A new survey conducted by Thumbtack.com and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation ranks U.S. states based on how easy it is for small businesses to operate.
More than 6,000 entrepreneurs across the nation were surveyed for the results. The participants were asked questions about their state's overall friendliness towards small businesses, regulations and the availability of networking and training programs. Specifically, some of the questions small business owners answered included "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 in your state?" and "How would you rate your company's financial situation today?"
States that earned the highest grades in terms of their friendliness toward small businesses were Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma and Utah. Others that were rated highly included Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Alabama, Kansas and Arkansas.
"Idaho is very supportive of small businesses," said an entrepreneur who participated in the survey. "It's easy to start a business because there's a lot of information how-to in the Secretary of State's office and there are a few groups out there which help with starting a business."
In addition to ranking high on the state level, Texas is also home to three of the top five business-friendly cities in the nation. They include Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.
Entrepreneurs gave the lowest grades to Ohio, Maine, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan and New York. In addition, California, Hawaii, Vermont and Rhode Island all received failing grades, according to the entrepreneurs surveyed.
"Six thousand small business owners have told an unusually nuanced story about what they value in their state or city government," said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. "Although Texas and Idaho clearly come out on top as the nation's friendliest states towards small business, entrepreneurs value a lot more than just tax-related regulations. Easy-to-understand licensing regulations and well-publicized training programs are often overlooked as critical tools necessary to support small business."
Overall, small businesses said licensing requirements were nearly twice as important as tax-related regulations in determining their state or city government's overall business-friendliness.
Additionally, the survey revealed that programs to promote women-owned businesses are becoming more widespread, as women were 9 percent more likely than men to feel supported by their state governments overall.