The Graduation Cycles
It’s tough to get in sync with the internship/graduation cycles at top schools to recruit at the right times. We need to tap into the incredible talent pool coming from some of the best schools in the world, right here in Boston. To do this, build relationships with schools and plan ahead on recruiting needs. – Jonah Lopin, Crayon
4. Localized Businesses 
The Boston innovation community has a wide diversity of companies in life sciences, health care, B2B technology, consumer technology, fintech and many other areas — but they’re mostly localized by geographic area. For example, life sciences companies are primarily in Cambridge, high tech is along the 95 corridor, etc. It’s important to have organizations like MassDevelopment and MassTLC that work to bring companies together across localized areas and connect these different disciplines. – Christopher Bouton, Vyasa Analytics
5. Rising Real Estate Costs
Rising real estate costs are becoming a challenge for startups and small business owners in Boston. Even coworking spaces are becoming prohibitively expensive for early-stage startups as large tech players drive costs up. It will be interesting to see how the city responds to this challenge. In the meantime, many entrepreneurs may find the "garage phase" to be their most attractive option! – Emily Bernard, PlacePass
6. Tightly Knit Community
Boston has been accused of being a city that's tough to break into. Relationships are deep and lasting, and it can feel like everyone knows everyone else. When we started the Castle Group 22 years ago, we quickly learned that we needed to develop and nurture relationships in order to be successful. Having a solid network and being a good corporate citizen go a long way. – Sandy Lish, The Castle Group
7. Permit Challenges
In our business, we work with a lot of temporary retail and food operators. Bostonians are eager for fresh concepts and to try something unique. Unfortunately, the city is lagging to help support young entrepreneurs permit their concepts. Getting to know the civic players and creating an organized plan to conquer these hurdles has proved to be an effective approach to get open for business. – Emily Isenberg, Isenberg Projects

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