After surveying 7,766 small businesses across the country, an online hiring agency is calling Colorado Springs one of the best cities for small businesses.
Thumbtack looked at a dozen metrics before putting the Springs in its No. 4 spot. That may come as a surprise, given that the Springs has seen many longtime businesses, like Steaksmith, close in recent years. Makes you wonder if we're really the best place for small business, or if we just have a lot of really upbeat shop owners.
Guess it can't hurt either way. Read on:
The Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey is the only survey to obtain data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs in order to determine the most business-friendly locations. While there are various “business climate rankings” that rate locations as good or bad for business, there are no others that draw upon considerable data from small business owners themselves.
“For the second year in a row, Colorado Springs small businesses rated the city among the best in the nation,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. “The Colorado Spring's clear and consistent approach to regulations and its helpful small business resources help local entrepreneurs view the city as a partner rather than an obstacle.”
Some of the key findings for Colorado Springs — and Colorado generally — include:
• Colorado Springs earned an 'A+' for its overall small business friendliness, improving from last year's 'A' grade. Denver also rose in the rankings, earning an 'A-', up from a 'B+' in 2012.
• The city ranked very well in nearly every category, including a pair of 'A+' grades for the ease of hiring additional employees in the city and for its environmental regulations.
• In addition to an 'A' grade overall, Colorado earned an 'A' for the quality and availability of its training and networking programs. The state also ranked in the top 10 for its online business resources.
• Nationally, professional licensing requirements were more important to small business owners than taxes in determining a state’s overall business-friendliness, confirming the findings from last year’s study.
• African-American and Hispanic small business owners were more likely than their white counterparts to encourage others to start a new business.
The top ranking cities overall were Austin, Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Houston, Colorado Springs and San Antonio. The lowest rated were Los Angeles, San Diego, Cincinnati, Sacramento and, in last place, Newark, NJ.
One of the few categories where Colorado Springs did not improve was in the ease of starting a new business: the city earned an 'A-', down from a 'A+' in 2013.
“It is critical to the economic health of every city and state to create an entrepreneur-friendly environment,” said Dane Stangler, director of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “Policymakers put themselves in the best position to encourage sustainable growth and long-term prosperity by listening to the voices of small business owners themselves.”