So, you want to start a business. Good for you! Gildshire and the other top online business magazines applaud your decision and wish you the very best in success. However, we have to ask a question. Where are you going to put this new business venture? Assuming you aren’t talking online-only, you’ll want to know what cities have the best business climates, and the top people to run your enterprise. Sounds like New York City, baby! Oh, what was that? You don’t want to put your new business in a big city. You believe the quality of life is superior outside the megalopoli of the large population centers. That is a tricky premise. Where could you start a business in a smaller city, but still not lag behind the businesses in more population-rich environments? What are the, say, top ten best small cities for new business? Let’s see…
First, we need to establish our criteria, because small, by itself, isn’t good enough. However, one thing that comes along with smaller cities is a better cost of living index. So, we have to include that factor.
Second, access to resources (both human and financial) is a major factor in our decision of where to place our business. The percentage of college-educated people in the workforce is important to know. That will ensure that we have a deep pool of candidates from which to draw. You also want to know that your new city has financing options available. To that end, “ready money” is factored into our scores.
Third, the business environment of the new city is of vital importance. How are the taxes structured? Is there a nice diversity among the industries in the city? Is there growth going on among the businesses already there? How about the length of commute. Is it something that will attract, or repel, the best minds we can hire?
Finally, the cost of doing business is something that is going to be on your mind all the time. So, corporate taxes and labor costs will have to be on our minds as we decide where to open the new business. Are you ready to find out the ten best cities for small business startups? We can see that you are. Let’s take them one at a time, beginning with Number Ten.
10. Enid, Oklahoma: This city of 51,004 people scored particularly well when it comes to our last criteria, namely business costs. Like most places in Oklahoma, taxes are very low, and labor costs are among the lowest in the developed world! In fact, one struggles to know how employees get by on wages this low. However, that is something for the social scientists to ponder. Low wages are good news for the business startup and a low cost of living is better yet! Enid ranked mid-group in the business environment category but quite low in access to resources.
9. Bozeman, Montana: Just 45,250 folks call this lovely portion of the Big Sky State home, but those people find themselves in a good place for a business startup. This in spite of the fact that Bozeman actually ranks quite low in terms of business environment, due to stagnant growth among the industries already present. So, why does Bozeman make our list? It is primarily due to its outstanding access to resources. Home of the well-regarded Montana State University, the percentage of college-educated individuals is high, and there is ample money to lend in Gallatin County.
8. Bismarck, North Dakota: Almost exactly opposite of Bozeman, and yet a sister city in our rankings is Bismarck. A very high score in the business environment category offsets low numbers in the business costs category. The capital of North Dakota has a negligible commute for the workers to navigate and the businesses already in place are growing like weeds! Medium-high business taxes and high labor costs are the sticking point holding Bismarck out of the top five.
7. Ogden, Utah: We are finding a wide swing when it comes to our list and the business cost piece. In the other direction meaning, in this case, better than, Bismarck find Ogden. That’s the main reason why this town of 86,701 is quickly gaining population. People see it as a good place to start a business. The access to resources number is good here, as well.
6. Fort Myers, Florida: One of the larger cities in our survey with 77, 146 people, Ft. Myers nevertheless fits nicely in our definition of a small city. That’s a good thing because the business startup picture here is quite good. Ft. Myers is a good example of a small business environment that isn’t great at any one thing but is pretty good at everything. The business environment is its best feature, but it doesn’t display a red flag in any category.
5. Cheyenne, Wyoming: One of Gildshire’s favorite cities on our Greatest Road Trip Ever Taken, Cheyenne is the clear champion in one of our business startup categories. Ranked first in the business environment Cheyenne’s business economy is among the lowest taxed in the country. Access to funding, frankly, isn’t great. That’s what keeps this town of 64, 019 out of the winner’s circle. But, it has a lot going for it.
4. Wilson, North Carolina: Between the Research Triangle of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and the lovely Outer Banks of North Carolina find Wilson. It seems that 49, 620 people already have. The business owners in the crowd love Wilson for its low cost of doing business and its high rating when it comes to access to resources.
3. Aberdeen, South Dakota: The smallest city on our list makes it into the Top Three. That says something for a town of only 28,415 hardy souls braving a South Dakota winter. Low, low, business costs make the startup easy to get underway, and the access to resources piece is well above average, as well. Aberdeen is open for business!
2. St. George, Utah: On the map, it is almost to Arizona, as well as almost to Nevada. St. George, Utah is almost heaven when it comes to an environment conducive to a small business startup. That may be a reason why 82, 318 folks have gathered here to do commercial things. Both the business environment and business cost categories are top-notch, as the city fathers strive to attract new business.
1. Holland, Michigan: But, there can be only one winner in the top ten best small cities for business startups competition, and Holland, Michigan takes the prize (you knew that if you saw our featured photo up top). It’s access to resources numbers and cost of business numbers are each among the very best in the survey. The 33,343 people who call Holland the place they work, live and play enjoy the tulips grown right in town. At least as much as the tulips, though, they enjoy the welcome, across the board, that the city offers business startups. Business environment? Check. Cost of doing business? Check. Access to resources? Double check. It’s all here and all for you, Mr. and Ms. Business Startup.
So, that’s our list of ten best small cities for business startups. We and other top online business magazines look forward to learning your decision. You can’t go wrong if your business plan is good. However, you might as well stack the deck in your favor by choosing a ten best small town for your needs. Good luck.