The importance of physical proximity – StartupSmart

I often hear from other entrepreneurs it’s important to operate out of Silicon Valley, or that you need to be in New York if you are serious about your business.


Entrepreneurs often say that you are at an unfair advantage if you are in physical proximity of your customers, partners and investors.


However, I never bought that. I thought that it was enough to have a good product and build relationships over time that would grow the business globally.


I’m writing this blog from New York having just spent the last few days in the city doing business. I am convinced now that in order to be a player, you need to have a presence where your target market is because if you do, things can happen really quickly.


In the last few days, we’ve bounced between some of the largest corporations in the US, all of which are in a radius of 1km.


We had two meetings with two different companies in the same building yesterday. When someone emails you for a meeting, you can be in the lobby of their building within 10 minutes. When they call you back for a second meeting, they know you cannot be that far away.


The pace that you can execute when you are on the ground in New York is something I’ve never thought about in the past, but have just experienced.


If you are in technology, the same can be said about Silicon Valley (our next stop), and if you are in media or finance, the same can be said about New York.


Even though we build things on the internet, the reality is we still need to do business in the real world and that’s all about meeting with people and making things happen.


Once you have critical mass, you can put your office on Mars and it won’t make a difference but until you get there, you need to be able to hustle in person.


I’ve been to New York many times in my life but this is the first time I’ve experienced the convenience of physically proximity first hand. It can make a huge difference.

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