Understanding the business friendliness of your state is an important first step in starting your own venture. A recent, annual study released by CNBC ranked all 50 states for business competitiveness based on how they scored on over 60 metrics including cost of doing business, cost of living, and quality of life.
The study resulted in a list of the best and worst states for business, but what’s also interesting is that CNBC analyzed the results to determine which states were actually great for starting a business based on different advantages such as abundant talent, tax rates, infrastructure, and more.
Here are the states with the best new business survivability, and we even compared them to Homebase’s very own 2019 Business Owner Survey to see how your answers stack up with CNBC’s results.
The Lone Star State ranked second in CNBC’s 2019 Top States for Business, but small business owners thrive in Texas because of its low business tax climate (there’s no individual income tax or corporate tax), access to capital, and abundance of skilled workers. Furthermore, cities such as Austin are great for those who seek an active start-up crowd.
“It’s simply easier to do business in Texas than any other state,” Greater Houston Partnership CEO Bob Harvey told CNBC.
According to Homebase users, Texas is the most business friendly state in the U.S., so it checks out.
With more than 60 universities across the state (including the University of Florida, University of Central Florida, and University of South Florida), Florida has no shortage of well-educated graduates. The vast pool of worthy job candidates has promoted growth in cybersecurity, technology, and finance, which has attracted an increasing number of venture capitalists.
The state’s large number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) talent has attracted businesses such as Luminar Technologies, which makes lidar-based sensors for vehicles.
“There is no place in the universe where you have the density of talent in the lidar and sensing space that you do in Orlando,” the company’s chief business officer, Scott Faris, said. “It’s got a rich history and density of people who understand all aspects of this. We’re able to attract those folks into the organization.”
Homebase users agreed with CNBC’s results and ranked Florida as the fourth-best state for starting a business.
Record-low unemployment rates have prompted business owners to snag some office space real estate in desirable locations in an effort to draw out more talent. Colorado is hard to beat when it comes to quality of life. With an abundance of activities, a tolerant and inclusive environment and healthy residents, skilled workers are easily convinced.
“I think our quality of life is an important contributor,” Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC president and CEO Dirk Draper told CNBC. “Entrepreneurs and innovators may be working on their own or in small groups where they can make a decision more on a quality of life factor that adds spice to our community mix. They come here for the lifestyle.”
Homebase users didn’t necessarily disagree with this finding, but Colorado did not make our list of best states.
Washington is another state where talent flocks due to great quality of life. Plus, the state’s economy is the fastest-growing in the U.S. thanks to Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia and Boeing, who all call Washington home.
“My top priority as governor is to continue to nurture our thriving economic climate that spurs job growth and keeps us at the top echelon for years to come. We know that a cleaner planet, happy and healthy workers and a growing economy can go hand-in-hand,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in 2017 when Washington was named America’s Top State for Business.
Interestingly enough, Washington actually landed on the list of the least business-friendly states among Homebase users.
No other state compares to North Carolina when it comes to economic solid ground. In 2018 the state attracted a venture capital figure of $2.6 billion (the 6th highest in the U.S.) thanks to its healthy housing market and sound state finances.
Because of these factors the Tar Heel State ranked first in terms of economy and sixth in terms of access to capital. Homebase users agree and placed it in our top five best states for business list as well.
Virginia once again took CNBC’s number 1 spot for business this year, having previously been given the title in 2018, 2011, 2009 and 2007. The state ranked first in workforce and education (thanks to its plethora of universities and strong test scores) as well as business friendliness, which might be why Amazon announced that it had chosen the state for its second headquarters late last year.
The state’s focus on infrastructure is another reason businesses have a great opportunity to grow. For example, Washington D.C. lawyer Andrew Sherman, who advises businesses and entrepreneurs, highlighted that the Dulles Greenway, 14-mile road that connects Washington Dulles International Airport with Leesburg, Virginia, makes the state attractive businesses.
“No one wants to come to a city where workers are going to have to lose two to three hours a day commuting,” he told CNBC. “The more open roads, the better. A lot of the tech companies concentrated near Dulles Airport only came out there because the roads were expanding. Localities that invest in, expand and maintain good infrastructure allow businesses to grow.”
Virginia is another state that did not make Homebase’s list of most business-friendly states.
According to our survey, Missouri is also a top-five state when it comes to business friendliness, as well as Georgia, and while Georgia made CNBC’s list of overall top states for business, neither state was mentioned when it came to launching a new venture.