Thumbtack.com is a young web start-up that people can use to find service professionals in their area. The company recently utilized its nationwide network to survey small businesses on their state’s business climate (select cities were included too).
The survey, which can be found here, contained a couple of interesting findings. First, although taxes are an important consideration, licensing and regulatory concerns were even more important:
Although taxes are a dominant topic in many discussions of a location’s attractiveness to business, our analysis indicates that small businesses tend to care more deeply about the friendliness of a region’s licensing regime by a factor of nearly two. Similarly, being subject to special regulatory requirements had a negative effect on overall small business friendliness, and among those small businesses subject to special regulations, the ease of complying with these requirements was by far the most important factor.
Second, I was initially disturbed to read that “An important predictor of small business friendliness was whether the respondent was aware of the state or local government offering training programs for small businesses.” Yikes. As a former state budget official, one of the more worthless agencies I encountered was the one that was supposed to assist small businesses. So I was relieved when I then read this:
Interestingly, while those aware of training programs gave overall small business friendliness scores approximately 10% higher than those who were not, respondents who had actually attended one of the trainings rated their states less than one-percent higher than those who were aware of the trainings but had never attended.
For a state by state break-down, see here. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Utah received the best marks from small businesses, while California, Vermont, and Rhode Island received the worst.