Starting and managing a small business has its varying degrees of difficulty and a variety of challenges. It’s not uncommon for a startup to fail within the first couple of years after being established. Market conditions, available resources and intelligent management are all factors that can determine whether or not an endeavor will thrive. An economic environment that’s not friendly to startups makes it exponentially harder to aspiring business owners to make it. That’s why Thumbtack, an online job board for small business owners, conducts a regular survey to determine which cities are friendliest for small businesses. This year, Austin made the top of the ranking.
Austin earned an “A+” grade for its small business environment which put it above the 44 other cities in the ranking. To create it, Thumbtack surveyors gathered feedback from more than 5,000 small business owners filled out the surveys for the Thumbtack study, which asked about eight categories of small business friendliness.
1) ease of starting a business
2) ease of hiring
4) employment, labor and hiring
5) tax code
7) training and networking programs
8) government websites
What Makes Austin Friendly
Austin got a “B” grade or better in six of the eight categories. There is one area where Austin ranked pretty low, though. In the category that ranked the ease of starting a business and hiring employees, Austin received a “C.” That’s not surprising since Austin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been sitting at historic lows for months.
This year, Austin performed better than it did last year. In 2018, Austin earned a “B+” in overall small business friendliness. Unfortunately, Austin’s 2018 ranking was dragged down by an “F” grade for the government website. The city website has made some improvements, though, earning it an “A+” grade for its government website in 2019.
City Initiatives Making an Impact
The recent ranking is a huge win for the city of Austin, which has been focused on supporting the development of small and local businesses. This spring, the city rolled out a revised incentive structure to encourage the growth of smaller enterprises. According to a report in the Austin Business Journal, the small business-friendly priorities for the city are per-job incentive payments, property tax reimbursements and incentives for businesses that hire hard-to-employ populations such as individuals with criminal records and disabilities.
Read more about Austin.