By: Barbara Weltman

CNN came out with a list of the top 10 cities in the U.S. for businesses. It’s interesting to know which cities made the list, but it’s more important to know why.
Clearly, I’m not about to relocate to a city solely because it’s on the list, but I am curious about the factors that contribute to a city making the list.

Here are the top 10 cities for small businesses in the U.S.:
1. Manchester, NH
2. Dallas, TX
3. Richmond, VA
4. Austin, TX
5. Knoxville, TN
6. Nashville, TN
7. Houston, TX
8. Ft. Collins, CO
9. Boulder, CO
10. San Antonio, TX

Factors that make a city small-business friendly
Entrepreneurs who want to start a business should be looking to their localities to offer certain features. Here are some of them:

Assistance from government agencies in getting started. Do they make it easy, or hard, to get licensing and approvals (such as signage, certificates of occupancy)? Are there any training opportunities for business owners? Any business accelerators?

Encouragement from government and existing businesses to start new businesses. Do they encourage or discourage new entries into the local economy (e.g., support for shopping local)? Are there good networking opportunities? Are there funding opportunities?

Tax rules and other regulations. How easy, or hard, is it to comply with the rules (e.g., are zoning rules easily understandable)? What are the costs of compliance (e.g., tax rates, licensing fees)?

Costs. What is the cost of (business) living in the area (e.g., rents, wages, insurance)?

Relocation
Those thinking about starting a business that are not bound by family connections or other ties to a specific locality should be willing to relocate as part of their strategic plan, says Marty Zwilling, founder of Startup Professionals, Inc. So, knowing what to look for, in terms of location, when starting a business is an important consideration.

For more great insights from Barbara Weltman please visit
http://www.barbaraweltman.com/blog/