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Dallas - and Texas - rank high for small businesses

The big D in Dallas increasingly stands for "Destination," as in: Dallas is the destination for people wanting to start their own businesses.

According to a recent study, Dallas is the fourth-best city in the nation for starting a small business - the third consecutive year Dallas has ranked in the top five. As reported in the Dallas Morning News, the study conducted by and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation surveyed 12,632 small businesses across the country about local and state business environments.

In order, only Boise, Idaho; Houston; and Colorado Springs ranked higher.

Friends indeed

The high ranking for Dallas reflects a trend that has made Texas as a whole friendly to small businesses in recent years.

Citing U.S. Census Bureau data from July 2011 to July 2012, Fortune says that Texas had the top two largest growing metro areas across the country in Dallas and Houston. It also had three of the fastest growing smaller metro areas in the country in Midland, Odessa and Austin. Overall, Texas' population grew 3.6 percent from 2010 to 2012, an increase of more than 900,000 people.

The increase in population, Fortune says in citing, matches a surge in small business friendliness. During that period, Texas ranked in the top five in states for small businesses - and Austin, Houston and San Antonio were among the top five cities.

Anchor institutions such as the oil industry and the biotech field increasingly connect with small businesses in urban areas, which in turn fuels job growth and a growing economy. Social media and Internet-based businesses, in particular, have benefited from these business arrangements.

Prime time

Tom Castro, a managing director of New York-based IMB Development Corporation, is high on Texas, calling it the best state to do business in - especially for small businesses. Castro has owned businesses for 25 years in California and Texas, and he moved from Los Angeles to Houston 14 years ago, Fortune reports.

He cites Texas' prime business conditions, including the lack of a state income tax, few onerous land-use restrictions and generally low costs as a reason to be bullish on Dallas and Texas as a whole. The lack of an income tax is a great recruiting tool, Castro says, bringing talented workers from other states to Texas. And he says that he can show those workers how they could make 15 percent to 20 percent more by working in Texas rather than working where a state income tax exists.

Total picture

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is great for small, dynamic businesses because of its welcoming policies, the DMN quotes chief economist Jon Lieber. In fact, in the and Kaufffman Foundation survey, Dallas earned an A+ in small business friendliness.

Of course, not everything is perfect. Although it ranked high in most categories, Dallas got a "C" in training and network programs - down from a B- in the previous year.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation also conducted a study of small businesses this year. The Chamber found Dallas to be the most efficient city across five areas of business regulation: starting a business, construction permits, paying taxes, registering property and enforcing contracts. Dallas scored 89.5 - the highest overall - while New York got the lowest score, 34.7.

The rankings, the study said, show Dallas' ongoing efforts to develop programs to strengthen the business environment, provide access to start-up and operating capital, and encourage local economic growth.

For entrepreneurs, Dallas is the destination.

If you have questions about protecting your family-owned Texas business, or related issues, contact our office for a consultation.

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