What are the friendliest places to launch a small business? According to 6,022 small entrepreneurs and job creators, Idaho and Texas will roll out the welcome wagon. But if you happen to call California, Vermont or Rhode Island home, you might want to think about moving.
Such are the findings of a recent survey conducted by Thumbtack.com, an online marketplace for local services, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In addition to questions about friendliness, the survey, which was conducted over two months, explored six different measures of a state’s friendliness to small businesses, including: ease of starting a business, hiring costs, regulations, training programs, networking programs and current economic health.
“The best cities in the survey frequently had two things in common: easy-to-understand professional licensing regulations and well-publicized training programs,” said Thumbtack co-founder Sander Daniels. “In fact, businesses cared almost twice as much about licensing regulations as they did about tax-related rates and regulations.”
This was also clear in the city rankings. For example, even though small businesses in Oklahoma City weren’t the most robust in the nation, the area’s simple professional licensing regulations and well-publicized training programs launched the city into the top spot nationwide. Ditto for Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Atlanta. (Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento were at the bottom.)
Interestingly, there was little difference across the political spectrum in terms of how respondents rated states’ friendliness towards small business. But there were substantial differences within states. In California, for instance, conservatives were 30 percent less likely than liberals to view the state as supportive of small business, while independents were 15 percent less likely than liberals to have that view.
Also of note:
- Idaho, Nevada and Delaware had the most small business-friendly tax codes; California and New Mexico had the least-friendly tax codes.
- Nebraska small business owners were the most optimistic about their business improving during 2012, while Iowans were the least optimistic.
- The South was the most small business-friendly region of the country, while New England was rated the least small business-friendly.
- Women business owners were 9 percent more likely than their male counterparts to give high marks to their state government for business support.