Running a small business
Small business owner challenges are not equal from state to state. Business processes around licensing, hiring laws, insurance, and taxes run the gamut from state to state. San Francisco start-up, Thumbtack.com knows a bit about this. The company matches consumer projects and requests, with local professionals eager to bid on them.
In partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Thumbtack released the third annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey. The study is the largest survey of its kind, sampling more than 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide.
The survey asked questions about the friendliness of states and cities toward SMBs, such as:
- “In general, how would you rate your state’s support of small business owners?”
- “Would you discourage or encourage someone from starting a new business where you live?” and
- “Do you think you pay your fair share of taxes?”
Some of the survey’s key findings include:
- SMBs in Texas, Utah and Idaho have rated their states in the top five every year this survey has run, while California and Rhode Island have been rated in the bottom five every year.
- The friendliness of professional licensing requirements was the most important regulatory issue in determining a state’s overall friendliness to small businesses. Closely following licensing requirements was the ease of filing taxes.
- Once again, tax rates were a less important factor than the ease of regulatory compliance in determining the overall friendliness score of a jurisdiction. Two-thirds of respondents said they paid their “fair share” of taxes – that is, they felt like they were neither under-paying nor over-paying.
- Small business owners who were aware of training programs offered by their government were significantly more likely to say their government was friendly to SMBs than those who weren’t. Awareness of training programs raised overall scores by 10 percent, while 76 percent of those who said they were aware of government-sponsored training programs for business owners ranked their local government as “somewhat” or “very supportive,” and only 8 percent of these said local government was unsupportive.
- Only 19 percent of respondents said they were prepared for implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
- Female entrepreneurs were more likely than male entrepreneurs to say that their state government was friendly to small business, while male entrepreneurs were more likely than female entrepreneurs to have a positive view on the outlook of their state economy.
- Kentucky’s grade was this year’s most improved, jumping from a B- to an A.
Complete results can be seen here and include full sets of rankings and dozens of easily searchable quotes from small businesses nationwide. Each state and city also has its own data visualization showing its detailed survey results.