The Best U.S. States to Start a Business

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“Location! Location! Location!” That’s the old real estate adage about what magically drives the market for brokers and homeowners alike. Obviously, there are other factors that affect the industry, but it can’t be denied, location plays a significant role. And the same can be said for most business enterprises regardless of size or niche.

In today’s climate with remote workers and digital nomads on the rise, location may seem to have lost its influence on starting a business. But according to the Small Business Administration and the Tax Foundation, a startup has definite advantages opening its doors in certain U.S. states compared to others. And those advantages can make the difference from years of early struggling to years of substantial growth.

Based on accessible financing, cost of office space, workforce availability, taxes and entrepreneur-friendly climate, here are some of the best states to start a business in each region of the U.S.

Region: North/Northeast

New Hampshire: Enterprising innovators who don’t mind the long New England winters find New Hampshire business-friendly and welcoming when it comes to the lack of a state sales tax and an abundance of government resources.

Another advantage of the Granite State is its quality of life rating, which is an equally important factor if you’re thinking of relocating to start a business. New Hampshire residents also enjoy an above average per capita personal income, which translates into more discretionary spending to support new and expanding businesses.

However, if that customer base isn’t large enough for you, entrepreneurs have the added bonus of operating in close proximity to other New England states with a high population of college-educated residents earning above-average incomes.

Region: South

North Carolina: It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the state home to the infamous research and tech mecca, “The Triangle,” tops the list for the best states to start a business, according to Forbes magazine.

When you combine the draws of low corporate and property taxes with a labor force trained to keep an eye out for the new kid on the startup block, North Carolina has a lot to offer entrepreneurs seeking their next venture opportunity. The high number of universities and colleges—the University of North Carolina has 17 campuses alone—certainly helps in finding the right candidates for your company. Ranked 11th in 2018’s best business tax climate, the Tarheel State’s low cost of living only bolsters its ranking among the nation’s top 10 for best business survival rates.

Region: Southwest

Texas: Always a leader on the best states to start a business list, Texas may have been beat by North Carolina overall this year, but it certainly didn’t move to the number three spot without a fight. Whether it’s the lack of a corporate tax, the high population of college-educated residents, or the ever-growing list of tech, energy and medical enterprises filing for business licenses each year, startups are right to see the Lone Star State as an ideal choice for their businesses.

From Houston to San Antonio to Austin, which won healthiest small business climate in the South for three years in a row, entrepreneurs have their pick of startup-friendly locations to begin their next endeavor.

Region: West

Utah: Small business owners seeking the pristine vistas of Utah will also find a state with low corporate taxes and the nation’s highest percentage of approved small business loans.

Like North Carolina, the Beehive State has a large college-educated workforce and encourages tech and research-related startups to take advantage of digital and biomedical partnerships available between the private sector and universities.

Whether in Provo, Salt Lake City, or any number of the smaller urban and suburban communities, entrepreneurs will benefit greatly in the state ranked 5th for best business costs in the nation.

Region: Midwest

Montana: Thoughts of Montana often conjure up images of mountains, buffalos and horse ranches, but now you can include the small business owner in that rustic backdrop as well. With the fourth highest rate of entrepreneurs in the country, Montana knows the value businesses, both large and small, bring to the state.

The cost of commercial office space fetches a mere $20 per square foot, and the fees necessary to launch a business are some of the lowest in the nation. Add to that a workforce with a high percentage holding college degrees, and one of the few U.S. states with no sales tax, and it’s easy to understand why so many entrepreneurs are drawn to Big Sky Country.

Finding Success Regardless of Region

Starting a new business is a daunting task regardless of where you lay your foundation. But residing in a state that encourages entrepreneurship by offering a streamlined registration and licensing system, a low or no corporate tax rate, a college-educated workforce, and greater opportunities for financing can go a long way in helping stabilize those early years when most businesses fail.

The best states to start a business are worth a closer study if you’re not currently a resident, but remember to examine all your options before considering relocation for the sake of your company. Success is not a given even under the best of conditions, and no entrepreneur-friendly perk will ever take the place of hard work.