Are business-friendly places all dust-bins?

By Tim Raetzloff | Jan 27, 2011

Laurie Kulikowski of has listed the best and worst states for small business. Kulikowski used data from the Small Business & Entrepreneur Council to achieve the ratings.

In December the council had compiled a list of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their data shows the worst place in the country for small business is the other Washington (D.C.).

Really no surprise there. Washington D.C. is full of lobbyists for big business, and small business doesn’t have a chance.

Rated as the worst states for business overall were New Jersey, New York and California. None of those surprised me.

The list of best states also has a familiar ring to it.

Every one of the top states for small business has been in the top 10 on every list I’ve seen in this decade.

No. 1 is South Dakota. I like the Black Hills. I like Mount Rushmore. I have relatives in Mitchell, SD. I have a favorite restaurant in Keystone, SD and another in Hill City.

South Dakota is a wonderful place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there or start a business there.

No. 2 on the list of best states for small business is Nevada. I like Lake Tahoe and Virginia City, but Nevada isn’t a place I’d want to live either.

Texas is No. 2; it’s not where I want to live or start a business.

There is a pattern here. The best states in which to start a business all seem to be hot and dry.

The pattern continues with state No. 4, Wyoming. Yellowstone is spectacular, truly a wonder of the world. The Tetons are among the most beautiful mountains in the world. The geological strata in the Big Horn Mountains are interesting to anyone who has an interest in geology and history in general.

But again, Wyoming is a great place to visit but not where I want to live and work.

Finally at No. 5 we see a break in the pattern. The fifth “best state for small business,” according to the Small Business & Entrepreneur Council, actually gets some rain, and it has lakes and the Pacific Ocean. Amazing. And if you like hot and dry summers, this state also has that in its eastern half.

No. 5 on the list of best places for small business is Washington. This Washington. The green one.

Amazed? You shouldn’t be. Washington ranks high on most lists of places to start or build a business.

Microsoft,, Starbucks and Costco are world leaders and all started here in the last 35 years or less. Maybe our motto should be: “A business friendly state where is rains.”

Maybe not, but you get the idea. We have one of the great places to live and a good environment for business. Spread the word.

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(Tim Raetzloff, who operates Abarim Business Computers at Five Corners in Edmonds, evaluates Puget Sound business activity in his regular column in the Beacon. In the interests of full disclosure he says, “Neither I nor Abarim have any interest in or conflict with any company mentioned in this column.”)

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