WalletHub Ranks the Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business
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WalletHub Ranks the Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business

We’ve all seen various annual lists looking at the top cities to start a small business (we’ve definitely discussed them here as well). However these studies often look at major markets and metro areas — so what about some of America’s hidden gems? That’s why the personal finance site WalletHub has just released a new report highlighting the top small cities to start a business in 2019.

To create their list, WalletHub evaluated 1,261 cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. For each they looked at 18 different metrics falling into three main categories: business environment, access to resources, and business costs. “Business environment” includes figures such as average length of work week, average commute time, average growth in number of small businesses, startups per capita, and more. Next, “access to resources” looked at financing accessibility, investor access, working-age population growth, etc. Finally “Business costs” considered office-space affordability, labor costs, corporate taxes, and cost of living.

Coming in first overall was Holland, Michigan. Propelled by its top placement in the “Access to Resources” category, Holland actually ranked 351st for “Business Environment” and 81st for “Business Costs.” Meanwhile the rest of the top “five” included St. George, Utah; Fort Myers, Florida; Redman, Oregon; Huntsville, Texas; and Cheyanne, Wyoming — with the lattermost two tying for fifth place. Huntsville also placed first in the “Business Environment” category while 437th overall ranked Goldsboro, North Carolina came out on top for “Business Costs.”

Looking further down the list, both Florida and Utah were well represented. In addition to each of them placing a city in the top five, both states had another three cities land in the top 20. For the Sunshine State these included Dania Beach (#11), Boca Raton (#14), and Deerfield Beach (#15). As for the Beehive State, Clearfield, Cedar City, and Springville claimed slots 18 through 20 on the list.

While those locales were all overall winners, WalletHub also ranked cities in some more specific categories. For example the city with the most accessible financing was St. Cloud, Minnesota — with a slew of Californian cities from Menifee to Apple Valley bringing up the rear. In terms of lowest labor costs, it was East Saint Louis, Illinois that topped the list. Last but not least it was a six-way tie for first between Salisbury, Maryland; Carbondale, Illinois; New Iberia, Louisiana; Gulfport, Mississippi; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Warner Robins, Georgia for the highest average growth in small businesses.

Despite the emphasis usually placed on big metropolitan markets, it seems that small cities and small businesses can go hand in hand. While each location may come with its own challenges, there may also be advantages to staying in a smaller market. But, as always, the best place to open your business and realize your entrepreneurial potential is wherever you feel like setting up shop.

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